It’s not a secret that in recent year traditional publishing has been going through a rough patch. However, in a time of systemic crises and digital revolutions, there is someone who, in the midst of all this, saw a “third way” and has since carved out a quite interesting niche for himself: I am talking about Visionaire, a contemporary art and fashion magazine, unique in its kind. Since 1991, Visionaire has released three monographic issues every year, indeed more “object books” than actual magazines, with limited print runs sold at a price that is certainly beyond the larger audience’s reach.
But who are the people who buy Visionaire? An exclusive readership made of art collectors, curators, big spenders of various kinds who love contemporary art. In other words, readers who, having the means to do so, would not deny themselves the pleasure of buying a collector’s piece that can only become more valuable over time. Yet, if Visionaire were nothing but this, it would be an extraordinary niche product, yet confined to the edge of the market. That is why, in 1999, the same publisher created V Magazine, a bimonthly publication still focused on fashion, but more accessible to a larger readership. V Magazine has emerged as another winner, as the undisputed success of its paper and online editions testify.
What does the story of Visionaire tell us? It tells us that a “third way” for the future of publishing might indeed result from a very high quality mix of contents and craftsmanship combined to create an one-of-a-kind product with a worldwide appeal, offered in different formats to reach different readership groups.