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Books x magazines – a tale of two formats

Books x magazines – a tale of two formats

There are a good few magazine-related books around at the moment, and here are two very different examples that have crossed my desk recently: the self-explanatory ‘Radio Times Cover Story’ and ‘The Monocle Guide to Better Living’.

First up, the Monocle book. The monthly magazine already has a quite bookish design, and it’s easily adaptedy to this 410-page tome published by Gestalten. The word ‘Guide’ in the title is instructive, in a sense the whole Monocle empire is one broad lifestyle guide, and the design aesthetic across all media – magazine, newspaper, book and web – is very navigation-orientated, with plenty of lists, numbers and graphic devices. This can sometimes be overwelming in the magazine, but here in book form it works really well. There’s a very clear editorial structure that plays out across ten sections and photography and illustration each have plenty of space (more than in the monthly). The bookishness gives it more gravitas and it works brilliantly. A great addition to the Monocle series.

The history of Radio Times covers reflects the history of British design and illustration of the last 90 years, as well as what will always be regarded as a golden age of television. Not every magazine could hold attention across such a length of time but Radio Times easily manages to, even if the more recent work here is less interesting than earlier examples. This is a much-rehearsed subject and I don’t wish to return to it, but overall this is another must-have for all magazinaholics. Andy Cowles makes many good points and shares more images on his post, but I’ll just share the following great example of a magazine understanding its subject and audience.

British TV in the seventies had two great solo comedians. The 22 February 1975 edition of the magazine featured one, Dave Allen, on its front cover (left). Allen was one of the many people that impressionist Mike Yarwood regulalry parodied, so a few weeks later (12 April 1975) the magazine featured Yarwood mimicking the Allen front cover. A brilliant, witty and knowingly self-referential trick.

The Monocle Guide to Better Living, Gestalten, ISBN 978-3-89955-490-8

The Radio Times Cover Story, Immediate Media, ISBN 978-0-9567523-8-3

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