Last week Amy and I were in the city and stumbled upon the brand new issue of Domino Magazine. I instagrammed the cover and my favorite story (Caroline Z. Hurley is my fav) and was so excited to see the conversation begin. I think it’s safe to say that anyone who was involved with the magazine in some way, as writers or readers, was heart-broken to see it close in 2009. After working at House & Garden and being there for the closing, I never in my wildest dreams imagined Domino would be next. But thankfully, with the help of Michelle Adams, Domino is back and open for business.
One of the most interesting things about Domino being back is that it’s back not just as a (quarterly) magazine, but an online shop. Much like Lucky, Domino will now exist as an e-shop where you can source- and buy- everything you see in the pages directly from their site or app. I got a call from a reporter asking me to comment on this change and it spurred an interesting discussion about the future of print publishing and its merging with direct commerce. I spoke with her in depth about how this re-birth made me hopeful for print and I wanted to elaborate a bit more here. The bottom line? You can’t go home again, but it sure does feel good to see a familiar face. There are parts of the spirit of the old Domino that I miss, but it’s fantastic to see the magazine alive, with big plans for a bright future. I’m hopeful that this means there’s a place in the design world for print magazines that we can flip through, dog-ear and save for years of inspiration.
More thoughts (and a peek inside the issue) after the jump…
First things first- as the Times article on the magazine notes, everyone agrees Conde Nast made a terrible decision by repacking old content and trying to pass it off as “new” Domino magazines last year. Everyone got excited, bought the new issues and was bummed to find it was old content. Not that a “greatest hits” printing would be out of line or helpful in some way, but it should have been marketed as such. Thankfully, that is NOT the case this time. The new Domino issue (which is on stands now for Holiday 2013) is entirely new content from a new editorial team. What’s inside? Here’s a brief rundown of the issue:
- An editor’s letter from Michelle Adams
- Market stories from editors on their favorite products/trends
- Travel stories on Tangier (and some gorgeous interiors)
- Short scouting features on artists, designers and products to watch/want
- Peeks inside hotels and some classic interiors (Coco Chanel, for example)
- Decorating tips
- Small space home tour (my favorite new content from the magazine)
- Entertaining tips + winter recipes
- Office + home tours
- 2013 Holiday Gift Guide
- My 10 Favorite things (with Sophia Coppola)
So- lots to see for sure. One of the things discussed in the Times article was the recycling of a home tour that had already appeared on Apartment Therapy. While I was surprised to hear that, part of me started to wonder how and if print publications can remain up-to-the-moment sources of new design. My honest answer? So what if they can’t? It’s impossible for print to be the most current option in a new world of blogs and online magazines that can publish instantly. But that doesn’t mean they’re irrelevant or less important- they have the power and permanence of the printed page and that can be used to their advantage.
I think the most exciting thing about having Domino magazine back again is that it’s a sign that people are returning to things that are trusted and valued and trying to give them new life. In a world where there’s always a “newest” and “hottest” something to see, I really love that people are giving something that was trusted and beloved a second chance. And this second chance is looking to the future of funding for an answer. I’m still torn on the complete merging of publishing and online sales. I know most of the newer generation of bloggers and blog-readers don’t mind those merges, but I still remember so distinctly how angry people would get seeing ads or sponsored posts on people’s sites. That sort of mixing of church and state has always seems to irk readers and to have that happening here in such a big way does make me a little worried. At a basic level I wonder what happens to the trust between editorial teams and readers if you’re wondering whether or not products being featured are affected at all by the online sales. Once sales stats start to roll in, will content start to shift if certain types of products sell better than others? I guess we won’t know until we see this model in action for a bit. But for me, the bottom line is this: We are watching the design world evolve in front of us and every door seems to be open and ready for another world of possibilities. In almost real-time, we are seeing brands evolve in the matter of months and watching publications become stores, teachers, event hosts and every other manner of financial support. While my concerns are still there, I feel hopeful that the good intentions of the people behind magazines like Domino combined with the vocal and engaged nature of today’s readers will create a balance that allows for magazines and commerce to blend in a way that feels right for everyone.
So I’m left with this overall feeling: THANK GOODNESS ONE OF OUR GOOD FRIENDS IS BACK. I missed Domino and its look and feel the way I missed a trusted friend from college. It may look different and there may be a few awkward moments, but it’s so promising to see print continue to come back and give us yet another outlet for inspiration and ideas.
A peek inside this new issue: