Speak UpA Former Division of UnderConsideration
The Archives, August 2002 – April 2009
advertise @ underconsideration
---Click here for full archive list or browse below
Booksourcing: Magazines

This is may be an easy one, as we think we have most of what’s good and great, but as the other posts have proven, your suggestions have been invaluable. So let’s turn our attention to magazines, from all walks of life, and through the ages. Covers, spreads and overall amazingness are all valid for nomination.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Jan.23.2008 BY Armin
neal s’s comment is:

Ray Gun had a profound eye-opening effect on me as a teenager. I feel like it completely changed the game for awhile there.

You've probably already got it on your list, but I've got to mention it just in case.

On Jan.23.2008 at 09:41 AM
Henrik Tandberg’s comment is:

Something by Alexey Brodovitch. Anything really.

On Jan.23.2008 at 09:58 AM
Prescott Perez-Fox’s comment is:

NY Times Magazine — I love the interior spreads and use of typography as graphic elements.

On Jan.23.2008 at 10:12 AM
Inaudible Nonsense’s comment is:

Any of the Fortune spreads and covers from the 1930s and 1940s. Fast Company and Business 2.0 (RIP) owe everything to this explosive design.

Seed is absolutely gorgeous. I subscribed to it, just to see the pages.

Paper (especially in the 1990s heyday) was stunning in the way that it each issue was an almost entirely new identity.

Might was fantastic as well. As a magazine and as establishing a visual identity that is very much still in play. It's not widely credited, but it should be.

On Jan.23.2008 at 10:23 AM
Bacchus’s comment is:

Though it's a journal and quarterly Cabinet is a pretty incredible read, from a design and an intellectual point of view.


On Jan.23.2008 at 10:27 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Inaudible, thanks for pointing out the Fortune covers. I had not seen those before. Here is a very nice gallery:


The stuff from the 50s ain't bad either.

On Jan.23.2008 at 11:56 AM
Scott Gericke’s comment is:

When I first started grad school in, ehum, 1986, we all rushed to sign up for a subscription to Octavo a "a typographic magazine of intense seriousness and overt graphic sophistication" produced by a design team in London. I think there were only eight issues published up until 1992. I've been frantically searching my basement for my copies, which I fear went out with all my cassette tapes and bean bag chairs.

I did find one link which show some covers and spreads:


Good luck. I'll look forward to seeing what I'm sure will be an amazing compilation all around.

On Jan.23.2008 at 01:05 PM
magdesigner’s comment is:

been doin' a ton of magazine redesigns lately after 10 years as a magazine art director and here are a few faves.

can't beat metropoli for covers, but you already know that.

hit the library for some copies of Discover from about 5 or so years ago when rockwell harwood was on the masthead.

architect magazine strikes a great balance between style and business.

i second the praise for seed and don't forget dwell, esquire, readymade and blueprint.

espn is phenomenal for having such varied type while always maintaining a consistent vibe.

there's always the Society of Publication Designers' annual. that's a treasure trove.

i'm sure i'll think of more later. . .

On Jan.23.2008 at 01:18 PM
Chad K’s comment is:

Here is a good short write up about magazines that made an impact:

By Roger Black

Esquire uses interesting, dimensional details:

Another Esquire example:
Full Page Design

On Jan.23.2008 at 01:38 PM
Doug Bartow’s comment is:

Beach Culture.


On Jan.23.2008 at 01:51 PM
f’s comment is:

my vote goes to seed and good.

On Jan.23.2008 at 02:41 PM
kate’s comment is:

I agree
Adbusters also comes to mind.

On Jan.23.2008 at 02:52 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Re: Good

Is anyone else bothered by the oddly generous open tracking in the front section? It really irks me.

On Jan.23.2008 at 02:53 PM
Thierry Blancpain’s comment is:

Brand Eins is a economy magazine from germany that has lead way for a return of classic layouts in magazine design (serif fonts, sometimes middle axis, etc.) at least in german speaking countries.
check out the swiss Weltwoche, not for its content (i dislike it alot) but their photo-selection is pretty good most of the time.
another worthwhile design ist Das Magazin from switzerland, the weekly magazine of the Tagesanzeiger from zurich.

