Newscorp's audacious iPad-only publication, The Daily, features a surprisingly elegant design more reminiscent of print than the screen. Like any magazine The Daily is heavily reliant on excellent typography and layout, and their team has delivered a powerful and satisfyingly journalistic system.
The style is built around a straightforward sans-serif evocative of The Daily News and a more digital slab-serif. The pairing is a microcosm of the general creative direction, which keeps stays generally conservative while feeling out the new medium.
Though the approach is too timid at times, the designers have successfully maintained one of print's best features: Custom layouts. Unlike in traditional digital design, where each article is set in a pre-defined template, the design of each article is customized for the content it presents. The custom designs themselves are well done, integrating interactive features with effective typography and interesting layouts.
It's comforting to see the well-tested tropes of print design translating to digital. Paper itself is doomed to antiquity, but the design theory developed during its reign is effective and just as relevant for other media. Web content has traditionally been restricted to unexciting, homogenous design by technological limitations. But advancements like HTML5 and devices like the iPad are freeing designers to create imaginative, stimulating interactive design rivaling what they could do in print.
The venerable practice of print design is not dying, but being integrated with digital design to form a new discipline. The separation was only necessary while technology developed enough for designers' ideas to be executed as accurately and quickly in interactive media as they are in print. That limitation is disappearing, and The Daily is another milestone.