If you haven’t heard, Esquire magazine is turning 75 this year and is celebrating with a big bang. Its October issue will be the first magazine ever to use electronic paper in a mass-produced print product.
E Ink Corporation, the leading supplier of electronic paper display (EPD) technology, partnered with Ford to promote the Ford Flex Crossover using EPD technology. The Ford Flex will be advertised on the inside cover of Esquire using EPD and the front cover of the magazine will contain words and images that scroll across the flexible EPD.
That’s right – the cover will have moving words. And images. On the cover of a magazine.
We’ve gone from Gutenberg’s printing press to color printing to printing that moves. Impressive.
According to E Ink’s Web site, EPD is a technology enabled by electronic ink – ink that carries a charge enabling it to be updated through electronics. “Electronic ink is a reflective technology which requires no front or backlight, is viewable under a wide range of lighting conditions, including direct sunlight, and requires no power to maintain an image.” E Ink makes electronic ink that is made into a film, which is used an as an optical component to make EPDs.
Last summer, Esquire’s parent company, Hearst, contracted E Ink to make a version of its EPD that could be used in a magazine. EPD is the technology that allows for electronic books a la Amazon’s Kindle and other eBooks and eNewspapers. Throughout 2008, E Ink and Hearst have worked together to overcome the manufacturing challenges this project presented.
Ford was made aware of the 75th Anniversary Edition of Esquire in 2007, and immediately wanted to link the launch of the new Flex Crossover with Esquire’s anniversary plan. The Ford Flex is as much of a breakthrough as the magazine cover, which is why Ford wanted to partner with Esquire, according to Jim Farley, Ford’s Group Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He also said that the opportunity fits Ford’s brand perfectly because Ford has a history of bringing new technology to market first.
The cover is the epitome of the 75th anniversary’s issue. The anniversary issue is devoted to “exploring the ideas, people and issues that will be the foundation of the 21st century” David Granger, editor-in-chief of Esquire stated in a press release.
The October issue will be the high point of Esquire’s anniversary year. In the months leading up to the October issue, Esquire has re-created classic cover images and has used page 75 of each issue to look at an important aspect of Esquire’s past. The issue’s centerpiece will be a list of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century.