On Jan.23.2008 at 03:39 PM
Loyd Boldman’s comment is:

The Face and Arena were bad mofos in their Neville Brody days.

On Jan.23.2008 at 04:46 PM
Mike’s comment is:

I've always loved the concept behind Re magazine. Also the way they experiment with the publications format and paper stock. The last issue I bought, although pretty average in size, was all one color on yellow stock.

On Jan.23.2008 at 04:50 PM
pnk’s comment is:

There have been several really good periods (Brodovich, Wolf, to name just the most famous of their visionary art directors) in the history of Harper's Bazaar magazine, too.

On Jan.23.2008 at 06:24 PM
Adam Okrasinski’s comment is:

Wired magazine has recently published some impressive feature spreads, as well as fantastic illustrations. Lets not forget those beautiful new typefaces as well...

ANP Quarterly is, I think, another really well designed periodical that some of you may not have heard of. http://www.rvcaanp.com/

On Jan.23.2008 at 09:11 PM
David Muro II’s comment is:

» Colors Magazine

» Raygun

» Rolling Stone during the Fred Woodward years

» Wired

On Jan.23.2008 at 09:12 PM
Héctor Muñoz’s comment is:

i-D magazine


On Jan.23.2008 at 11:56 PM
Sam’s comment is:

The magazine 'self service' by the studio 'Work In Progress' should get a mention.

Exceptionally strong typography.

You can look at samples in their blog here.


On Jan.24.2008 at 12:51 AM
kim’s comment is:

I'm sorry but could you fix the opening sentence of this post?

This is may be an easy one…

On Jan.24.2008 at 09:24 AM
Su’s comment is:

Fine Print

Wired, the early years

Mondo 2000, as much as I personally hated it

On Jan.24.2008 at 11:48 AM
Mr. McGinnis’s comment is:

Read Print Fetish!

On Jan.24.2008 at 12:56 PM
Tselentis’s comment is:

One magazine that I really adored in the 1990s was Speak. Speak Up died, but then I discovered Speak Up thinking it was related to the magazine, got disappointed that it wasn't, but then fell in love with it, and here I am—still. The Speak articles were amazing, thoughtful, provoking, and insightful. And Martin Venezky's design was outstanding. It's amazing to track how the masthead evolved over time (or devolved, and then was forced to evolve because of regulations from the US Postal service and magazine publishers [something about the masthead needing to be visible and readable, or whatever]). The magazine had some beautiful spreads too, and I'm honored to boast that I have every issue.

On Jan.24.2008 at 05:07 PM
Tselentis’s comment is:

Sorry about above, I did not mean Speak Up died, I meant Speak magazine died... my misteak.

On Jan.24.2008 at 05:10 PM
m. kingsley’s comment is:

How soon they forget: Dangling Listicles.

Armin, you may be a neglectful bastard, but I still love you.


On Jan.24.2008 at 06:16 PM
Derrick Schultz’s comment is:

Design Quarterly (the Walker Art center magazine)
Mademoiselle had a few fantastic years in the late 40's early 50's
Arts and Architecture which had so many great designers working on it its pretty much impossible to choose one cover that stands out s the best.

I'd love to hear some more international options...Idea (the japanese version) comes to mind. But I realize many of these are super design-centric.

On Jan.25.2008 at 02:03 AM
Derrick Schultz’s comment is:

To answer my own question...

Roman Cieslewicz work for Tyija
Ambit (see Eye 65)

Also, I think Vogue needs to be seconded—probably the longest running magazine with (somewhat) continued good design. I love their early issues with the often almost deranged mastheads.

On Jan.25.2008 at 02:11 AM
Jenna’s comment is:

Dumbo Feather

A gorgeous Australian magazine (they actually call it a 'mook’, half mag/half book) designed by Saatchi & Saatchi. The design is as inspiring as the content and it's square!


On Jan.25.2008 at 02:14 AM
susan’s comment is:

Spy was excellent and the early large format Interview covers were striking.

