9 OF TODAY'S MOST EXCITING AND INSPIRING INDEPENDENT MAGAZINES
For designers, non-designers, readers and non-readers, the beauty of the magazine world at the moment doesn’t just lie in the fact that print isn’t dead, but that it feels more alive than it’s ever been. There’s a vast wealth of stunning independent publications out there that will make you inspired and make you think, so we’ve drawn together a list of our nine favourite ones for you to metaphorically leaf your way through.
The mag’s debut issue boasted a massive pink vibrator on its cover. From that moment, I thought, “What’s not to love?” Turns out the content’s pretty rad too. The publication is created by a group of recent graduates–Kitty Drake, Madeleine Dunnigan, Sadhbh O’Sullivan, Tyro Heath, Scarlet Evans and Bronya Meredith. While it certainly takes a feminist bent, the team ensures it’s not just for girls. The most recent issue takes the theme "Mind," and provides a superb range of features looking at the intricacies of mental health and society’s view of all-things psych-based, from long-form copy to illustrations and photo-essays.
Ordinary Magazine is an arts and photography quarterly that focuses on a different everyday item with each mag. This time it’s the humble cotton bud, and once again we’re mighty impressed with the creative endeavours inspired by such a seemingly mundane little object.
“About men who date men” is the strapline of Hello Mr., but it’s really so much more than that. It provides a smart approach to writing about gay culture and eschews typical queer publication stereotypes through well thought-out features, unusual photo series commissions and a cute mini format. Hello Mr. is helmed by founder Ryan Fitzgibbon, who impressively handles pretty much everything, from commissioning to distribution to sales.
I can’t begin to say how rad the design is for Sabat magazine. The thick paperstock is peppered with transparent inserts and strange little elements, while the back cover features an embossed modified pentagram marque. When laying flat, the pages show an image of a foetus; from the other side, a crescent moon. And that’s just the visual elements. The content too is equally awe inspiring, based around modern day witchcraft and tackling the subject in intelligent, original ways.
Krass Journal is now on its second issue. Co-founded by Sanja Grozdanic, she says the publication is “all about self-realisation.” It’s exquisitely designed – all bold, punchy primary colors and typographically led – created by Simon Pearce from Frame Creative and Kirby Manning. Issue two features words from Noam Chomsky, Audrey Wollen and filmmakers Maya Newell and Charlotte Mars, who explain their documentary Gayby Baby.
A more traditionally “magaziney” magazine than most of the others on this list, TGD hails from New York and was cofounded by Tina and Ryan Essmaker to cover all things based on “those who create.” It’s been around for just over five years now online, moving into print too in 2014, and in both formats the mag shows a commitment to unearthing interesting stories about people who you know about and love, and people who you don’t and soon will.
I love photography journal Collection of Documentaries for a few things: its impressive weight, its refusal to issue an online accompaniment and the incredible new photography talent it manages to unearth. As per its editor Lee Crichton’s aims, it’s as much a book as a magazine. The design is super-minimal, with a cover entirely grey and with only a tiny footnote to indicate what the publication actually is. Images vary from those pilfered from pornography to Fanny Schlichter’s trip and beautiful images to a series that merges ripped-torso selves and snaps of terracotta pots, creating a beguiling portrait of youth culture today.
This little mag is the creation of design agency Human After All and partners including IDEO and D&AD. Edited by James Cartwright and with a plethora of gorgeous illustrations from the likes of WNW Member Jean Jullien and Adrien Johnson, the magazine has the not-small aim of changing the world by examining issues such as culture change and how design and societal changes can help make life better for our aging population.
It’s rude, it’s raunchy, it’s just what you need: a magazine for cinephiles with lots of lush pictures of beautiful boys. We’ve had five issues so far since the publication launched in 2010, and each shows an influence from old queer zine formats that feel a little bit DIY, but still with a grounding in academia and an eye for the sort of films you aren’t likely to see discussed anywhere else.