One of the advantages of working in a creative industry is the number of designers and developers who take their craft seriously. The design community shines in one regard in particular: the design community seems to be less willing to hoard knowledge and skills. Instead, we present them, elaborate on them and keep improving on each other’s techniques — among other media — magazines and books.
In this overview of useful magazines you’ll find everything from purely online publications to monthly, glossy print editions, where all subjects relevant to art and design are being investigated in colorful, eloquent detail.
Print And Digital Indie Publications
Three beautiful A5 handcrafted hardback books-magazines a year, each one with a bit over 100 pages. The Manual delivers intelligent and critical thinking, and voices on the “Why?” of Web design, taking the reader to a deeper and richer level of work. Published by Andy McMillan, edited by Carolyn Wood, and designed by Jez Burrows, you can get it for 25$.
CODEX, The Journal of Typography
An infrequent 164 page magazine with feature articles, book and typeface reviews, interviews, type history, essays and type design — from typography experts. The first issue was released in spring of 2011, the second one is coming out in summer of 2012. The Codex magazine is only available in print and PDF version (8$).
Offscreen Mag: The People Behind Bits & Pixels
Offscreen is a high-quality print magazine created, edited, designed and published by Kai Brach, issued three to four times a year, and available online for 17,90$. With each issue built around six lengthy interviews, it explores the off-screen life and work of people who create websites and apps, and tells their stories of creativity, passion and hard work.
A magazine dedicated to visual communication, graphic design and typography. It is aimed at both professionals and beginners in typography, font design, graphic design and education, as well as marketing and visual communication specialists. The magazine is published quarterly. All 34 issues between 2003 and 2008 are also available in PDF.
“If you could only use eight typefaces for the rest of your life, which would you choose?” This is the core question of 8faces, which — amongst many others — is asked to leading designers from the fields of Web design, print design, illustration and type design. With each issue (printed on heavy stock and pressed at just 2000 limited editions), this is definitely a collector’s item, and only 19£. Designed and edited by Elliot Jay Stocks, 8faces is also available as a PDF.
Image credit: Typetoken.
A quarterly journal about design and technology. Each issue contains three well-researched essays with opinions from day-to-day practitioners who speak out on contentious issues. Distance comes in both digital and print formats (digital 5$, print 15$), the digital bundles contain ePub, Kindle, and PDF editions.
Image credit: Brent Knepper.
The Melbourne-based quarterly publication Process Journal exhibits designers and their work on 96 pages (at a format slightly larger than A4). These high-quality prints (25$) and their congruent iPad app are dedicated to the artistry of design.
A printed publication (with a handy size of around A5) featuring illustrators, graphic artists, short fiction authors and written text. Ferocious Quarterly calls itself an ongoing exercise in curation and collaboration, and has been released yearly since its first edition in 2010 (12$).
The independent, UK-based Ammo Magazine is dedicated to illustrations and their creators. This cute little A6 Landscape publication (with thick 160 g pages) displays it feature illustrations in full color on 64 pages and for the cute price of 5£. Best of all, the editors refuse to let editions go out of print. Find it in their shop, in print format only.
In Graphics is a printed magazine from Berlin that features only infographics. It’s released twice a year, and bilingually in German and English and available on Amazon for 14,90€. Its 96 pages cover challenging topics from politics and economics to architecture, TV shows, culture, entertainment and the environment — very interesting and fascinating content for visual people who have a love for details.
An autonomous publication designed and cared for by students and dedicated to showcasing student and graduate artwork (both on and offline). Plog is issued four times a year, in print, and with a limited run of 1000 issues. It can be ordered online (or purchased in many leading stores and universities around the UK) for 3£.
Image credit: Booooooom.com.
This Australian Adelaide-based magazine talks about design, culture and lifestyle around the world — all in a small-world context. Collect is about people, “neighborhoods” and a revival of quality print media. This 64 pages print-only publication comes out every two months for 5$.
A publication for creative people which wants to be exactly what its initials declare: an International designers’ Network. The magazine features creative designs, works, projects and events from around the globe. Each issue is sold world-wide (17,50$), published bimonthly, available in English and Chinese, and connected with feeds such as iTunes Podcasts and Video. Each issue comes with a DVD, which presents a theme-based, visual compilation of IdN magazine.
The print magazine version of Hacker News features the top-voted articles from it’s mother-website, ranging from coffee guides to design and coding philosophy — anything goes. Available in glossy print (9$) and various digital formats (3$) (PDF, MOBI, EPUB) this magazine is often gorgeously illustrated, curated by Lim Cheng Soon.
A fair-minded magazine that celebrates cultural diversity and deals with current social issues through an abundance of photography and unambiguous text. With its single-subject publications, Colors explores each theme with creative virtuosity on non-glossy, recycled pages. The monthly publication is available in print in most book stores or via an iPad app.
Google’s Think Quarterly looks like an online magazine (but Google calls it a book on its website). The articles are in-depth insights and outlooks on the digital future from visionaries, heads of industry, innovators and experts. It’s issued about three times per year, and with a very good look: clean lines and minimalism mixed with colorful art and images.
This online-only publication presents the works of Germany’s best designers and firms. Even though it requires fluency in the German language, the content of this magazine is varied with serious journalism, and is well worth browsing if you can read the language. The content ranges from design industry facts and news to interviews — of which there are many — focused around one main theme in every issue.
Appliness is a digital magazine edited by passionate developers for passionate developers. Available on iPad and Android tablets, and funded by Adobe.
The Great Discontent is a journal for artists, by artists, and about artists. This online publication concentrates on interviews focusing on subjects that are close to the community’s heart — creativity, risk and connections. This illustrated journal churns out a new interview every Tuesday.
Method & Craft
This small magazine focuses on the “making-ofs” within the design industry. Their contributions take on an educational aspect when they discuss the techniques or motivations behind design pieces in different formats — articles, interviews, videos and notes. Available only on the website, this journal continuously publishes new and interesting content.
Contents is an online magazine about content strategy, online publishing and new-school editorial work. It’s aimed at everyone who creates, edits, publishes, analyzes or cares for internet content. The issues run six to eight weeks, and each one has a set of annotations that links to thematically related work.
.net magazine is one of the most respected online magazines for Web designers and developers. The articles feature general news in the industry, tutorials, interviews as well as practical tips and techniques for everybody who is designing or building websites. A (beautifully designed) print edition of the magazine is available as well.
GOOD is a very well-done online magazine, a collaboration of individuals, businesses, and non-profits who — besides doing many other great things — have made this magazine “for people who give a damn”, and care about what is sustainable, prosperous, productive and creative.
TXP Magazine is the mouthpiece and discussion center to the world the good ol’ Textpattern project. With two issues already published and one issue every two to three month planed, this publication aims at providing the best publishing system conceived, discusses topics with the community and features expert in the field. However, TXP also features topics that aren’t directly related to Textpattern, so even if you aren’t using the CMS, you might want to check the magazine as well.
Form And Future
This magazine’s tag line says it all; “A Journal for New Designers”. This small online publication specializes on featuring interviews with accomplished designer. Their goal is to allay fears of beginners and help them stay the course. This very young publication releases several interviews per month.
Magpile is a Web community for magazine lovers. In it you can browse through your friends’ lists of publications, show off your own stockpile of magazines and put together a wish list of issues you’ve been craving to read. With it’s growing wiki-like database of publications. Magpile represents one of the most comprehensive archives of Magazine titles.
No Layout is a no-frills digital library for independent art and fashion publishers. Freely accessible from any platform, all featured magazines are all only readable online. It is meant as a promotional and archive tool for any topic-related media.
Mag Is In
This dynamic Italian project is an archive as well as a prophet of contemporary independent magazines. They are dedicated to spreading consciousness about the excellence of current magazines. The creators are planing to complement their online presence with an exhibition to introduce indie magazines to non-expert audiences.
Counter-Print is committed to promoting art and design related products. While this is not a free website, they sell all sorts of educational materials that a designer might need. From posters to vintage books, their large selection caters to designers’ specialized requirements. All of their materials are in print formats.
What Publications Do You Read?
What print and online publications would you recommend and why? An important magazine is missing? Share your tips and pointers with the community by leaving the comments below!
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© Smashing Editorial for Smashing Magazine, 2012.