‘Wow, this smells great!’ is often one of the first things people say when they open a copy of LOLA. You might think people would comment on the look of the magazine, or the feel of the paper, or even the content, but no, it’s the aroma. We could almost be offended by this, taking into account how much time the team spends working on the material inside! The aim of the magazine is to celebrate the people and stories that make this city so special, paying particular attention to cultural contributors from the fields of music, art, film and more. A lot of talented people are involved in the creation of LOLA, and we all have a shared passion for Berlin. We also have a shared passion for print media, so we’re taking the smell comments as compliments. The reason that LOLA smells so good is that it is printed on uncoated paper stock rather than glossy or matte. The uncoated stock soaks up more of the ink and uses fewer chemicals than glossy paper, so it just smells better.
We know this is a kind of nerdy detail to be into, but it’s just one of the many things we love about print, and why we chose it as our format before we entered into the digital realm. For us, the pleasure of print is a little akin to the pleasure of vinyl. Digital music, like digital editorial, is an amazing resource. It’s wonderful to be able to listen to whatever you want at any given time, just like it is a wonder to be able to search any term and fall down an internet rabbit hole of articles. Yet there is a certain kind of deliberate joy that you can only experience by taking a record off the shelf, admiring the artwork and sleeve, feeling the weight of the record in your hands as you place it on the platter, and hearing the first few crackles as you set the needle down. It’s a conscious and engaged activity, and your interaction with the medium changes your experience of it.
It’s analogous with a printed magazine. There is a different appreciation associated with holding a physical product in your hand versus looking at something on screen. A photograph seems to take on a different quality when it is printed – it has more impact and feels more definitive. Words can also resonate more when you’re reading them on a page, as if they carry a little extra weight. Of course, poor content isn’t going to be made any better by physically printing it, but for good quality content, print just has a special edge.
It goes with saying that we love digital content, and the advantages it presents – the ability to use rich elements like audio and video, the potential to reach a wide audience instantly, the way in which you can tell stories differently. We’re excited about the changes the digital world continues to bring, and we embrace and appreciate the amazing influence that it has on journalism, but for us, the feeling of taking your time to flick through a nice magazine is hard to replicate or beat. Sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the print.