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On sale: The Modern Magazine

On sale: The Modern Magazine

My new book ‘The Modern Magazine’ was published yesterday, and I’m pleased to offer it in our online shop at a discounted price of £25. See some spreads from the book, along with my thoughts about it, after the jump.

I love writing this blog almost as much as I enjoy looking at the magazines I post about. I love the spontaneity, the rapid response a quick post allows and the speed with which yesterday’s material is replaced by today’s. I can easily see what posts attract attention, and receive instant feedback via twitter, Facebook and email, even if Comments are fewer than before. I try to maintain quality, but I know some posts are less considered than others. I also know that, good or bad, all posts soon disappear.

Yet a couple of years ago I found myself getting excited about writing a book, the slowest of media. I wanted to make something a little more solid. Work has to really earn its place in a book. Material can’t disappear below the fold, choices are permanent. And those of you that have been following this blog since the early days might recall it grew from my book ‘magCulture’, and that the blog was intended as a research tool for a follow-up.

So I finally got going on that new book, and it became ‘The Modern Magazine’, an overview of contemporary editorial design and innovation that uses this blog as a starting point – regular readers will not be surprised by much of the content but I hope they’ll also find the choices more deliberate.

The book works on three levels. First, it’s a visual record of the graphic trends and visual quirks that have marked the past ten years. Most of its 750 images were photographed as real objects and have been carefully juxtaposed to provide a page-by-page guide to design trends and themes (handwritten text, illustration, lists, infographics etc). A four-chapter structure sits over this, each opening with an essay (Rethinking the Magazine, Reinventing Genres, Design x Content and Print x Digital). And each of these chapters have case studies based on interviews with key creative figures chosen to emphasise the need for a shared vision between content and design in contemporary magazines.

The interviews are with:
Jop van Bennekom (Founder and creative director, Fantastic Man)
Marissa Bourke (Creative director, Elle, Elle Collections)
Scott Dadich (Condé Nast)
Francesco Franchi (design director, IL magazine)
Joerg Koch (founder, 032c*)
Ralph McGinnis and Sarah Forbes Keough (co-editors, Put A Egg On It)
Tim Moore (Founder and publisher, Letter to Jane*)
Adam Moss (editor, New York)
Josh Tyrangiel and Richard Turley (editor and creative director, Bloomberg Businessweek*)
Marco Velardi (Apartamento*)

I hope the book is that moves us on from ‘magazines are dying’ to an appreciation that the disruption caused by multiple events (the internet, paper prices, distribution problems, recession…) has encouraged investigation and creative thought about what a magazine should be. I believe, like my friend and colleague Andrew Losowsky, this is a golden age of magazines. I hope ‘The Modern Magazine’ makes that case.

‘The Modern Magazine’ is published internationally by Laurence King. ISBN 978-1-78067-298-4. Buy it in our online shop at a discounted price of £25.

* Asterixed magazines are represented in the line-up at The Modern Magazine conference, London, October 16. Buy tickets from our online shop.

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