Story | 08/29/2023 10:49:15 | 3 min Read time

Tyler Brûlé: "Print allows you to stand out in a world commoditised by screens"

Tyler Brûlé is a media, design and global affairs expert and the founder of Monocle magazine. He explains why Monocle remains committed to paper.

“If we look back to when Monocle launched in 2007, there was very much this view that there wouldn't be magazines anymore and we'd be in a world where everyone wore Google Glasses. Yet, here we are 16 years later and as a publisher, we're buying more paper than we've ever bought before.

The world moves very fast, but it doesn't necessarily always go in the direction people think it's going to go. There's a post-magazine generation who find magazines exotic now. I'm a child of the 1970s and there were two dailies lying on our doorstep every morning.

Print offers a different rhythm in terms of people's media habits. When everyone has screen fatigue, we realise that value.

Now, I think print takes on a new quality. It offers a different rhythm in terms of people's media habits. When everyone has screen fatigue, we realise that value. 
 
Obviously, I consume a lot of media digitally – more of a shift away from trade papers and some newspapers. They were never printed on the best quality paper anyway. But I never look at digital magazines. Show me a successful monthly magazine online – where they've really done a great job and people say, ‘God, I can't wait to look at the British Vogue digital edition’ each month. That's just not happening.

We use paper and different quality stock to mark different sections, which also signifies different approaches to content.

Print allows you to stand out because our world is so commoditised by screens. Monocle’s standout is our choice of paper – the choice of suppliers that we work with, and in that choice, the quality of what we're printing on and binding. I'm looking at the July/August issue and I think there are maybe seven different stocks in the magazine. Each of those stocks fulfils a very different role within the line-up of the title. We use paper and different quality stock to mark different sections, which also signifies different approaches to content. It can be more photo-driven or more text-driven or it can be a texture-driven section as well. There's a lot of considerations that we look at, both for the experience of the reader as well as our advertisers.

 
 
Monocle’s standout is our choice of paper – the choice of suppliers that we work with, and in that choice, the quality of what we're printing on and binding.

The world is moving at different speeds. There are some corners of the world which are still very paper-focused – Japan, for example, where there is a healthy book trade, a healthy magazine trade, some of the highest print circulation newspapers in the world – and then there are other parts of the world where there's next to no paper anymore. But as a global magazine we need to have not just the paper but the distribution channels.

There are so many players involved in getting a magazine into somebody’s hands. At Monocle, we are fully committed to paper. And it’s because we see the demand.

We have to be vigilant every single day. It’s a collective thing. It’s not just down to the paper company. It’s down to the paper company, the printer, the media company, the media owner, the retailer. There are so many players involved in getting a magazine into somebody’s hands. At Monocle, we are fully committed to paper. And it’s because we see the demand.”

As told to Daniela Walker
Photo by Tom Cockram


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