Print! Tearing it up (exhibition review)

It can change lives, it can re-write history, it can capture a story, it can inspire and let free. It can be torn into pieces and taped back together. One thing print cannot do is to be forgotten. Print has played a key role in the communication world for centuries and the Somerset House is only one of the many institutions who are determined to bring it back into the spotlight. 

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With The Guardian and other newspapers going exclusively online, it is a challenge to prove that print is something worth maintaining, especially if  the figures shows otherwise. Coming from the London College of Printing, I know that print is more than just a process of transferring thoughts onto paper, it is a series of thoughts that go into a publication. From the initial idea of the subject, to choosing the finest paper and binding method. Print can mean so much, but does it today? 

The beauty of print is in its complexity and simultaneous simplicity. It is the most sophisticated form of communication I ever encountered. Over years, I learnt that the cover of a book is key to exploring the inside. The cover has the power to convince the reader to give the content a go. It is not about pretty illustration, it is about the materials, the touch and feel, that is what makes a great cover. And this decides whether the content will be read or not. The inside serves as a cover in itself, too. By skimming the pages, customer often decides whether the publication is worth the money or not. Yes, one can look at an image for hours, words can be read in seconds, but our attention span dies out after one second, so the visuals are extremely important.

“the beauty of print is in its complexity and simultaneous simplicity”

The point being, print is complex. For all the resources it consumes, it should be treated with respect. The Print! Tearing it up celebrates the diversity and uniqueness of independent British magazines. And hell, there are many. Some more expected, like The Gentlewoman, some less, like the Time Out (independent, really?). It is free and accompanied by a series of talks and events. So, what are you waiting for? Off you go to the Somerset House, and if that is too far, then at least visit your nearest newsstand and by a new independent magazine today. 

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P.S. Listen up, readers, this seller talk is to the point as my best friend and I are setting up an independent magazine with more details to come out soon! Meanwhile, help us create the perfect issue which will shock and enthuse the industry by filling up a questionnaire here. Thank you.

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