Magazines, Notebook

Oldies but goodies

Notebook: 28 April | MAGAZINES

The office is a mess. I have too many old magazines and newspapers cluttering up the shelves and I really ought to throw some of them away to make space for all the new stuff. Trouble is, they’re all great mags, despite their age. Here’s five that I’ve just unearthed and dusted down…

ELLE DECOR 1990 (US edition). Art Director: Jean-Marie Hatier

American Elle Decor still looks as stylish as it did 27 years ago – luscious pictures, tight grid, white space, carefully crafted headlines and unusually narrow columns. Delicious! I think the headline and text font are both Baskerville Old Style.

LUFTHANSA BORDBUCH 1995 (Germany) The Lufthansa in-flight customer magazine. Design/layout Alberto Garcia-Izquierdo and Rolf Kuhl

The Lufthansa magazine was cool and pared back with excellent photography and dollops of white space. The same features appeared twice – first in German and then in English, but with different pictures. Headlines and text are set in Helvetica. I believe that the magazine is still in production and that it looks very much like it did 22 years ago.

ECONY 1999 (Germany). Art Director: Mike Meiré

Econy was a short-lived but influential German business magazine that ran from 1998-1999. It had a brutal typographic simplicity that combined Univers with a stark mechanical serif text font (Times New Roman?) and consequently this allowed the pictures to do most of the talking. Art Director Meiré commissioned fashion, music and art photographers for the business portraits and office and factory interiors, and this gave the magazine a real edge. A decade earlier in the 1980s, the UK business magazine Management Today had had a similar approach with its unconventional, in-your-face business portraiture, but Econy’s pictures had a much cooler aesthetic and they set a style that is still evident in many publications today.


Mike Meiré went on to design the beautiful and even cooler brand eins, economics magazine, and in 2007 he redesigned 032c as a deliberately ‘ugly’ looking culture magazine with distorted typography and brash colours and which you can read more about here in Creative Review magazine. (And if you’re into anti-design, you may enjoy my RCA degree show poster that I produced in 1992.)

WIRE 1989. (UK) Design by Paul Elliman and Lucy Ward

Music magazine Wire is still going strong although I’m guilty of not having looked at a copy for a long, long time. The issue I have dates way back to 1989 (pre-mac, I think…) when it was a specialist Jazz music mag. What set it apart from magazines like The Face was its delicate and elegant typography which gave the magazine a literary/journal type feel, together with its use of white space plus of course, lots of very stylish black and white pics of jazz musicians. The fonts were Garamond with odd splashes of Gill Bold. Further reading: Eye mag profile of designer Paul Elliman (1997), and ‘The Elegant and stylish jazz covers of Wire magazine’ by Robert Newman

ANYWAY 2006/7 (Austria). Creative Director: Alexander Geringer

I’ve had this copy of Anyway magazine kicking around for 10 years or so but this is the first time I’ve picked it up and looked at it properly – and the more I look at it, the more I find to like about it. It was/is a stylish travel mag produced in Vienna by Ahead Media who publish other lifestyle magazines and who were evidently the very first publisher of Wallpaper magazine. It doesn’t shout at you – it’s just finely crafted like all the magazines unearthed here, with thoughtful considered typography (elegant serif contrasting with the all caps, dot font used for captions), cool white space and very attractive pictures.

OK. I’m not throwing any of these away. I need to build more shelves.

Photos taken by design student Eve who is on work experience with us. Eve’s favourite of the five mags is Wire for its black and white pics and simple design.  

Coming up in next post: Newies but goodies – my latest purchases from the MagCulture shop