All posts filed under: Magazines

A review of Real Review, The California Sunday Magazine and IL

Notebook: 5 September 2016 | MAGAZINES Last Wednesday I had a meeting in Spitalfields. With an hour to fill before catching my train back to Norfolk I decided to pay a flying visit to the brilliant MagCulture shop on St John Street in Clerkenwell to stock up with some new magazines. I took the tube to Farringdon and bustled my way through the back streets of Little Italy. I’d forgotten how hilly this small corner of London is (Saffron Hill, Herbal Hill…) and with a heavy bag and stifling late August heat, I paused outside St Peter’s Italian Church on Clerkenwell Road to catch my breath and study the map. I cut down Bowling Green Lane and was soon at the shop. My last visit had been 4 months ago (more on that here) and this time around the shelves were stocked with even more goodies – not just the rows and rows of luscious independent magazines but also some great looking foreign newspaper supplements which I don’t think are available anywhere else in the UK and which I snaffled up. The first of these was a couple of …

Monocle 24 on magazine (and book) cover design

Notebook: 3 September 2016 | MAGAZINES | BOOK DESIGN Monocle 24 is a live, 24-hour radio show broadcast from Marylebone, London and part of the Monocle media brand. In late August 2016 they broadcast an excellent 30 minute show entitled ‘How do you design a front cover?’ featuring presenter Robert Bound, Monocle‘s creative director Richard Spencer Powell and design journalist Adrian Shaughnessy. They discussed the art of making an eye-catching front cover – both for magazines and books, and they covered off topics such as: print v digital, cover imagery, use of colour, cover lines, an element of ‘surprise’, knowing your audience and originality. It’s a fascinating 30 minutes and you can listen to it here. The Monocle brand includes Monocle (the monthly global affairs and lifestyle magazine), a website, Monocle 24 (radio station), The Escapist (Travel mag) and The Forecast (annual magazine previewing the year ahead) as well as a couple of cafés in London and Tokyo. You can read my review of last year’s The Escapist magazine here.

Spoilt for choice – London’s listings mags in the early 1980s

Notebook: 12 May 2016 | MAGAZINES Just had a sort out in the studio and I’ve come across some old copies of the long defunct London listing’s magazines City Limits and, the much shorter lived, Event. The history behind them goes something like this… For a few crazy weeks in 1981, Londoners and visitors to the capital, had the pick of three different weekly listings mags that all vied for their attention with striking cover designs. There was Time Out of course, which had been going since 1968 and is still going strong today. The design was by the brilliant Pearce Marchbank who in 1971 established the classic identity – easy-to-read listings using the Franklin Gothic font family, and witty ‘ideas’ covers that ‘became an essential part of London life‘. Up until 1981 Time Out had been run as a co-operative by its founder and owner Tony Elliot but his decision to abandon the co-operative principles sparked a strike by journalists and the magazine temporarily ceased publication. The striking journalists went on to set up their own London listings magazine …

Here, there and ELSEWHERE

Notebook: 24 April 2016 | MAGAZINES Last week I had a business meeting at The Royal Academy on Piccadilly. Afterwards I had some time to kill and so I decided to walk from Piccadilly back to Liverpool Street before catching my train home to Norfolk. I would go via the MagCulture shop in Clerkenwell and pick up some new indie magazines. I love to walk, especially in a city because you get to see, hear and smell things that you’d miss in a car or on the underground. Often your knowledge and mental mapping of a city is based on areas that you know well – such as your home and place of work plus the thin transport route that connects the two – but you never really get to know the areas in between unless you venture out on foot to explore. I headed down (up?) Piccadilly towards the Circus. In front of me a smartly groomed business woman was striding out and puffing on a cheroot and for a moment I enjoyed the whiff of the tobacco. …

Les Mason and the Epicurean covers

Notebook: 24 March 2016 | MAGAZINES | DESIGN HEROES Years ago on a trip to Australia, I was strolling through a flea market and came across an odd looking magazine called The Epicurean. The cover was a surreal photo of bottles of wine, a pineapple, a chair and a glass of wine balanced on the soles of someone’s feet, all of which were half buried in sand on a beach… weird but brilliant. I brought the magazine home, stuffed it in a box and forgot about it. It wasn’t until 25 years later that I dug it out again. I was reading the latest copy of Eye magazine and they had a whole feature devoted to The Epicurean mag and its wonderful covers – which were even more surreal than the issue I’d bought. I discovered that the creative genius responsible for these wacky covers was an American called Les Mason who had moved to Sydney in 1961. He became one of Australia’s most prominent graphic designers in the 60s and 70s and it was his work for The Epicurean – Australia’s first food …

