A vindication of the physical object

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Credit: David Pohl

I received the new issue [Winter 2012] in the mail yesterday, and I have to tell you it was fantastic—filled with really interesting content, which made me feel just wonderful about my association with HLS. But strikingly, it was also beautifully designed. The fonts, layout, graphics were lean and powerful, bold and dynamic. It all suited the content and made me want to dig into it. It supported and reflected the idea of a law school bridging theory and practice, past and future. Each page was a well-composed course in the visual and intellectual meal. Even the paper—no longer the “impressive” glossy stock, but more matte and tactile, and smartly square-bound—contributed to my engagement with the magazine. It’s possible that the current format has been in place for a few issues now, but this is the first time I’ve had the time to really engage with it, and it’s just really engaging.

The whole thing is a vindication of the physical object in a world of virtual media. A glowing 9-by-7 screen is nothing like an 8.5-by-11 page in ambient light with a nice feel in the fingers, a two-page view, the ability to fold the page over to remind me to come back to it and the ability to scribble my reactions in the margin.

It’s quite exciting to see magazines adapt to the Internet and iPad era (The New York Times Magazine, e.g., has done it well, I think), and it seems that this challenge has made the HLB even better than it was before. Kudos.