Quarterly illustration magazine Mincho hails from Madrid, and its English-language content is any illustration lover’s dream. The publication is divided into six distinct sections – Illustration, In Motion (animation), Comic, Art + Design, The New Contemporary (graphic arts) and Have a Nice Book (book suggestions). Included in the contents is a piece on Chris Ware’s early work, an interview with lo-fi zine makers Los Bravu, and reviews of comics that graphic novel readers will soon find themselves pining for.
Conveyor has been around for a few years, a magazine produced by print studio Conveyor Arts, whose aim is to re-imagine the possibilities of contemporary photography publications. As a press that makes zines and beautiful books, the magazine team naturally have a fine eye for print and the materiality of an object, and Conveyor is crafted by hand. For this issue – the Alchemy issue – art directors Elana Schlenker (the mind behind Gratuitous Type) and Christina Labey decided to print, bind, foil-stamp and smyth-sew the publication themselves, and when you hold the magazine, you can tell it’s something special.
Design magazines tend to be designed in one of two ways, following either the minimalist’s golden rule of ‘less is more’ or ruling by the eye-grabbing dictum of ‘less is bore’. Brussel-based Kwintessens has published quarterly since 1992 by Flemish design promoters Design Flanders, and it emphatically falls into the latter category, opting for an aesthetic of mix-match typographic collages and bold Bauhaus colours.
There is so much interest in independent magazines and the people behind them here in London today that barely a week goes by without another panel discussion or presentation. This is part of a broader trend – the ease of connecting online has encouraged a desire to connect in person with like-minded people across most creative disciplines – and long may it last.
Desillusion is the magnum opus of skateboarding and surf culture. The hefty 260 pages are dedicated to a generation raised on beaches and in skate parks, and it’s a magazine that tackles its subject with serious, almost biblical, zeal. For the last three issues, the quarterly publication has gone hardback, dubbing its new resurrected self as the ‘Tome’ series. The name implies that Desillusion is self-fashioning itself as a kind of scholarly book, and throughout its thick pages, sun and surf are glamorised and mythologised with edgy content and stark design.
This literary magazine from Columbia University undergraduate Benjamin Moe has a simple but special concept. Each issue has a philosophical theme that relates in some way to human existence – Table Talk then rolls with this theme for a while, seeing to what strange and curious lengths the idea can go. The stories diverge and bounce off each other like a conversation after a long evening of dinner and wine with friends, and they brim with anecdotes and ideas. The format reminds me of the American literary establishment and podcast, The Moth, which takes its inspiration from conversations around a fire pit late at night. Last month, we got an insight into the workings of Table Talk in our At Work With with Benjamin, and issue two proves that the young editor’s mind is still aglow with philosophical intrigue and curatorial delights.
With the rise of independent alternatives to the mainstream, it’s only right that there should be alternatives to kids mags as well. In the UK, Anorak is the first that comes to mind for parents who want to get their children something that sparks creativity, but German kids also have an alternative, a publication called Die Kindertseitung (The Children’s Newspaper). It’s edited and designed by graphic designer Daria Holme, and each issue has a playful and visually-orientated theme, like ‘Red’ or ‘City’ or ‘Alphabet’ or ‘Night’. Issue ten is themed ‘Round’, and it’s definitely a magazine for little designers in the making.
Star Ship is an art magazine based in Berlin. The articles are written in either English or German, depending entirely on the language that the writer wants to use: this kind of unconventionally laid-back editorial approach is very much part of the anarchic spirit of the publication.
Now that magazines are getting ever more specific, aimed at particular subcultures or hobbies, sometimes you can forget what it’s like when a publication speaks directly to you. So when Girls Like Us arrived in the post, I had a flutter of excitement that reminded me of the feeling I used to get when I first discovered my favourite music zines as a teenager. Based in the Netherlands, Girls Like Us focuses on women in art, culture and political activism, and its post-gender outlook is accompanied by a design of geometric layers, colourful tints and metallic inks.
In the past, If You Leave has taken the format of mini-booklets published by Arthur-Frank Editions. These small art books contained contemporary photography, still images set simply against a blank white page with name and author written underneath. The new If You Leave biannual photography magazine has embraced a different format and design whilst still disguising itself as a book: opening up the cotton bound hardback cover reveals a saddle stitched magazine. Surprises like this make volume one of IYL an intriguingly ambivalent publication; glossy art catalogue and magazine and blog all wrapped into one. This format coupled with a redesigned logo and name abbreviation marks a new dawn for the photography collective, and it therefore seems fitting that IYL have loosely themed their first issue ‘AM’.