Thursday, 25 March 2010

Grazia Augmented Reality - is 3D / interactive the future for magazines?

This week's UK edition of Grazia is an 'amazing 3D issue.' Augmented reality has been used at various points in the magazine and readers can make 'cover girl Florence Welch sing, dance and spin around.' Furthermore readers can 'interact' with Grazia's fashion editors, view the items on this week's 'fashion charts from every angle' and watch a makeup 'video masterclass.'

Grazia Augmented Reality coverGrazia Augmented Reality cover

Grazia readers access this content by holding the relevant pages up to a webcam. Once the webcam sees the black and white symbol on the page, the onscreen image is then augmented with the 3D Augmented Reality content. (Alternatively downloading the Grazia iPhone app will allow the iPhone's camera to interpret the Augmented Reality content.)

Grazia Augmented Reality fashionGrazia Augmented Reality fashion charts

Grazia Augmented Reality Florence Welch spreadGrazia Augmented Reality Florence Welch spread

Clearly a lot of time and effort has gone into producing this issue (the Grazia editor talks of months of planning) and whilst this is slickly executed and has novelty appeal it definitely adds something to the issue - see for yourself at So is this a future direction for print / magazines?

In the short term I think it is difficult to envisage Augmented Reality print executions delivering reach. It takes effort, AR is still slightly cumbersome (printing off a symbol or holding a magazine up to a webcam) and webcams are still not great (eg our built in Compaq webcam shows everything upside down.)

However, I think the idea of turning a magazine / printed publication from the traditional self-contained product into a multi-dimensional platform is interesting. Print becomes the jumping off point for further exploration. Each page can be brought to life through digital interactivity, effectively Augmented Reality can enable each page to 'host' a multi-media content experience.

It's not a big leap to think of printed TV listings having embedded codes that show you a trailer on your computer / phone, recipe sections that use AR video to show you how to make things or the editor 'speaking' to you from the page.

We are also seeing advertisers exploring the possibilities of AR embedded in ad executions. Mini ran AR in Germany on their Cabrio ads and Calvin Klein have just launched an AR ad in this month's GQ (another Conde Nast title):

Calvin Klein Augmented Reality ad in GQ

I'm still not sure that Augmented Reality could really be described as mainstream, but it has come a long way in a short space of time and could offer some really interesting possibilities if it continues to be integrated into traditional areas like print. The new magazine formating being developed for iPad and E-readers also presents some interesting opportunities.

Nice work Conde Nast!

Related posts

The 3D Sun newspaper

5 examples of Augmented Reality
5 more Augmented Reality examples
Augmented Reality at Wimbledon
The Sun newspaper promotes Augmented Reality and RubberDuckZilla
The coolest AR app yet - 5Gum Augmented Reality DJ mixing
3D mobile Augmented Reality and touchable holography

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Promotional Products said...

This is pretty awesome. Augmented reality is about as hot as it gets right now. Thanks for sharing, I have to get my hands on this issue.

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