Anyone who has ever been 13 years old, ripping your favorite stories out of a magazine to tape up on your wall, knows how hard it is to see our favorite magazines close. However, in a hyper digital world, a new print outlet has entered the arena: BULLETT. With print criticized left and right for being passe or unable to transition into the world of online content, BULLETT distinguishes itself as the single trans-media company with a print magazine, daily blog, online videos and even more in the pipeline. Designed to seamlessly and fluidly tie its content together from an article to a complementary photo spread to an online video, each aspect of a single BULLETT feature story contains multiple dimensions and mediums.
StyleCaster sat down with BULLETT founder and consultant Erin Ralph, creative director Sah D’Simone and art director James Orlando to discuss BULLETT magazine and give advice to anyone else who dreamt of being in the business of glossies in our seemingly paperless world
SC: As you were molding the idea of BULLETT, who did you envision as the BULLETT reader?
Erin Ralph: The idea of BULLETT is to kind of unite all audiences We transcend demographics. We just want to unite people and inspire people. We have two icons on our cover and that’s what it’s about: uniting people and giving a more intellectual, beautiful and figure of substance to mainstream media. We’re going mainstream but we’re taking it up a notch.
SC: BULLETT is described a a trans-media platform and presents its content across different mediums. Obviously BULLETT is involved in the online space: Facebook, Twitter and an ongoing blog. Given the challenges established print has been encountering, why did you decide to include print as one of your outlets?
Erin Ralph: We just launched digital so its more than just a blog. All the sections we cover in the magazine are online also so it’s even more work than before. And we’re launching BULLETT TV for documentaries and short films. But the print aspect is It’s the product. Especially James, he feels so strongly about paper and paper quality and something that’s tangible and something you can flip through. It’s like a book.
James Orlando: It keeps it grounded too. It keeps the whole idea physical and grounded and adds more of a humanistic touch.
Sah D’Simone: It transcends the energy and the hard work into a tangible piece
James Orlando: It’s a collector’s item. It’s an archive of all our creative projects.
SC: As you were conceiving the idea of BULLETT, what were your criticisms of the market as it was? How do you feel BULLETT is changing the editorial space now?
James Orlando: I’d say in America there wasn’t a product that was really strong and had a specific vision [Other publications] have the digital content but maybe it wouldn’t be as strong as print. They’re just more focused on one aspect or the other, whereas we’re focused on both here.
Erin Ralph: As we launched our campaign for financing, we played heavy on the fact that we were the first true trans-media company, meaning that this was conceptualized to launch as a sphere whereas Conde Nast is adding apps now, adding digital presence. We packaged it and it’s all or nothing.
SC: A lot of publications (both online and off-line) are being criticized for long form content, claiming our society as a whole is too impatient now to finish reading more than 250 words. You have the BULLETT blog which is shorter form but do you think long-form content will have a place online?
James Orlando: I think that if the content is well written and a strong enough voice, people will seek it out and read it if the content is there.
Sah D’Simone: Another huge aspect for us: the good writing has to have good visuals to back it up. If you don’t want to read the article, you go online and watch the video and hear the interview. If you’re not into either of these things, you can just look at the beautiful pictures. All of it tells a story.
SC: Erin, you obviously were quick to pick up and profit from the online transition as an early adopter, so to speak. Now that the market is more saturated, how do you feel budding bloggers can differentiate themselves the way you did?
Erin Ralph: Find your unique eye. There are millions of different unique bits of content out there. Stand out. Everyone has a blog these days, but it’s okay. There’s no competition because art is art. You have a platform, you have a voice online and I feel like you can find yourself in blogs and what you post. I feel that young people are growing up very fast these days because you have people like Lady Gaga telling you to celebrate your individuality and then online with these blogs you have a platform for that. Find yourself through that and through art and pictures, and then you’ll develop your own unique voice and you’ll know what you’re attracted to and don’t be afraid of it.
SC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
James Orlando: Figure out what your taste is. Even through Tumblr or other blogging sites, what you post really shows your own editing process.
Sah D’Simone: Establishing your own aesthetic and standing by it; that is how you gain respect and people will go to you to get that piece of your mind or that aesthetic.
Erin Ralph: Have a plan. Know what it is that you want. What do you want to get our of your blog? Do you want to get readers? Do you want to get a job offer to write? Use the internet to your advantage. You can reach people. You can connect to people. So I would say use your platform and let it spring board you to whatever your dreams are. Just make it really clear and never stop.
Editor’s Note: Since this interview, Erin Ralph announced she was leaving her position as editor in chief of BULLETT to pursue a new endeavor dubbed United Culture, designed as a social media outlet exclusive to artists. Ralph remains a freelance consultant to BULLETT.