apps, tech + online

Domino Magazine is Back

by Grace Bonney

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 9.26.29 AM
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:


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  • YAY YAY YAY!!! That’s exactly what my brother in law texted me when we told everyone I was pregnant with our daughter and that’s exactly how I feel! Almost the same level of exciting news in my book!!

  • After last year’s faux-come-back, I restrained myself from jumping for joy until I read further into your post…but Domino REALLY is back? HIP HIP HOORAY!!! I cannot wait to get my hot little hands on a copy!

    I am one of many (I’m sure) who saved every issue of the “old” Domino, since day one, and still refer back to my old copies for design ideas and inspiration. This really is happy news!


  • Omg!! Sooo excited to get my hands on a copy! You’re right, it is like an old friend :) Also, really happy to hear it’s not the recycled content again!

  • This is great news!! I saved every single Domino Mag & now I will save more :) My husband says “Why do you have to save all of those?” “Because darling I may go back to them at any minute for inspiration.” YES! So happy to see this! Thank you!

    • Enzo

      I don’t actually agree with that. Yes, editorial coverage naturally promotes whatever it exalts, but it also exists to inspire, share ideas and techniques- not just products. I think Domino always did that (provide more than products) so I hope that spirit continues.


  • I thought Domino was already “back”? I’ve been buying the quarterly issues for a year now. Is this something new??

  • So glad its back. And like the idea of integrating the products with the site. Its frustrating when you see something cool and can’t get it anywhere or you have to dig around to find it. And its great way for them to generate more money to stay around this time.

  • Thanks for the review, Grace. I didn’t realize that the issues they published last year were old content passed off as new but, now that I do, I find that more than a little disturbing!

    Glad to know this issue is NEW, and that there is something to look forward to again. I miss magazines like Domino and, while they can’t compete in terms of up-to-the-minute content like websites, I love print magazines. While I do read online magazines (Lonny & Matchbook), I don’t spend the time, save, or go back to the articles the same way I do with print. My sister still has all of the Blueprints, and they’re still good reads!

  • This is such great news! My sister and I mourned Domino for a long time, and same for Blueprint. I absolutely love the ease and instancy of the internet, but I am very much looking forward to curling up with a mug of tea and this new Domino this weekend. Three cheers!

  • Excellent. I, too, was put off by the initial reincarnation of Domino last year. But…I still bought them! There’s nothing on the market right now that is anywhere near what Domino and Blueprint brought to the table. The other shelter mags have a stylistically narrowed focus (ie- Traditional Home, Dwell, House Beautiful) which is right for them. One of aspects of Domino and Blueprint that was appealing was the opportunity to view a range of styles that you might not otherwise approach with a stylistically narrow magazine.

    and….Blueprint. Gah. don’t get me started. Pure love.

  • ps-Grace your comments are so on-point!!!! Can’t wait to see it in real life – the mag and the website!

  • I am also thrilled that Domino is returning with new content! Glad to see some sneak peaks in your post. I’ve been looking for it at my local bookstores (i.e., Barnes & Noble), since your Instagram post, but no luck yet. Hopefully we’ll get it in S.C. soon.

    AND, Blueprint! OMG… that was one of my all-time faves. I still have every issue of it (and Domino). Martha really does need to reboot!! Fingers crossed…

  • So excited to hear Domino is back! Saw the article in today’s NY Times and immediately called my best friend, who thinks I have a magazine addiction. But what’s wrong with that? In Barnes and Noble now getting my copy!

  • SO thrilled Domino is back! I saved my favorite old issues and the ones from last year. Does anyone remember the pre-pinterest element of the old dominomag.com, where you could upload and save images? I wonder if the new site is like that also, but I guess I can go check for myself…

  • I have many old Dominos in perfect condition. I moved them across two states in plastic bins when I moved, intending to supplement my retirement income by selling them on eBay (they are quite pricey). But guess what … I cannot part with them! Lol. Besides Elle Décor (the most beautiful of all shelter magazines), I have missed Domino beaucoup!! Hooray for the return :)

  • I didn’t mind the recycled photos and stories in the last year’s Domino offerings because I had *gasp!* given away my hard copies of the magazine from the first publication days (I live in a teeny apartment and ran out of space!). So that helped me restock my brain with Domino goodness.

    My question for the revival–why no digital offering? I seriously don’t have space for mags and have switched to almost all digital ones these days. Thoughts?

  • I hope there is still room for print in today’s world. Even for books as well as magazines. You know, when banks first got ATM machines back in the 70s, there was talk about how print money would disappear. Even with online banking now, we still have print money and it’s not going away anytime soon. We might carry less print money and use it differently, but it’s still here.

    I love Pinterest and all the inspiration there but honestly many of the best photos pinned there still come from magazine publishers. There’s quality in the photos. More immediate innovative ideas will always come from those who can publish faster like bloggers, but few can match the quality level of magazines.

    I wonder how many of us out here prefer print to electronic? Are there enough of us to keep print thriving? I’m an avid magazine reader – I’d read Met Home since the 80s and mourned its loss. There are stacks of magazines in our basement. When I travel, I come home with huge loads of magazines from overseas, and now my husband knows to bring them home! But I’ve never been able to get into online magazines. I also don’t read on a Kindle.

    Photos are better in print. You can find nearly all photos from Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s book online, for example, but seeing them larger and “closer” in your hands in print is a different experience.

    I think publishers have to make print an *experience* for us and as it seems Domino is doing, make it easy to buy from sources because we’re used to that online now.

  • I am so glad to here your back . I did save previous issues ,thinking it was the last of a “good thing.”. I can’t wait !