On Jan.25.2008 at 10:09 AM
agrayspace’s comment is:

Colors changed my life. Most of them can be considered works of art. At least until the year 2000.

On Jan.25.2008 at 12:55 PM
Lauren Kitts’s comment is:

I enjoy Ninth Letter (although I believe it's technically a journal).

On Jan.25.2008 at 01:56 PM
Lauren Kitts’s comment is:

...or rather, Ninth Letter

On Jan.25.2008 at 01:59 PM
ben king’s comment is:

I don't think I've seen it said here yet, but New York Magazine (Luke Hayman's redesign). It's one of my favorite things to "read" every week. Also, Fabien Baron's redesign of French Vogue is vastly superior to American Vogue.

On Jan.25.2008 at 02:40 PM
Joe Moran’s comment is:

Esquire, yes. And all the others are good, too.

Some not mentioned:

Playboy! (For the articles and layouts, um, cough… um, meant graphic layouts… double cough, hack, hack, choke… oh never mind -- it changed the world!)
Readers' Digest
Popular Mechanics
Saturday Evening Post
Heavy Metal
National Lampoon
National Geographic
The New Yorker

ummmm, (thinking here…)

and, drum roll…


More to follow -- maybe.


On Jan.26.2008 at 12:36 AM
Randy J. Hunt’s comment is:

I wouldn't elevate these to the status of some Fortune covers or the early issues of Art & Architecture, but I think the fashion/culture mags like Flaunt, NYLON and Tokion play a fair role in taking the visual language seen in esoteric, design-centric work and adapt it to aesthetics that spreads through pop culture.

On Jan.26.2008 at 09:06 AM
Thierry Blancpain’s comment is:


On Jan.26.2008 at 11:39 AM
Andrew’s comment is:

Numero - [fashion / France] - simple, elegant design and layout that is rare to see. Strong over-all editorial direction that carries through the photo eds and writing. 2004 - 2005 maybe their best period.

Vogue Paris - [fashion / France] - of special interest is the late 1970s - early 1980s when they ran special editions designed by artists, such as the famous Miro edition. In this period the striking and memorable images of photographers such as Helmet Newton and Guy Bourdin were featured. This was A-R-T and elite.

Domus - [architecture / interiors / Italy] - already mentioned. Take note of how different editors have left their stamp in the history of the magazine. After 30 years of reading this (I started young!) I've yet to see a badly designed page or ad for that matter.

IdN - [design / Asia-Pacific] - remains a highly unusual publication for it's graphic density / layering / patterning / choice of papers / finishes etc. A mag that I actually don't like (too busy for me) but admire greatly.

Black + White - [photography / Australia] - a boutique showcase of art nude and porno chic with high production standards. Had equal appeal for men and women. Went under in 2007 - seems like No.88 was the last issue ...

Trip - [alt lifestyle / Brazil] - best period was the mid/late 1990s when it still had edge and a slightly ad hoc feel to it. Surf & street culture, music, politics, fashion, sex, travel all seen from the perspective of enterprising, hip Paulista journalists (i.e. from Sao Paulo). Trip also "discovered" an usually high number of models and celebs.

Revista Palavra - [ culture & arts / Brazil] - great design - simple, colourful and gregarious - matched with a good variety of well-written articles on cultural projects and events that would have otherwise slipped under the radar. Sadly closed around 2001, I think.

Caros Amigos - [ politics, society and culture / Brazil] - a heavy weight intellectual publication of the highest quality featuring long and often provocative interviews with politicians, writers, academics etc. The design and layout adds an appealingly hip edge to this largely text-based mag.

The Wire - [jazz and new music / UK] - there are a number of editorial and design phases to The Wire. One of my fave eras was from mid 1980s - early 1990s. Photographer/designer Andrew Pothecary's portraits of musicians were especially good. Photographer Val Wilmer's work also got renewed attention.

On Jan.27.2008 at 12:21 PM
Ahrum Hong’s comment is:

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Nest yet.

I'd also add Martin Venezky's Speak magazines.

On Jan.29.2008 at 08:45 PM