Innovation in Print: Introducing the Machine-Washable, Ink-on-Paper, Highlights Hello Magazine

August 6, 2012

Imagine that… a printed magazine that you can throw in the washing machine, together with all your clothes, and still be able to read and enjoy it when it comes out of the dryer. That’s what the folks who brought us Highlights For Children magazine almost 67 years ago are about to introduce to the marketplace this coming January. Highlights Hello, the new ink on paper monthly magazine, with crystal clear display, is the latest addition to the family of Highlights magazines that include Highlights, Highlights High Five and now Highlights Hello. All three monthlies are 100% circulation driven and advertising free (I guess they do believe in the concept of customers who count rather than counting customers). The three magazines aim to cover the different stages of a child’s life starting from age 0 to age 11.

Highlights Hello is “printed with non-toxic ink containing soy and/or vegetable oils, on durable, washable, paper with rounded corners.” The magazine even survived the test of being put in a washing machine according to Chris Cully, the magazine’s editor in chief. Highlights Hello dubbed “the first Highlights magazine” is dedicated to “parents embarking on the journey to help their children become their best selves.”

I asked Chris why now and why ink on paper. Her answer,

“The research is clear about the benefits of reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The cuddling, talking, laughing, and singing are all part of the experience. A magazine like Hello makes it easier for parents to create these experiences often.

Also HELLO is lightweight and portable. It fits easily into mom’s purse or diaper bag. It fits toddler hands perfectly. It can be wiped clean–and it can withstand a little chewing. It is hard to imagine a digital product that could be so perfectly tailored to the needs of this audience.

And for those of us who believe children’s books and magazines on paper are going to be around a long time, this creates a great first experience and early memories.”

The 16-page-monthly is intended to be read aloud and in an engaging way (it even comes with the handy instructions to the parents in the corner of every new section) so that the content of the magazine becomes much more like an experience rather than just ink on paper content. The magazine targets babies 0 to 2 years old, their parents and caregivers.

In this digital age, there is still a place for lots and lots of good ink on paper ideas. As I have often mentioned on this blog, the so-called problem with print is not the ink on paper, but rather the message it carries. There is no need to shoot the messenger just because some messages or even a lot of messages stink!

By the way, please don’t try the washing machine test on your iPad, Kindle, or any other digital device. I can guarantee the results and I can guarantee that you will not be happy with them.

Be an experience maker and not just a content provider… Join us for the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 3 Experience Oct. 23 – 25. Find out more here about the event themed Never Underestimate the Power of Print in a Digital Age.


  1. I was fortunate enough to work for the Boyd’s Mills Press division of Highlights for the better part of even years. During that time they successfully launched High Five thanks to the brilliance of Chris and her staff. I have no doubt that this new magazine will fill a vital role for es parents and children alike. Oh, and let’s not forget new grandparents.
    Stan Pratt

  2. Our children learned to read at an early age. It was because of our reading to them at an early age! They all loved being read the Highlights magazine and this is even better to catch them at an even earlier age.

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