You probably noticed that Adobe Inspire Magazine is sporting a new look. It's been a long time in the making. We last redesigned the publication in July 2006 (when "Web 2.0" was the buzzword). During that time, Inspire has grown to more than one million subscribers, and over the years it has become Adobe's flagship publication. So we're excited to launch a new look and feel that reflect the magazine's growth.
Over the past 12 months, we have experienced several significant changes. First we changed the name of the publication from Adobe Edge to Adobe Inspire. Then we redesigned and re-architected the Inspire website. We also created a new visual identity for Inspire. Next we began prototyping the iPad edition. And in June we submitted the Inspire app to the Apple App Store for approval. All the while, we continued to produce the magazine the traditional way every two months.
But one thing is the same: the people behind Inspire. We are still a small editorial team composed of two people: Senior Editor Stefan Gruenwedel and me. That means you can count on us to make the articles and videos in Inspire useful, practical, and inspirational for you as web designers and developers.
First things first: Why did we change the name? In 2011, Adobe unveiled a new tool with the code name "Edge." After months of deliberating on an official name for the tool, the product team decided to turn the code name into the official name: Adobe Edge. After more than 10 years of being known as the "Edge newsletter," our publication essentially became nameless. Over the next six weeks, we culled hundreds of potential titles and went through many exercises to choose a new name for the magazine. I kept coming back to the fact that this publication's main mission is to inspire Adobe customers — to inspire you to do more with the products you already own and to inspire you to try new things. "Inspire Magazine" seemed perfect, and the name was available, so we grabbed it.
Along with changing the name, I was hoping we could update the look and feel of the publication. But where would we find the resources? Just like many Adobe customers, we have to compete with internal teams to secure the creative, editorial, and production resources we need. We have to be scrappy and create and find opportunity when it presents itself.
During the past year or so, Adobe has been migrating Adobe.com to a unified application for web content management and digital asset management called Adobe CQ. The current version of CQ uses open-source standards and advanced technologies targeted to serve large enterprises and organizations. In truth, Inspire isn't so large that it warrants an enterprise-level content management system, but we decided to volunteer for the migration and secure the necessary design resources as part of the deal. By hitching our wagon to the migration, we were able to re-architect and redesign Inspire Magazine.
Now that we're using CQ, our publishing process is easier. We're able to manage and syndicate our web content using tags and dynamic components. We're also able to generate the HTML e-mail newsletter automatically, whereas before it was hand-generated (for various e-mail clients).
During the website redesign, we happened to publish a couple articles about Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS). At that time, I was also conducting interviews and producing videos for the DPS team and observing firsthand how our customers are using DPS. In truth, it drove me crazy that we were publishing articles and videos on how to use DPS but weren't using it ourselves for Inspire.
We began to build a case for an iPad edition using DPS. I met with at least 20 teams over the course of six weeks. Everyone thought it made perfect sense to publish an iPad edition of Inspire using DPS, but not everyone had the budget to support the additional design work we would need. Again, we had to be scrappy. We figured maybe we could work with someone at Adobe who is also a designer or digital publishing pro — someone internal who knows the ins and outs of Adobe InDesign and DPS. Enter Colin Fleming, digital publishing evangelist and InDesign guru. Colin took us through every step of the DPS process — from setting up our account to advising us on how to efficiently author content for two resolutions (the third-generation iPad and iPad 2). Colin provided lots of critical advice along the way, and his input was invaluable.
With the budget we scraped together, we started narrowing our search for a vendor that could help us design the iPad edition. We talked to many agencies and content strategists, and we kept coming back to Wrecking Ball Media Group, the company responsible for designing and building the current look of Adobe TV. They created that next-generation, best-in-class global video portal from a requirements document that was at least an inch thick. The agency then went on to localize the site in four languages and still continually updates it and adds new features. So the decision to go with Wrecking Ball was an easy one.
James Begera of Wrecking Ball initially designed the Inspire app using InDesign CS5.5. In the middle of production, InDesign CS6 became available — a complete game changer. InDesign CS6 offered tons of features and functionality that improved the digital publishing workflow and enabled us to target more than one tablet using a single InDesign file (.folio). For example, James and his team were able to accelerate the production process by using the new Adaptive Design Tools, which include Alternate Layout and Liquid Layout functionality.
James used Alternate Layout to repurpose a single InDesign layout for publishing to different devices such as the original iPad, iPad 2, and the new third-generation iPad. (We're planning to roll out Inspire for additional tablets as well, including Android.)
Using the new Liquid Layout rules, James could define how InDesign should intelligently arrange and resize content without requiring manual resizing of each layout. This reduced the amount of time required to publish content to devices and increased the agency's ability to efficiently and rapidly generate Inspire Magazine across multiple devices.
In addition to InDesign CS6, we took advantage of Adobe Edge — ironically enough — to place HTML5 animations and transitions in articles using InDesign. This made it easy to create custom interactivity within the editorial content.
When the Inspire iPad app was ready for internal review, Stefan and I noticed that a few articles required significant text updates. As editors, we knew we needed an efficient workflow that would enable us to update editorial copy without impacting the design — or taxing our designers' time.
That's where Adobe InCopy CS6 came in. InCopy CS6 is a writing and editing solution that integrates with InDesign CS6 to enable a collaborative workflow between design and editorial. With InCopy CS6, we can edit stories directly in the InDesign layout while the designers work on the same layout in InDesign — without overwriting each other's work.
In June, we submitted the Inspire app to the Apple App Store. The June and August editions are currently available for the third-generation iPad, as well as for the original iPad and iPad 2, in portrait and landscape orientations.
In the future we will be targeting the Nook and Kindle tablets and looking for newfangled ways to provide interactive experiences with the tablet edition of Inspire, in addition to providing the traditional text-based and video content you've come to expect from Inspire Magazine.
As you can imagine, the last two months have been busy. Stefan and I have been simultaneously assigning, writing, and editing articles the old way, while racing to learn CQ5, InCopy, and the production and publishing process for the tablet edition. Along the way, we worked with several people at Adobe whose efforts and input were critical in this multistage endeavor:
Whether you're viewing this editor's note on an iPad or on the web, I hope you enjoy the new look and feel of Adobe Inspire Magazine. As always, we look forward to your feedback and suggestions.
Julie Campagna manages Adobe Inspire Magazine. She also contributes feature articles and produces video interviews and profiles for Adobe TV, the Adobe Developer Connection, and the Adobe Design Center. In her free time, Julie likes to produce mini-documentaries about her family.