Nest

Notebook: 24 February 2016 | MAGAZINES I’ve just discovered three old copies of Nest magazine in the shed. I must have stuffed them in there ten years ago or more. Nest was a crazy and wonderful US quarterly interiors magazine than was published between 1997 and 2004. It featured a collection of unusual and left-field homes, environments and interiors including, for instance, an igloo, an Edwardian style Italian garret, a weird ‘telescopic’ summer house, a desert shelter and a woman’s prison cell – which all appeared in issue 2 and are shown below. The design was almost ‘anti-design‘ with ornamental borders, a jarring palette of colours and a curious mix of both ugly and beautiful fonts. The paper was gloss but with odd pages bound in and printed on unusual stocks such as tracing paper or plastic film. What was most unusual was that each issue of Nest was trimmed to a different shape with rounded corners, wavy edges or parts of the edges nibbled away. The finished result was a rich feast of design and a publishing triumph. You can see more nest …

A love for portrait photography

Notebook: 18 February 2016: PHOTOGRAPHY I’m a big fan of strong editorial portrait photography and a lovely little book called Read this if you want to take great photographs of people recently caught my eye. If you are a budding portrait photographer or are just interested in, and like looking at portraits of people, then this book is one to look out for. It’s written by Henry Carroll and was published last year by Laurence King and it’s full of loads of good tips and images. Here’s one of my favourite pictures from the book – Arnold Newman’s well known portrait of the composer Igor Stravinsky which Newman cropped to add to its impact. Igor Stravinsky by Arnold Newman, 1946. Cropped and uncropped versions During my time as art director at the publisher and content marketing agency Archant Dialogue, we produced a magazine for Olympus cameras. Each issue of the magazine would carry a photo competition which myself and my colleagues would judge. We’d spread all the pictures out on a large table and then slowly whittle them …

The Canary

Notebook: 17 February 2016 | MAGAZINES I’ve recently completed work on the design and layout of The Canary magazine for Norwich City Football Club. I was commissioned by local East Anglian publisher Today Magazines (who are publishing the magazine on behalf of NCFC) to redesign the magazine and design the layouts for the next three issues. Here are some of the pages from the Feb/March 2016 issue. There’s lots of yellow and green!  

4 kilos of indie mags

Notebook: 15 Feb 2016 | MAGAZINES Last month I visited the fabulous magCulture shop in Clerkenwell, London. They stock over 250 different independent magazines. Knowing that it would be a while before I was down that way again, I stuffed my rucksack full of as many goodies as I could carry and I came away with 4 kilos of delicious and sweet smelling indie mags. This weekend I finally got round to looking at them. Here’s what caught my eye: ELEPHANT is a big, chunky, quarterly magazine all about art and culture. It’s published out of Amsterdam and has been going since 2009. The original design was by Matt Willey (Avaunt, The Independent, Port) but in 2014 it was redesigned by Atlas Studio with a brief to make it look ‘less like a design magazine‘. Either way, it’s still a pleasure to handle with its sharp and tightly engineered design. Like many of the indie mags, it makes use of a mixture of different paper stocks to define different parts of the mag – it has two clusters, …

The Architects’ Journal

Notebook: 9 February 2016 | MAGAZINES | TYPOGRAPHY | PHOTOGRAPHY If you rummage around on the lower shelves at WHSmith you’ll come across a selection of industry and trade magazines such as The Grocer, Print Week and Campaign. Many of the sharper looking trade magazines are produced by the publisher EMAP – think of Drapers, Retail Week, Construction News, Nursing Times and of course AJ or The Architects’ Journal. AJ has a long history of clean, crisp, good looking design with its refined, understated layouts that let the pictures and architectural drawings do the talking. Years ago I applied for a job at AJ as the assistant art editor – I’ve always had a keen interest in architecture and I was excited by the chance of working on such a good looking publication – but alas I didn’t get the job. I remember being interviewed by the art editor Paul Harpin who later moved on to become group art director at Centaur and then creative director at Haymarket. Paul’s predecessor at AJ was Simon Esterson, so between the …