Leave Print Alone In A Digital World

Add “Bottom Line Personal” to the list of publications that learned mixing print and digital design isn’t always pleasing to longtime readers.

The bimonthly publication, which is one of my favorite sources of practical advice for living smarter, tried a new design this year that “was in sync with a more contemporary style.”

“We wanted to unify our corporate look and make the publication more appealing to the next generation of readers growing into our demographic,” Editor Marjory Abrams wrote in her column.

Social media and marketers apparently loved it.

Print readers? Not so much.

In its April 15th edition, Bottom Line Personal returned to its old design.

The bottom line:
“Sometimes we just like our old pair of jeans. Even though the new design was clean and contemporary, it didn’t feel as welcoming as the old design for many of you,” wrote Abrams, under the headline Welcome Home. “And I think, after this year of cocooning and rediscovery of traditional activities and simpler times, a sudden change was not what was needed right now.”

Timing indeed is everything.

Publications should try new things, but the Relevant Point here is: If your print publication scores high in functionality, leave it alone.

Innovation is still perfect for online and digital products. That audience gets change.

The print audience wants outstanding stories to read, trusted guideposts, and simple design that’s easy to navigate — not noisy.

Take it from a publisher who also learned the hard way.

I give Bottom Line lots of credit for its do-over. And to the editor for personally replying to upset readers.

At this point in the crazy world of publishing, let print be print.

Put your Relevant energy into storytelling and news coverage.

–Tom Silvestri

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