Friday, December 11, 2009

Discuss.




Lonny's second issue is on your virtual newsstand. Are you picking it up? Have you read it?

Discuss.

49 comments:

sketch42 said...

Yea. Its boring. I wish it werent so, but it is.

Bailey @ peppermintbliss said...

I clicked it up, and this bathroom was one of my fave images. However, I still find myself wishing it was a real printed magazine that I could hold and caress in my wee little paws...I need to get a better printer so I can really truly enjoy it

Decorno said...

What makes it boring? (I am truly curious to know what you thing on this.. specifically.)

sketch42 said...

OK, lets break it down. Btw, I am judging mostly on pics because lonny is really hard and annoying to read.

The gift guide: It was ok.

I liked the page about kelly's plates, but I have seen it before.

The travel/hotel section was ok. I liked the images of the hotel. The travel tips were blah.

The fashion spread I barely looked at.

I liked the Jcrew store spread but it seemed a little bit long.

I didnt really like the textile designers spread. It seems like that was in there last time?

Small black apartment was cute.

Then the kate spade store. Why another store spread in one mag?

I thought the bungalow redo was cool. Interesting to see how she changed it up.

Lo and behold, ANOTHER STORE? also black and white, and it also has antlers hung on a black wall? (like the small black apartment) a lot of repetition for one mag.

I liked the next home though it was nothing earth shattering. but it was pretty.

HC's list of must haves. Also a little bit boring.

Seeing eddie ross's country house last time was sooooo good... got my hopes up.

Skinny Kitten said...

i have seriously analyzed the problem with lonny and it is as follows:

the photography is awesome. the people and places featured are awesome. the writing, while clearly trying very hard, is formulaic and uninspired, and consistently the same throughout.

does that make sense to anyone else?

sketch42 said...

Am I wrong? What do I know?

Anonymous said...

Whatever they do, I'm grateful for.

(Except the HC list of must-haves.)

Anonymous said...

it's boring because we've seen it all before. kelly wearstler, jenna lyons. come on. my advice:

-stop turning to the same one-trick ponies for their material. there are other people doing interesting things.
-expand the styling direction. i can appreciate candy colors, chalkboard paint and cute collections of framed art but there are other cool things.
-lose the wide-angle lens
-create some new concepts/departments instead of ripping them off from domino. domino didn't succeed for a reason so learn from it.
-simplify graphic design direction. liked it in martha and blueprint years ago.
-interiors people shouldn't try their hands at fashion.

that's my $.02

MoreSkinnyDays said...

I love it. I didn't read anything, I just looked at the pretty pictures. If I want to read, that's what the Atlantic or VF is for. I love that there are several styles included, not what the magazine says is "in" at the time. I do however, supposed we'll be making fun of antlers in about three months though.

Anonymous said...

They do this in their spare time; this isn't their day job. It's pretty shocking to me how good it is.

Anonymous said...

Dont you feel like we bloggers have been talking about antlers and black walls for months now? I totally expected something new to come out of Lonny....

sketch42 said...

Not only was it stuff we have seen in other magazines before, but it was so repetitive in itself!!!

Anonymous said...

Lonny = slow blogging

Bloggers have already shown us the interior of the J. Crew and Kate Spade stores. Bloggers routinely show hotel interiors.

Maybe Lonny just needs a little more time to become the sort of entity that can "scoop" us.

Anonymous said...

Beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice.

redbrickbuilding said...

I agree with Skinny Kitten that the formulaic, uninspired writing style is really dragging the articles down. And I agree that the idea of the decorating ideas are ones we've seen lots of elsewhere. The fashion spread was a big "no!" for me.

At first I thought it was annoying that so many of the features are about store's interiors rather than homes interiors. But on reflection, I actually like that they're looking elsewhere for inspiration. What would have made it better was if there was a more explicit sense of how to translate the interesting things about the stores' interiors for the home.

But I did take away a couple of good things from the read. Specifically, bookmarking Journelle for my next lingerie spree, the Keppler Hotel as a potential place to stay the next time we're in Paris and saving the image of the elegant skylight in the J. Crew store so that we can copy it in our master bath.

