Bunny Kinney is a British-Canadian writer, filmmaker and creative director. He’s currently Editorial Director of Dazed Media and Creative Director of Nowness. Before joining Dazed Media, Kinney was Commercial Creative Director at i-D where he led special projects with brands including Gucci, Marc Jacobs, and Chanel. Here, the D&AD Jury President for Magazines argues for the importance and beauty of print in a world where digital drives everything.
"I want to work at a magazine". That’s what I said to one of my classmates at university before graduation as he quizzed me about our dreaded life-after-school plans. This was in 2007, and although the great debate concerning print’s imminent death was already very active, the influence of glossy magazines still dominated many of the creative industries that I wanted to be part of. I can still remember sitting on the floor of the fanciest local bookshop near my dorm, flipping through imported issues of Dazed and i-D, transfixed from cover to cover by the power of its visual storytelling.
“I can still remember sitting on the floor of the fanciest local bookshop near my dorm, flipping through imported issues of Dazed and i-D”
By the time I firmly embarked on my professional career some years later, working for those very same titles, the dawn of digital had clearly arrived and disrupted the status quo. In fashion publishing, this was a slow shake-up. Luxury had long been built on the illusion of scarcity, empowered by celebrity endorsement and expensive photography that was perhaps more at ease in the realm of monthly covers and limited page counts. Digital publishing was the antithesis to these codes: cheap, frequent and immediate, spread thin across less budget.
Fast forward fifteen years and digital now drives everything, high-end fashion included. Big publishers are investing heavily in video and publishing offline with far less frequency — if at all — signalling an admission that print is no longer the priority. And yet, as we bob along across this endless digital sea, print continues to prove itself a beacon for considered, credible journalism and excellence of craft. A refuge from the unfiltered content that takes up so much of our screens. Sure, all of that same stuff we see on the page still migrates to said screens — sometimes even before you can buy the magazine in stores. But the two mediums work symbiotically, especially in fashion, where the traditional cover reveal continues to generate PR buzz which converts to clicks. At least for now.
“And yet, as we bob along across this endless digital sea, print continues to prove itself a beacon for considered, credible journalism and excellence of craft”
Still — I think the best media brands are built on a totality of experiences, online and off. Publishers have been challenged into rethinking their business models and tailor their outputs to the evolving behaviours of their audiences. But many print titles have continued to prove themselves as inspired canvases for creative thinking and artistic expression, unfettered from the need for mass distribution. Publications such as Dazed and i-D have bolstered their reaches online, connecting with new generations of followers across the globe. But their continued, world-class physical output illustrates how print magazines have transformed from reactive news sources into something more meaningful in the modern world. They are objects worthy of hanging onto.
So, next time you see a really good-looking magazine, sit with it for a while. Experience it. Go on, let your mind wander across its pages. Isn’t there something so comforting about a thing that you can hold in your hands, that doesn’t buzz or bleep or strain your eyes with blue light? You might even read an entire article or study its carefully curated portfolio of images. You might notice the way everything’s laid out, just so — and think: Someone’s made this. For me! Or not. But that’s the thing about living in an always-on world — sometimes it takes the truly tangible to make you stop and look closer.
Learn more about the D&AD Awards 2022 here.