Media Magazine

Today is TheMarioBlog Post #1,000—and a New Digital Book is Born

Posted on the 20 April 2012 by Themarioblog @garciainteract

TAKEAWAY: 1,000 blog posts later, we celebrate with the announcement of our new digital book iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet

blog post image

Thanks to the very talented Massimo Gentile, design director, Il Secolo XIX, for creating this attractive and colorful 1,000 blog post celebration logo


blog post image

Cover of the new digital book, by Joe Zeff Design with art director Ed Gabel


Video walkthrough of the iPad prototype of iPad Design Lab

Announcing iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Times of the Tablet

What a better way to celebrate the 1,000th post of TheMarioBlog than by introducing my new digital book, iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet.

We hope to have the book completed and ready for download via the iBooks Store this Summer 2012.  The book concept was inspired by my occasional blog series,The iPad Lab, which I started as soon as the first iPad made its debut in 2010.  I felt that since we were all discovering the new platform at the same time, it would be great for me to share my learning adventures with you blog readers.

Eventually those at HOW, which is the publisher of the book, encouraged me to take those blog segments a little further, into a book.

A book?,” I remember myself thinking.

But I was quickly convinced.  Then my immediate thought was how we would translate interactivity to the print edition of the book.

An idea quickly surfaced in our discussion: that there would be no print edition of the book.

I did not initially take well to this proposal.  As someone who has written 12 other traditional print titles, I know the attachment we all create to our books.  They sit on the bookshelf, ready for the taking.  I know that I revisit many books on my bookshelf from time to time, and they always bring back memories, to the point that I can recall when I first read the book, and even where.  It helps that for every book on the many bookshelves in my house, I always write my name, the year and the place where I was reading the book.

I guess I will not be able to do any of that with this book. But focusing only on the digital edition has put the unique interactive elements at the front of my mind, where they belong for a book about that highly interactive platform, the iPad.

Some highlights of the new book

blog post image

A table at the Poynter Institute’s Library displays copies of my earlier, printed books; right, cover of the new digital book

HOW Design,; the project leader at HOW for the book is Megan Patrick, with whom I work closely.  Here is what Megan had to say:

HOW is very excited about the impending release of the our inaugural “digital first” ebook project “iPad Design Lab” by Dr. Mario Garcia. Garcia is one of the most respected publication designers in the world and he’s moved his expertise seemlessly into the digital realm. In this book, he’s sharing everything he’s learned about how to design publications for tablet devices, which holds the key to the continued existence of many print publications that are struggling right now. “iPad Design Lab” is destined to become the go-to resource for all publication designers needing to shift their work into the digital space.

Editor/Art Director:
Reed Reibstein, a Garcia Media art director/project manager, is in charge of editing and designing the book. He is using iBooks Author.

The Cover:
We are extremely proud of the cover concept, created by Joe Zeff and art director, Ed Gabel.  They have managed to capture the spirit of the book, with storytelling as protagonist, and the fact that it is all about the story, not necessarily the platform.

The process:

Writing my first digital book has been a learning experience. Using multi sensory devices such as audio, video, and keeping in mind the importance of interactivity, have all been new components for me as an author.

At the same time, every time I look at a completed chapter on my iPad, I feel jealous of today’s students who can have access to such strategies in their school textbooks.  All of it will make learning more fun, more thorough, and more inviting.

The book covers everything from storytelling techniques on the tablet, to effective navigation, grids, typography, color palettes, the importance of advertising and the economics of the tablet.

A highlight of the book will be the many “guest” appearances via mini-interviews, audio and video from a variety of experts in the industry worldwide who are doing terrific things with tablet creation and design.

I have been very fortunate to have the contributions of fellow editors and designers who offer different voices and opinions.

The tablet is a new device and nobody can claim to have the ultimate expertise.  It is because of this that, from the onset of this project, I decided we would invite various experts to share their experiences.  Their contributions have proven extremely valuable to the book.

The book update:

Right now we are in the thick of the editing and designing of the book, contemplating completion in the next four weeks and aiming for a Summer 2012 launch.

Be on the lookout for other announcements in the blog here.


Seems like only yesterday

It is almost three years since that first blog post. I remember that I was “pushed” into writing a daily blog by my friend and colleague, Ron Reason. We were sitting at the Lagos, Nigeria, airport, after a week of workshops for the Next newspaper team.

It had been intense and many ideas had been exchanged, not to mention many servings of goat soup and other Nigerian delicacies.

You really need to write a blog, Mario,” Ron said very emphatically. “A lot of the things you have talked about here this week are interesting enough that you should have a larger audience than the group in the workshop.

I decided to give it a try, especially after Ron and I said goodbye and he said:

Just do it, Mario, you are always telling stories, so why not share them with others.