Anonymous said...

Loved just about everything, but agree with ANON 9:17 on HC. Gag.

Anonymous said...

HATE fashion in interior mags, thats what fashion mags are for.

Jules said...

I take a more pragmatic view of Lonny. I think what the very small team at Lonny does every month is nothing short of amazing. They are 4+ people with full time jobs who manage to accomplish during nights and weekends what established magazines did with a staff ten times larger--and with more time on their hands.

I'm loathe to criticize them for what must be a daunting task. They produced this last issue in two months. Think about that--two months for 4+ people with jobs to produce an entire magazine we can access for free.

As for the content being formulaic and uninspired, I disagree. Besides, I don't normally look to shelter magazines for an inspiring flip of a prepositional phrases. I want solid editorial content, which I believe you get more with Lonny than you do with many blogs. Additionally, I can't judge a writer for relying on a few tricks and key phrases if they are responsible for producing the content for an entire magazine in 60 days or less. That is an enormous (and unheard of) obligation to fulfill for a full time, paid employee. I can only imagine what Shawn Gauthier goes through to meet her deadlines. She gets nothing but my respect.

I don't think Lonny is perfect, but when I consider the blood, sweat, and tears that must go into producing it, I can't help but remain impressed with the team and their product.

Emily said...

"lonny is really hard and annoying to read"

YES!

This is my biggest issue. If I try to read it on my laptop at home, I'm zooming in and out every five seconds. I'm one of the compulsive magazine readers - yes, I look at and learn from the images, but I also read everything, down to the captions. REALLY hard to do with this design. Even if it view it on a 22" Mac, the screen feels too small for the design. Why is Issuu and even the online version of Living Etc. so much easier to read?

Skinny Kitten said...

Despite what i said in my earlier comment, i am still really, really happy that it exists, and i definitely am amazed by the amount of work and effort and time and creativity that go into making it happen. i was attempting to pinpoint what was bothering me about it, but that certainly does not detract from the fact that i still enjoy it a lot.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything Jules said. Lonny has a ways to go yet but the founders should be applauded for their efforts. If you think you can do better get out there and do it.

sketch42 said...

Im with SK. I was so happy when the first one came out I almost cried. I just wasnt as stoked by this issue. I am really impressed that it is put together by such a small team! I've worked on magazines before and it takes months to put together products that are half as good!

I also want to point out, Domino was read by average americans as well as decor-bloggers. But I don't think that Lonny is. (IS IT? None of my friends know about it.) So maybe the bloggers just expect more, and deserve more?

Decorno, your thoughts please...

Sharon said...

Decorno,
You are so very good at getting a discussion going. I like the discussion better than the virtmag.

Anonymous said...

I think Lonny is beautiful and I enjoy looking at it (fills the void of Domino/Blueprint).

One thing that irks me is how transparent the product placement is. Their gift guide recommends countless items from the companies who purchased ads in that same issue and whose store decor was featured.

I know that's probably the only way their bread gets buttered, and I know fashion mags are filled with this sort of pay-to-play. I just wish it weren't so obvious.

HN said...

What's to complain about - 175 pages of FREE smack for design junkies! Bring it! I don't care how much of the same thing I see - I love the aesthetic it represents. I'm one of the people out there designing and what is refreshing and why we, and all the bloggers, keep going to the current trend in whimsical, unexpected style, color, textures, touches a la Wearstler & Adler is that before that it was 15 years of our adulthood with nothing but elegant but safe, safe, safe, keep up with the Joneses design a la Vicente Wolf, Victoria Hagan, Charlotte Moss, anyone remember Mario Buatta "the prince of chinz"? Blah!

Long live Lonny and all other design enthusiasts/bloggers that embrace eclecticism, stretch-the-budget creative ingenuity, and are actively putting content out there for us to replace what the big publishers have taken away.

AND the current issue led me to the source for the adorable vintage Jere owl that my client has been trying to bribe the Kate Spade store manager for since August. My client now thinks I am a design-detective-goddess which makes Lonny priceless in my book. Rock on Lonny!

Anonymous said...

I've been in the magazine business for 26 years. Jules is right.

Anonymous said...

