‘The Modern Magazine’ is the name of both the recent book by magCulture’s Jeremy Leslie, and the one-day conference that took place at Central Saint Martin’s Platform Theatre, London. There’s a great comprehensive overview of the event here on the magCulture blog. I had the pleasure of attending, and found it absolutely lived up to its aspirations to be “a celebration of the best of current editorial creativity”.
As Leslie puts it: “The magazine industry has continually been written off in recent years, yet magazines continue to be published and read. Despite fewer big launches and smaller budgets, magazine makers have risen to the challenging times and we are witnessing one of the most exciting creative eras in editorial thinking and innovation. A golden age of creativity.”
The line up of contemporary magazine makers was indeed impressive, such as Bloomberg Businessweek’s Richard Turley and Monocle’s Tyler Brule, who are redefining magazines for our age (not to mention; Omar Sosa, (Apartamento), Rosa Park, (Cereal), Simon Esterson, (Eye), Justine Picardie, (Harper’s Bazaar), Liz Ann Bennett (Oh Comely), Debbi Evans (Libertine), Penny Martin (The Gentlewoman), Davey Spens, (Boat), Patrick Waterhouse, (Colors), Cathy Olmedillas, (Anorak), Paul Barnes, (Commercial Type), David Jacobs, (29th Street), Scott King, (Sink Vogue). There was also a series of panel discussions, one about independent publishing and one about ‘women’s magazines’. The indie-publishing panel was chaired by all round good-guy Steve Watson from the brilliant STACK, his comprehensive write-up of the day can be found here.
The book is also a huge success. It carries a byline ‘Visual Journalism in the Digital Era’ and across its 240 pages it presents an overview of current editorial design trends, drawing on publications from the past ten years (since the first MagCulture book was released) to show how printed magazines have responded to the new digital channels.
Leslie explains the structure of the book: The book works on three levels. First, it’s a visual record of the graphic trends and visual quirks that have marked the past ten years. Most of its 750 images were photographed as real objects and have been carefully juxtaposed to provide a page-by-page guide to design trends and themes (handwritten text, illustration, lists, infographics etc). A four-chapter structure sits over this, each opening with an essay (Rethinking the Magazine, Reinventing Genres, Design x Content and Print x Digital). And each of these chapters have case studies based on interviews with key creative figures chosen to emphasise the need for a shared vision between content and design in contemporary magazines.
With enthusiastic folk like Jeremy championing the medium of magazines, communities and events springing up (not to mention other great online resources such as Magpile) it does indeed feel like we’re experiencing a new golden age of magazines. A great addition to the conference-calendar, let’s hope it becomes an annual event…
Treat yourself to a copy for the discounted price of £25. 750 illustrations | 240 pages | 280 x 216 mm