Cover story: Beach Culture, August/September 1990

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Ian Birch looks back at the third issue of Beach Culture, the magazine that made David Carson’s name before he went on to art direct Raygun.


A legendary cover which earned Carson more than 150 design awards. The magazine only lasted six issues and, as Carson told Huck in 2011, ‘we did every issue like it was our last’.

Geof Kern submitted the photograph for an article inside but ‘the surprise quality and compositional strength made it the cover’ (from ‘The End of Print’ by Lewis Blackwell, Laurence King Publishing, 1995). Beach Culture, which was very loosely based around the idea of a surfing magazine, championed the daring, intuitive and irreverent. Kern later did a series of photographs for a new launch Carson was planning but didn’t materialise called ECO.’

Editor: Neil Feineman
Art director: David Carson

Above: Geof Kern on the cover of Picabia also in 1990, the Japanese design and culture bi-monthly. 

Ian Birch is the former editorial director of Hearst magazines. Follow him on Instagram for more cover stories, and look out for his new book ‘Uncovered—Revolutionary Magazine Covers’ (ISBN-13: 9781844039043) which will be published on 4 October. Ian will be joined by Penny Martin (The Gentlewoman), Paul McNamee (The Big Issue) and Robin Derrick (British Vogue) for a talk about front covers at The British Library on 16 October.

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