Boring, specifically:

- lame, formulaic writing, eg
"pop of color"
"be passionate about what
you love"
"don't be afraid to ..."
"mix high end with low end"
and so on, and on and on and on
- puerile tips
- antlers
- manages to talk down to readers
- not enough interesting homes
(correction, no interesting
homes)
- antlers
- stores you would expect (JCrew
and Spade)- nothing new
- bad fashion, poorly photographed
- too many "pretty" things
- more antlers
- no understanding of wabi-sabi
whatsoever, despite what the
decorator thought
- everything ordinary

Lonny: proof that it is very hard to successfully maintain an inferior interior decor mag online. Lonny has nothing to say, and what is does say is yesterday's news. (Antlers, Black, etc). Truth is bloggers do it better. Quicker. In a multitude of ways. With reader response. Blogs feel fresher, more innovative and some are really prepared to push boundaries on matters interior.

I for one will not bother with the next Lonny, if there is one.
Give me blogs like yours any day.
(or Head over Heels, Girl World Decor, My Favorite and My Best, Architect Design, Door 16, Mrs Blandings, Aesthetes Lament...well you get the idea).

Anon.

Shauna said...

LIKE overall, especially for the new start and small staff. Impressive.

BUT...

HATED HATED HATED the STORES! Especially big chains, with big brand identities that advertise non stop.

Really? J.Crew and Kate Spade -- these are new? wtf?

Cut that sh*t out, Baby Domino. You've been warned.

And go outside the same inner inner circle pov of people we've all seen a hundred times.

Hotel and Paris stuff were the highlights.

I'm rooting for it, tho.

Anonymous said...

"Truth is bloggers do it better. Quicker. In a multitude of ways. With reader response. Blogs feel fresher, more innovative and some are really prepared to push boundaries on matters interior."

You're mistaking form for content. Blogs ARE quicker, yes. Reader response--check. "Push boundaries on matters interior"? Well... there are more opinions, less magazine-style orthodoxy ("If Charlotte Moss did it, it has to be good"). But blogs have no budgets. No staffs. They document very little that has not been documented before. They provide very little NEW content. Mostly they are providing commentary and debate on OLD content--stuff that's already been in magazines or books or on commercial websites (sites put up by decorators showcasing their own work, e.g.).

On the blogs you mentioned, you're not going to get fresh content--new photographs of a talented decorator's latest project that have never been seen anywhere else. Will we be able to rely on Lonny for that? I hope so. I'm going to give them a little time. Two issues done with volunteer labor and very little money--it's just too soon to judge.

Libby at Aurora Primavera said...

I'm also 20-yr vet in print magazine business and Jules makes valid points BUT.
The fact is that bloggers do online better, b/c they are quicker, have no overhead and can cannibalize images from other sources. Their "business model" leaves them with a nimbler process which results in a content vibrancy and moment-by-moment immediacy that ink-on-paper, two-month lead time print mags can't touch.
The second issue of Lonny looked just like what it was. A side project for people with zero financial resources and little time, resulting in patently desperate edit choices (two retail interiors, antlers).

Plus, with Lonny we are back to the issue of FREE content. I know I have grown less interested in The New Yorker, after being a longtime subscriber, b/c I am aware that the content is online before I even get my mag in the mail. We simply do not value what we do not pay for.

Slate tablets, printing press, telegraph, radio, movies, tv, internet. It's all media and we want it all. But we are in a death struggle over paid content and we may all lose here.

I don't lump bloggers in this paid/not paid dichotomy. B/c bloggers are amateurs and community builders. But the issue of copyrighted images and appropriation is not resolved--and rarely addressed by bloggers. The FREE is out of the bag, whether it's wrangled back in, and what happens then remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

Libby - people now definitely value what they do not pay for. Blogger, Gmail, Hotmail, Mint.com. These are all free and people demand that they work properly. People know the game. They know that some services or products are free because the revenue will come another way for these companies. The problem, in the case of Lonny, is that most people aren't going to give them an A for effort and keep consuming the product. Lonny's challenge, though, isn't readership, exactly, it's how can they build a reliable revenue stream.