Everytime I remind Ron that he is the culprit here, he tells me: “Yes, I have created a monster.

Here is what Ron has to say this time around:

I recall you being NOT enthused at all about the idea of blogging. “I am busy enough without going the blog route,“ you said. “Blogging seems like so many people just regurgitating what is already out there, or their own personal dramas. I have no time for that.“ Well, true, many blogs were (and are) just blather, and are gathering cobwebs on the interwebs somewhere. But the good ones rise to the top (like the spices on a delicious goat soup) and yours quickly did. I got a kick out of how you cautiously dipped your toes in the water, wrote your first few blog pieces OFF LINE ONLY and sent to a few of us for review, and before we knew it you were off and running, updating long, informative and entertaining posts twice a day. I think I created not only a monster, but an addiction - a good one!



On the occasion of the 100th blog post I wrote:

One wish for the next 100 postings

If I had a wish, it would be that YOU leave your comments here. Although we sometimes have 15,000 plus people coming to read a blog in a day, few leave comments; many write me emails. I don’t mind the emails, but I would like to see TheMarioBlog become more of a forum for discussions of the things that we all share in this industry. Also, tell me what topics you would like to read more about.

I still have that as a wish! Don’t forget those comments.

On the occasion of the 500th blog, I wrote:

Blogging has become a part of my day, and those who know Mario know that once something gets into my routine, then I usually get down and do it.  Like my daily running, the writing of the blog is therapeutic, but, more importantly, it allows me to learn something new everyday.

That is still the case: still therapeutic to write this blog daily; still a learning experience, and how.

I see my daily blog musings as nothing too deep or philosophical, more like a conversation between neighbors who casually chat across the fence about all and nothing, knowing that they will see each other again tomorrow.

See you then!


Thanks for your messages about the blog!

”I like that every time I come to the blog, I don’t know quite what I’ll find

By coincidence I was just thinking about your 1000th blog post as I flew into Tampa last night.  I was remembering the dinner we shared just as you were starting your blog. You had been posting for less than a month and were quite excited about the challenge and promise of posting daily (or nearly daily) for the foreseeable future.

Since that time I’ve made frequent visits to your blog, as much for the personal tales and insights as for your thoughts on journalism, design, storytelling and the diverse cultures encountered in your travels.  I like that every time I come to the blog, I don’t know quite what I’ll find. Many days, it will be tales of working closely with groups around the world to help shape (or reshape) their publication for a new age, or posts touting the good work of colleagues met during your many collaborations. But, almost as frequently, it will be some rich remembrance of a particular place or moment from the past—complete with colorful characters and thoughtful insights—or an energizing essay about the great potential for new forms of visual journalism.

Keep up the good work and I’ll keep stopping by for the next 1000 posts.

Jim McManus

You give us the nudge we need to think new thoughts

If anyone can write a blog that is rich in detail and vivid in description on a DAILY basis, it’s Mario. Each day you explore a topic that is at the top of mind for the industry and all of us, AND you give us tips and ideas to help move things forward. You give us the nudge we need to think new thoughts and to take risks to challenge conventional thinking. I have enjoyed the details of your numerous redesigns across platforms, especially the new world of iPad development. I also love the blogs about your life and travels, and time with family and friends. We all watch in amazement as you travel the globe, inventing and then sharing the adventures with us. Thanks for the commitment and energy you have put into your blogs Mario. They are your gift to all of us.

Pegie Stark Adam

….Mario’s blog can be worth a thousand ideas.

Last week we learned that one Instagram is worth a billion dollars to Facebook. This week when I was talking with students and faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology I mentioned that Eastman Kodak taught us that one picture is worth a thousand words. To this reader, Mario’s blog can be worth a thousand ideas.  His insights are full of enthusiasm for each news platform, and his energy is invigorating.

J Ford Huffman

I read your blog to stay relevant

Happy milestone! Your writings and thoughts are truly inspirational. I read your blog to stay relevant and to keep well-informed on the latest trends and issues in print and digital media. Keep sharing your wisdom, our dear passionate guru. Looking forward for another 1000!

Adonis Durado, Design Director, Times of Oman and Al Shabiba

My favorite blog posts are those in which you deal with the everyday life occurrences

Mario, as a loyal follower of your blog, I must say thanks for the example of discipline that you exhibit, for your honesty in your writing and for keeping all of us up to date in the advances of our industry.  I particularly, perhaps because I worked as a consultant for so many years, enjoy very much when you share your experiences working with people from different publications and cultures, and, especially,  when you write those case studies of your projects; but, to be honest, my favorite blog posts are those in which you deal with the everyday life occurrences, which so often teach us a lesson about life itself.  Congratulations for these first 1000 blogs.

Miguel Gomez, design director, Gulf News

The writing of the blog: previous posts


TheMarioBlog post #1,000

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog