GET LOST IN THE PAGES OF THESE INSPIRING MAGAZINES
It’s time to step away from business/work/your creative side-gig for a few minutes and pick up a magazine instead. Magazines take you outside of your daily reality and keep life interesting in the most beautiful way, so this month I’m sharing my top-three favourites.
It’s no secret I’m a ‘long live print’ kind of person. We’re all so busy scrolling, clicking, checking in, hashtagging, Googling (I could go on…), yet print magically pulls us back into the present moment. There is just something so special about the tactile nature of magazines and getting lost in a whole new world of images, stories and ideas.
But if you’ve decided to read this, I don’t need to sell you on the idea of flicking through a magazine before bed or with a morning coffee—because you already know how grounding a good read is.
These magazines never fail to inspire me (and I’m always reading different titles), and I hope they give you a fresh dose of motivation too!
Fantastic Man and its companion magazine The Gentlewoman launched in 2005 and 2009 respectively. Over a decade later, and their clean, bold design and typography is a style that still feels utterly relevant. The grainy cover stock, mix of coated and uncoated paper within, and slightly oversized presentation all add to the absorbing experience of exploring the magazine. And don’t get me started on the grid structure and mix of bold/almost brutalist sans serif typography with refined serifs.
Design aside, these magazines profile really interesting people. Back in the early days, the writers would hold interviews over a few sessions, because the stories have so much depth! Their philosophy is that magazines are no longer about people, but rather things, so they’re getting back to the classic format of showcasing interesting ideas and discussions (think classic Vanity Fair, but with a contemporary spin).
Everything about these magazines is just so thoughtful, like the idea to feature eight men of different ages on the cover of Fantastic Man’s 27th issue earlier this year, which was themed For Young and Old. If you’re interested in photography, make sure you check out this discussion on why they shot this series using film.
A look inside Fantastic Man’s Issue No 27.
This magazine stands for BRAND. BALANCE., and the idea is that it’s a documentary-style read. Each issue has just one subject, so you get to dive really deep with this magazine. The other interesting thing about B is that it’s completely free of advertising, which means it is independent and not swayed by pressure from sponsors.
The magazine looks at a single brand in each issue—brands that people worship like MUJI, Aesop and Pantone—and even though it reads like a book, it’s actually really light-hearted. The intimacy of each issue doesn’t just come from talking to people inside the brand; it also brings to life how customers come to love it, and teases apart the cultural significance of each brand.
To me, this is how a good business read should be: beautifully designed, conversational and free from jargon and ego. The considered, minimalist design creates a sense of calm that's uncommon for the buzz of the brand and marketing world. Yep, just like all good brands, this magazine talks to you, not at you. Sigh …
Flip through the pages of B’s Muji issue with me.
This magazine comes from Singapore and it’s so well done that it’s a contender for my favourite all-time magazine. The concept is this: to examine everyday objects in new ways.
Like the second issue, which looks at cups, their design and how we drink different beverages. (And if you’re a coffee maniac like me, this magazine will make you realise just how much we take our cups for granted—because a world without cups is a world without coffee!) Selecting something familiar like a cup and looking at it in a different way is an inherent part of my design practice: so much so I wrote about it recently.
The idea and execution are seamlessly aligned. Just like the objects it celebrates, the magazine is pretty unassuming and could easily be overlooked. Everything from content to the physical presentation all work so nicely to express the concept behind the publication.
Sidenote: If you like the sound of this magazine, make sure you also check out the Everything is Alive podcast. Who would have thought a grain of sand could deliver so many thought-provoking insights?
It’s not just cups of coffee! Explore windows, pipes, doors, … .
When I am not reading magazines, I feel so fortunate to bring editorial projects to life in my studio. Layouts, photography, typography—these elements create magic! So tell me, what magazines should I be reading? I’d love to hear all about them. You’ll find me on Instagram most days sharing editorial layouts and publication design, so let’s hang out there.
PS, I believe it’s never too early to start a design education. So these are my favourite finds for young creative minds and future design aficionados:
· Dot Magazine (play learning for ages five and under)
· Okido Magazine (science and art for ages three to seven)
· Anorak (stories, games and activities for ages six and up)