Also - bloggers (99% anyway) have NO business model. Most people do not have an effective way to make money from their blog, and if they do make some money from small ads or associate fees, it's not enough to live on (generally). Not sure Lonny has an airtight business model, either, but I don't think people know what, if any, threat that blogs really pose to shelter magazines. A lot of them went under not because blogs were busy stealing their images and commenting about them, etc, but because there were too many titles crowding the newsstands and some weren't good enough to last.

gayhooker said...

The only chance for excitement over this lavatory would be meeting Jenna Lyons' brother, Spencer, in there; naked of course.

Anonymous said...

"The fact is that bloggers do online better, b/c they are quicker, have no overhead and can cannibalize images from other sources.

Exactly: "images from OTHER SOURCES." Bloggers add no new images, and in design/decor, images are everything.

All this talk about "nimbler" and "vibrancy" and "moment-by-moment immediacy"--it means nothing if you're looking at the same pictures from the same issue of the same magazine that everyone has already seen and blogged about and commented on a hundred times before.

Anonymous said...

"I know I have grown less interested in The New Yorker, after being a longtime subscriber, b/c I am aware that the content is online before I even get my mag in the mail. We simply do not value what we do not pay for."

The New Yorker's online content is no longer free to non-subscribers. (A recent change.)

Look for magazine and newspaper websites to start restricting access to their online content, and charging for it. I believe such a plan is in the works at the Wall Street Journal, for example. Charging for online content is inevitable.

Anonymous said...

"Lonny's challenge, though, isn't readership, exactly, it's how can they build a reliable revenue stream."

EXACTLY. Just as magazines don't close because of lack of readership, or lack of subscribers, or readers hating the content. They close because advertising revenue dries up.

i suwannee said...

disagree with anon who said blogs don't give fresh content. not true.

there are tons - little green notebook, door 16, elements of style, urban grace, making it lovely, oh happy day, i suwannee (which is mine), even eddie ross lovehimorhatehim (he almost exclusively posts new things that he's doing) -- that are posting photos of their homes/projects almost daily that are then recycled on all the other blogs. no professional photographers are taking these. the bloggers are.

Anonymous said...

Sites like Desire to Inspire and Remodelista that cull images from various sources satisfies my need for variety as well as the organization (images tagged "grey", e.g.)to quickly flip through many photos for either random inspiration or to solve a dilemma in my own home.
A site like this one, satisifies my need to occasionally comment on design and be amused and educated by other commenters.
I have very little need for the text that design magazines provide and no interest in the filler pages on shopping, etc. The feedback loop and quick access to lots of photos is what's missing in online and print magazine formats for me.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers may use images already out there. Does that matter? Not to me. Most of us do not have the opportunity to buy and read large numbers of decor mags and this is where blogs are brilliant. Different blogs trawl the sources available (paper mags, designer's websites, photostreams, et al) and, generally very successfully, bring to us images that we would otherwise be unlikely to come upon. Often on a daily basis. Now that must be hard work. No financial remuneration - but true passion for what they do.

This does give blogs a certain freshness and immediacy that is difficult to replicate in something like Lonny. Images may be not original but they are diverse and usually interesting.

The only way that the Lonny's of this world will survive? a few ideas:
- absolutely spectacular interiors
- diversity of interior styles
- drop all the pappy late adolescent tips and advice - readers are not imbeciles
- don't do fashion
- go for a little World of Interiors/Vogue Living Aust/dash of Domino/best of the bloggers mix. Shaken and stirred.
- be bold

Issues such as copyright and original photographic content do exist but do not impact the success of an online magazines such as this.

Lonny relies to the blogworld to enlist readership

Bloggers do it better.

Anon.

Anonymous said...

"there are tons...that are posting photos of their homes/projects almost daily that are then recycled on all the other blogs. no professional photographers are taking these. the bloggers are."

Right. But each blogger is mainly publishing only images of his own house. And the budgets involved are usually modest.

Don't get me wrong: People like seeing how to make an Ikea Billy bookcase work in a room, or how to install baseboards. But they also need an escape--a room with 11-foot lacquered ceilings and a Jean-Michel Frank sofa with a Franz Kline hanging over it. You are not going to get those big-budget, Elle Decor-scale images from bloggers.

