Talented South African designers have been given a chance to directly feed the country’s top design magazine, VISI, with their works via a free iPhone app. Called the Covet Design Network, it allows designers to join the network and upload their designs. And it lets VISI readers in to ‘covet’ the designs, and comment too.
“The Covet design network forms part of a strategic campaign proposed by Cape Town agency Net#work BBDO, who were briefed by VISI and New Media Publishing (the publishers of VISI on behalf of Media 24) to breathe new life into this innovative design brand. VISI magazine has always pushed the boundaries in terms of design and innovation and we felt it was essential that VISI finds the new frontier in terms of publishing and designing,” said editor, Jacquie Myburgh Chemaly.
“Harnessing the collective design talents of the VISI community and displaying it for all to see through a design-driven social network, was a logical and essential next step. Implementing the technical side of our new digital strategy – with our digital agency Native (ex Stonewall) – has taken us about 12 months,” she said.
“The importance of drawing in users and lovers of good design is paramount. “The media landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade, and internet users have come to expect media strategies and platforms that give them the opportunity to contribute,” said Myburgh Chemaly.
“With a medium that’s also incredibly dynamic and fast-paced, it’s important to have a lot of ears on the ground – if these ears can be your audience’s, it’s first prize. So far, a lot of web-based content sharing has been “word-based”. We are tremendously excited to be leading the pack when it comes to the sharing of visual design content in South Africa.”
Users have full control over their uploads, but everything is monitored by the VISI digital team, which consists of online editor Carine Visagie and online journalist Remy Raitt. “The digital team is also chiefly responsible for marketing Covet via our other digital channels, e.g. our Facebook fan page, our Twitter stream and our electronic newsletter,” Myburgh Chemaly said.
If the designs loaded are stunning, will these ‘unknown’ designers have a chance of making it to the print magazine? “Yes, that’s the plan. We’re hoping to discover beautiful designs and designers to feature in the magazine.”
Myburgh Chemaly said the response to Covet has been “extremely positive so far, with some VISI covetors already coveting up to 500 design items”.
Covetor Jasmin-Lee commented: “Coveting is a sounding board or platform for me, as it gives me a better idea of what people like. It’s also just in my nature to want beautiful creations that I’m sure I’ll never own.”
Apps aren’t cheap, especially when you’re giving it to your community free. As Myburgh Chemaly said: “Developing an app can be an expensive exercise, but we were fortunate in that Media24 and New Media Publishing supported our strategy to keep innovating.”