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ProDesign on the outer as new magazine looks at the inner

It’s been a staple of the design industry for just shy of 20 years, but spatial, product and graphic design magazine ProDesign is set to permanently close its pages with AGM Publishing announcing the upcoming May issue will be its last. 

Launching in 1992, ProDesign was the result of a leap of faith by AGM owner at the time, Robin Beckett who, together with the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ), saw a need for a graphics and product design journal for the industry. 

“It’s very sad,” says DINZ chief executive Cathy Veninga. “It’s been our community magazine and our professional journal. It’s another thread that keeps the community connected.” 

But while the news signals the end of ProDesign as we know it, it’s not then end of the road for editor Michael Barrett, who has been sitting at the helm of the magazine for the past three years and last year took out the Editor of the Year in the Trade/Professional category at the MPA Awards.

Barrett will go on to edit a new magazine published by AGM that will hone in on the commercial interior design sector. Published four times a year in a larger format, it will be designed by the man who recently redesigned Urbis magazine, AGM’s creative director Matthew Straker. 

AGM says the focus will be on interior architecture and design projects across office and workplace, retail, hospitality, education, public and other interior commercial environments, mixed with news, opinions, profiles and interviews. The magazine is due to launch in September this year. 

“As time has gone on, the interior sector has more than enough material to warrant its own magazine, but it’s sad that the graphics side had to go,” says Barrett. 

Barrett is optimistic about his new adventure, but not surprisingly has mixed feelings about the closure. 

“There is a long heritage with ProDesign so it’s sad to see it come to an end.” 

He says the market has been tough and the decision was made to focus on the sector with revenue, something AGM Publsiher Parul Sheopuri also alludes to. 

“AGM is looking forward to better meeting the needs of those readers and advertisers associated with the commercial interior design sector. It’s an exciting time to be launching a new magazine for a sector that is primed for growth,” says Sheopuri. 

And while AGM remains positive about its new venture, that optimism isn’t lost on Veninga, who says DINZ too is prospecting new options. According to Veninga, DINZ is currently exploring opportunities with other publishing companies to fill the gap left by ProDesign’s closure.

In spite of the popularity of online mediums, she says print, particularly for design, holds its own as a permanent expression that records history.

“It’s important to have print. Print is a beautiful thing,” she says. 

“It’s lovely to look back at our old ProDesign editions and see the viewpoint from back then.”