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Speak, 1995-2001
Back issue

Speak, 1995-2001

In last month’s Podcast, we featured the US culture magazine Speak as our Back Issue. Here we share some images of the magazine.

In his own words, founder/editor Dan Rolleri underplayed the project, describing his magazine thus as, ‘the old-fashioned kind, with paper and ink and a really expensive print bill. It published long-form interviews, fiction, essays and features on a variety of topics.’

Designed at first by David Carson, but for most of its life by Martin Venezky, Speak was unique for two reasons. First its design, which built on Carson’s aesthetic of chaos (as seen in RayGun) to establish a beautiful balance of US vernacular typography with found items and curiousities turning up among the layouts. As the spreads above show, it had no grid, style sheets or template, every story heading off in its own visual direction.

This approach from Venezky reflected the content. As Rolleri hints at in his description above, Speak had a very broad remit, covering art, culture, politics and anything else its small team got interested in. As we note in the Podcast, there’s an indepth feature about the Stephen Lawrence UK race murder, which I can’t imagine had received any other coverage in the US at the time.

The magazine’s website remains live (though not updated) and I recommend the Speak History section for insight into the project; while much of their story is very particular, there is plenty on the struggle of publishing that will be familiar to anyone making their own magazine.

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