W Magazine’s Katy Perry Cover Brings Augmented Reality Into Print

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For its September issue, W Magazine created an AR app that readers can use to watch pages come to life

Print magazines have to come up with new ideas to stay ahead of online articles. Fashion publication W Magazine is shaking things up with an augmented reality cover for its September issue. Readers must download an app called Beyond the Page in order to see the altered image. The magazine partnered with visual effects studio The Mill to make the AR pages possible.

W placed AR points throughout the magazine, though the most immersive one is the front cover featuring pop star Katy Perry. When readers hover a smartphone over the cover with the Beyond the Page app, Perry’s outline transforms into a 3D model. From here, readers can click on her lips or forehead to activate a hidden short film in which Perry talks about the concept of “rebellion” as she walks the streets of Paris.

The editors at W Magazine wanted the augmented reality points to stand out, but not to feel as though they were slapped on merely to try and feel relevant to readers. Editor-in-Chief Stefano Tonchi told Engadget, “We want to make it clear that technology for us is not just an add-on to make the magazine more exciting. It’s a key part of how readers experience this collectible, luxurious object, in a way that’s highly tactile that builds on what we’ve produced in print.”

Other magazines have implemented similar pieces of technology onto their print issues, including The New Yorker and Esquire. W has made Beyond the Page available for iOS and Android phones. Future issues will also make use of this app, allowing readers to explore and find other AR content throughout the magazine.

W Magazine