Anonymous said...

"Issues such as copyright and original photographic content do exist but do not impact the success of an online magazines such as this."

Give us examples of FINANCIALLY successful online magazines that you base these statements on.

"Most of us do not have the opportunity to buy and read large numbers of decor mags "

First, there AREN'T "large numbers" of decor magazines. Second, if there are NO decor magazines, bloggers won't be able to supply the photographs of "absolutely spectacular interiors" you demand. The supply of such photos will dry up. All you'll be left with is "Here's my Ikea bookcase, with white paint instead of black."

Anonymous said...

Yes, we love to see a totally gorgeous space a la Elle Decor/WoI etc. And we may indeed buy that magazine from the newsstand. We may also get our fix from the net. Let's not kid ourselves, Lonny is not offering those kind of interiors in any case.

Personally, I am less interested in the "how I styled my Billy bookcase and installed baseboards one Sunday afternoon" posts. But I do enjoy the blogs that show me wonderful spaces I may not have seen. Those that discuss design and those that critique it. And encourage debate. And these, in the main, are the blogs I follow.

The ARE a lot of design mags, but few wonderful ones. Since reading decor sites online I have purchased very few mags - only those with something exceptional. Frankly, the money I save I now spend on decor books, beautifully presented with no advertising.

I think there will always be amazing interior images available. The best magazines will probably survive, I hope so. If not, photographers and designers will actively engage with the net to ensure their work is promoted and appraised. This is already happening via designer websites and photostreams.

I have learned a great deal and discovered wonderful designers I knew nothing of, courtesy of blogs.

You denigrate the "how I did it at my place" blog. Don't read them if they're not your cup of tea. There is such diversity out there you will find something you like. Be bold!

Bloggers do it better (than Lonny)!

Anon.

DesignAddict said...

I found it actually pretty good for the most part. Yes, it resembled things I have seen before, but they are things that I liked (and in the style of several mags that are no more, so I appreciate that). It reminded me a little of Domino (more grown up), a little of House and Garden, (the Paris place) and a smig of House Beautiful (the natural place).

I did not need the fashions. I agree that fashions should be in fashion mags, don't waste my prescious pages on fashion porn when I want decor porn. I also did not need the two (or three) stores...again it felt like fashion porn especially as I don't intend to live in a clothing store any time soon.

My biggest problem was the online viewing itself. I like to linger over my mags and take them with me and having to view it on line (with tv, talking child and other distractions), meant that I could not give it the attention I thought it deserved. My mags and I have ritual and I am afraid Lonny, while nice, doesn't work into that ritual.

Anonymous said...

What makes, for example, Small Mag a successful online publication?

Anonymous said...

Blogs sometimes create their own content but I have yet to see one that has not snagged photos from a publication from time to time.

Lonny still kicks Architectural Digest's ass, along with most of the American publications that have been left at the newsstand.

I know that I'm not spending my spare time outside work putting together a free magazine for everybody. I'm just happy someone is trying.

Get Togetha said...

As a decor blogger I'll be the last person on earth to kick Lonny squarely in the gut. Beggars can't be choosers and if we all knew how to make a better "crane your neck" virtual mag experience; we'd be doing it.

Lonny is only the beginning of the evolutionary process of online decor content.

GT

Anonymous said...

Love Lonny, just not the nausea inducing stripes... give me a pain killer stat.

Anonymous said...

I think they're doing a great job, but I just noticed that they call a door jamb a door "jam." Um, no.

Erica LeBlanc said...

I agree, I'm tired on all the hype about Jenna Lyons and Kelly Wearstler, seen it all before.

I really enjoyed the bit on the small studio. It was interesting to read an article where the client had a budget and worked around it (meaning he couldn't refinish his floors right now.) I want to read about design challenges and how people and designers overcome them.

I'll check out the next issue and that will either make it or break it for me.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a wonderful example of how people interested in publication is taking on the challenge online. I personally coulld not get in to it. I would much rather prefer a blog format for computer reading and browsing. Content wise I think they should seek out more "new" designers and trend setters. I wish them the best of luck!