999 Design worked with the International Network of Street Papers to develop the project, which will see customers buying a card from the vendor, which can then be used to download a digital edition of Big Issue in the North.
The vendor earns 50 per cent of the £2 cover price for each digital sale, which is the same as they get for selling a copy of the physical magazine.
Mark Beever, director of innovation at 999 Design, says, ‘The bottom line was to keep the vendor involved – the whole purpose of the Big Issue is to support the vendor.
‘The challenge was to bring something digital into the physical space.’
Once downloaded, the digital version of the Big Issue in the North opens via an app and can be read across all devices.
Beever says, ‘We wanted something that retains the look and feel of the print title, but that is also heavily image-based and readable.’
An example of the Big Issue in the North digital edition can be seen at www.binorthdigital.com using the access code RC8XPFAG/2352.
The digital edition is being trialled in Manchester for at least three months, and the model could roll out across INSP’s network of street magazines, including the Big Issue in London, as well as other magazines across six continents and in 24 languages.