  • Just read my copy tonight and I certainly echo everyone’s cheers to Domino being back. I’m excited about this new way of merging printed content with e-commerce. It’s also interesting to see Michelle’s vision of the magazine, especially after starting Lonny. I was a little shocked about some of the prices of products and don’t really remember the original mag featuring products that expensive but, and I cringe as I type this, I do not have any of the old issues. At any rate, so happy to invite an old friend into my home.

  • Gad-Zook’s and Hot Damn! I am over the moon with delight that the vision will continue to share with us. A big and large welcome back Domino magazine, I missed you terrible!

  • Thanks for this post, Grace, I will check into a subscription right away. I bought both your GORGEOUS book, Design*Sponge at Home, and Domino The Book of Decorating for my birthday this past August, and they are both my go-to books for inspiration and ‘how to’ when I’m ready to make changes. Yay for print! I still have some inspiration pages from Domino–years ago (!) in my folder.

  • I’m so so so excited over this! And one thing that Domino always did well was source many affordable, readily available products for readers. It wasn’t just aspirational. It was accessible. So, I see the e-commerce aspect of its reboot as a logical extension of that. I can’t wait!

  • WAAAAAAH! So glad to see this! I really miss Domino (and Blueprint, and many others). It must be such a different experience for you coming from the perspective of a former editor there! I totally agree that it’s OK that print publications can’t be the most current purveyors of style/design. I think keeping that in mind and examining them as their own particular breed of design curator is a must & I’m excited to check it out for myself!

  • Like it. Love it. Bought it. Soon-to-be joined with its much-older brothers and sisters on the shelf.

    Fingers crossed they hire back some of the old stylists and art directors. As much as I like this issue, it feels closer to a Traditional Home mag than the fun and funky Domino’s of yore. Maybe they are catering to a slightly older/more sophisticated readership. I still like it. Yay!

  • It feels like its been forever since Domino was out of production (it was only 2009??). I’m so thankful it’s back, no other magazine has been able to touch Domino. I’m from Winnipeg and therefore a little bit sheltered from what’s new and exciting, so when I see something in a magazine it’s usually new. I imagine lots of other people are the same way – so there’s not a lot of competition as far as blogs being instant and the possibility of something being featured twice. I don’t have all day to scour blogs, but I make time for magazines that reflect my personal style.

    Long story short – Hooray!!

  • I think the commerce side of this will absolutely affect what gets featured in print, which to me, completely changes the face of a magazine. As someone who works for an online retailer, it’s not incredibly simple just to be “open” with a manufacturer and add products to your site so people can buy them. I can’t help but think that limits the pool as to what might be featured if they aren’t able to sell it directly and make money off of it.

    But, I hope that’s not the case–I really, really loved Domino!

  • I am so excited! I , like many others was completely broken hearted when Domino closed down. There is no other magazine that even comes close! I like the British mag Living, etc, but still it’s not Domino! All the other are beautiful fantasy, but still I really don’t buy anything of them, because I am always disappointed . I saved as many of my issues as I could and they are still relevant today. I read them again and again. Hurray!!!! Now I know I will be featured in Domino one day!

  • I loved Blueprint too! I kept a few issues and will not part them either! Online is fine , but it will never replace print, it is not the same at all!

  • I’m so glad to hear your thoughts on this. My feelings are very much in line with yours and I am intrigued to see where it all will go and how it will change the way editorial and retail work….everything is changing so fast these days! Coming from a retail background I’m interested to see how this will impact the editorial content, and where things will evolve to. Overall I’m thrilled to see Domino back! I think the expectations are different from magazines now that the blogging world is so established…and that there is a place for both. I love flipping through a physical magazine.

  • I too have a complete set of the Domino magazines. I also have several years of LivingEtc. I certainly hope print never completely disappears. For one thing, I find on-line magazines to be unwieldily moving from page to page, No-one seems to have this down pat and therefore they do not duplicate the experience of a print decor magazine.

    One thing I do find disturbing happened both with Domino and LivingEtc. Over a period of time there seems to have been more and more emphasis on high end products and very high end interiors. I hope Domino actually will show different price points. Not everything needs to be super expensive. A creative interior is not limited to those with wads of money.

  • I didn’t mind the recycled content offered in last year’s issues because I (gasp) had never SEEN domino before. I am a recent convert to shelter magazines (and women’s magazines) and rarely picked one up before 3 years ago. Now I’m really curious to understand what Blueprint was. Although I have been reading one magazine long enough (6-7 years) to have been terribly upset at the sudden demise by MarthA Stewart of Whole Living. I remember when it was called Body and Soul. Martha has more money than God so it’s a mystery as to why such a good magazine was killed. A friend still gets teary-eyed about House and Garden; I’ve taken to subscribing to Canadian shelter magazines!

  • I’m NOT happy with the new Lonny so let me tell you… what a thrill not only to see Domino back, but Michelle Adams driving the bus! Anthology and Living Etc. have prevented me from serious depression but the more the merrier. As a graphic designer, I can’t get enough of print AND online. If it’s a quality publication, I will be there to support it. I still have all my Blueprint magazines too but the loss still stings after all these years. I can’t even have a virtual discussion about it. Tears…

  • I got a chill thru my body as soon as I just read that Domino was back. Same feeling I got when I was at an Estate Sale a couple of months ago and they had a pile of old Domino magazines that I grabbed for a $1.00. Some of them I already had, but, the one’s I didn’t…….I couldn’t wait to get home to read them.

  • I do not remember the “old” Domino magazine, but after reading Grace’s article and all your posts, I am heading to Barnes & Noble first thing tomorrow. :-)

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