Out now: SPD Annual 2017

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As the appetite for, and reach of, independent magazines has grown in recent years the more traditional publishing organisations have tried to reach out to the indie world.

This interest can ebb and flow – in the UK, the PPA has recently focused strongly on indies at their annual Festival; this year they appear to have dropped that part of the programme. The design-based D&AD Awards (UK-based but increasingly international in scope) have tried various ways to attract larger numbers of entries from the magazine world, and last year introduced a seperate independent category. I’ve just been judging this years D&AD Awards and the largest numbers of magazine entries were from the indies. In the US the SPD also now have an indie category in their annual Awards, and the publication of their latest heavyweight tome of winners hingts at the strength of the sector.

The 460-page sleek hardback SPD annual, designed this year by Rob Hewitt, is always a treat for editorial designers. It remains heavily US-orientated, and the self-defining parameter of all awards persists – such competitions can only annoint the work that is entered. But it remains a strong and enduring record of contemporary editorial work.

Alongside the obvious big hitters (New York Times Magazine, Wireds US and Italia, and New York all deserve their multiple awards) it’s great to see Gather, The Gentlewoman, California Sunday and Pitchfork Review (though, strangely, this has just been closed by new owner Condé Nast) among the winners of the more general categories. And in the Independent section itself there are plenty of indies familiar to magCulture readers, including Avaunt, Eight by Eight, Elephant and You Can Now.

The SPD are also holding an event about indie mags in New York next month as part of their regular speaker series.

Organised in collaboration with magCulture, ‘The State of Independence’ takes place on 15 May at the SVA Theatre. Guests from Avaunt, California Sunday Magazine, Racquet, The Great Discontent and Victory Journal will join me to discuss the growing influence of the independent magazine. Join us!


Book tickets here


We’re grateful to Park Communications for their support of ‘The State of Independence’

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