Future of Print


What can
print do
that digital

The state of magazines by the industry’s editors.

Portfolio by Juergen Teller


What is the future of print? System surveyed over 40 of our friends in the industry to hear about their professional two cents on this subject involving tradition, relevance, and sustainability.

Despite the responses scattered throughout the spectrum, there was one thing that they all seemed to agree upon: ‘print’ is more than just a tangible product. It is a noun, adjective, and a verb that embodies a massive industry consisting of editors, writers, photographers, advertisers, readers, designers, influencers, and more. It’s a membership with a list that seems to grow every day, much like the number of independent print magazines that continue to pop up across the globe.

Out of all the responses, no two are the same. Check out the full story in System No. 13 to read about the question of the future of print in relation to digital kisses, (unofficial) pecking orders, alcoholic drinks, and much, much more.
Click to buy.

Future of Print

‘Digital content is like beer, Coke and sparkling wine, which you drink on everyday occasions or at cocktails with a big crowd. You can have these parties often. But when you sit down for a formal and exclusive dinner with a select group of people, you want a glass of fine wine that you savour slowly. And that glass of fine wine is the print magazine.’
Angelica Cheung, editor-in-chief, Vogue China

‘I am astounded by how many print magazines there are…. To be honest, I don’t really understand it…photos look better and text is easy to read on a lit screen. Why do we chop down trees and use toxic inks to create something disposable? Sorry, colourful printing on glossy paper does not make a keepsake.’
Cecilia Dean, founder, Visionaire

‘I like to use a fashion analogy: digital is ready-to-wear; print is couture.’
Nina Garcia, editor in chief, ELLE US

‘The best magazines live on coffee tables and are statements of identity when you come into someone’s home; they are held by fans walking down the street, the magazine or its tote bag, symbols of identity and belonging.’
Jefferson Hack, founder, Dazed, AnOther and NOWNESS

‘True artists have no medium, they have a point of view, and they reflect that in their work.’
Drew Elliott, editor in chief, PAPER

‘I used to think that there were stories for magazines and stories for the Internet. Magazines ran articles that were considered and researched and painstakingly put together. The Internet was a place for funny lists and rankings, but mostly pornography.’
Nick Haramis, editor in chief, INTERVIEW

‘The magazine is one of the greatest human inventions ever. Good ones are simply irresistible. They make life more interesting and fun. My phone is trying to convince me it can do that, too, but it can’t really. It’s too busy distracting me, never letting me quite get that feeling of total absorption outside of time that very few things can. A magazine can.’
Jay Fielden, editor in chief, Esquire

‘I think both print and digital can be great in their own way, but if I had to compare them, it would be like comparing a real kiss with a virtual one. We all know which one is better.’
Chris Vidal Tenomaa, editor in chief and creative director, SSAW

‘People are so tired of being bombarded with information that they take digital detoxes as if online content is a poison and they need to be purified.’
Marie-Amelie Sauve, creative director, Mastermind

‘The beauty of print is also in the fact that once something is published, it cannot be edited or modified so everything has to be perfect. Furthermore, knowledge is positioning itself as the new form of ‘cultural currency’, allowing people to be associated to something they desire.’
Arby Li, editor in chief, HYPEBEAST

‘I think any media that plays the game of ‘you give me this, I’ll give you that’ will be dead in the mid-term.’
Nacho Alegre, founder, Apartamento