Bonkers Magazine, a magazine about adventure stories

by PATRICK LAPERA, BONKERS MAGAZINE

September 2016


Editor’s note:

We’ve already published an article about Bonkers magazine a while ago, as we believe it is an inspiring example of a digital magazine. An absolute delight for adventure lovers, born on hut trips, dusty trails and rocky mountain ridges.

In his new article, the magazine’s founder, Patrick Lapera explains how new technology has allowed the creators of the magazine to do things that wouldn't have been possible before content wise and shares the fundamentals of what makes a great publication.


My cellphone can take excellent 4k photos. That’s wonderful because I’m out of shape and my fledgling magazine, Bonkers Magazine, is a magazine about adventure stories. Why haul a heavy (and fragile) camera up a mountain when a GoPro or a small digital camera will do?

My cell phone took this photograph.

Likewise, technology has significantly lowered the barrier to entry to digital publishing. Without a publishing service like Edition Digital, Bonkers Magazine would have been prohibitively expensive. A digital publication is immensely complicated. We’re a small team trying to run ambitious, original stories. Our first full issue, the upcoming Life At Treeline, will be fully interactive and optimized for desktops, tablets, and mobile.

It’s a tall order for a team that knows a lot more about writing, graphic design, and mountain ranges than coding.

A page from the Bonkers Magazine’s upcoming digital issue. A cell phone and laptop were the only two pieces of hardware used to create this.

Publishers no longer have to offer a physical product. You don’t need to print 50,000 copies of a magazine to reach 50,000 people. That happened while I was in grade school and birthed today’s media ecosystem. The next step was removing the coding barrier to publishing, which is great for small teams like mine that want to make digital magazines that feel like magazines.

The first step in the process was digital content creation tools. Digital cameras mean that you don’t have to spend time in a darkroom developing photos. Tools like Indesign and Photoshop mean that you don’t have to spend time hunched over with a ruler making sure design elements are lined up correctly or airbrushing lens flare out of a photo. Content management systems like Wordpress allowed publishers to easily disseminate their message over the internet rather than pay for a print edition.

At the same time something was lost. The self contained issue has had a difficult time transitioning from print to digital. If you wanted to make something that resembled a magazine, not just a series of articles, you were looking at a serious undertaking.

The next step for publishing is streamlining responsive design. Tools like Edition Digital allows me to do things that I would have previously needed a team of coders to do. Creatives can break out of the box imposed by platforms like wordpress without having to write thousands of lines of code.

At the same time ease of entry isn’t an excuse for laziness. If anything it’s an admonition to do more with your content.

The fundamentals of what make a great publication haven’t changed one iota. Without great stories, there can never be a great publication. There’s just a smoother path from idea to finished product.