The iPad and other tablets are taking a sideways swipe at the way editors and designers approach page layout on digital magazines.

Take this publication for the Farnborough Airshow 2010.

It uses Flash, so it can’t be played on an iPad yet, but aside from that, it still relies on print techniques to navigate the reader through. Apart from the A380 animation and the filmed intro, its format looks dated and tired – even the word ‘interactive’ is superfluous.

With the introduction of the iPad, we no longer have to constrain ourselves to devices such as page numbers at the edges, spreads and pages that turn with a flick.

On iPads you swipe sideways – you don’t need to turn the page over. The reader can decide which page to read first. It’s one of many innovations that require a change of mindset in publishing people.

Designer David Kimpton is inspired by the freedom the iPad provides publishers. “Try to imagine a long line of individual pages rather than turning over a page,” he says. “On the iPad you look at one page at a time. Pages don’t have to be restricted to the same size and format. They can be flexible and creative depending on the appropriateness to the user.”

David believes the publishing industry should be “applications-led rather than issues-led”, with story telling and narrative done in short films, animation and 360-degree shots of an object.

These examples show what’s possible:

Sports Illustrated

This engaging publication shows the importance of really good indexing.


Visual overviews are a key device here, as is the ability to interact with social media.

These digital innovators are showing editors and designers how to engage with their readers in new and exciting ways. So if you still have a print mentality, now’s the time to turn over a new page – or should that be ‘swipe’?