Issue 4 Ben Saunders Explorer and publisher

Insight

Avaunt

Polar explorer and magazine editor Ben Saunders on his new print project



‘The end of print’ is a knell that has rung in the collective ears of the periodical publishing industry for quite some time, but is a phrase that has largely fallen on deaf ones. Sure, it has fallen on some dead ones too. The print media landscape has had to change rapidly over the last decade due to the voracity of online content and, as with any fast-paced industry, those reluctant to steer a new course often find themselves writing their own obituaries month in month out.

What is clear however is that the magazine in its guise as a throwaway read is on borrowed time and in its place is a growing breed of less frequent and often specialist titles with very high production values designed with the intention of being kept and cherished. Avaunt is one such title: a biannual that looks and feels substantial, with a subject matter that is not at the mercy of cultural transience. It’s a bold move on the part of Saunders, but one he thinks is very much worth it…

Despite doing almost all of my reading nowadays on a Kindle, and tending to get my news online or via digital radio, I still think there’s something unique about beautifully designed and printed publications that inspires people to collect and treasure them, and I hope that’s something we’ll achieve with Avaunt.


It’s impossible to recreate the quality, weight and texture of a decent magazine on a tablet or screen and the irony is that today’s “immersive” multimedia invariably involves being one step removed: your eyes and ears can take it in, but two senses are disconnected in a way they’re not if you’re holding a printed journal.


I don’t have a crystal ball, but Port certainly flourished when everyone seemed to be saying that print was dead, so I’m optimistic about the outlook for Avaunt.’