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The Face

The Face

In the lead up to this year’s Modern Magazine conference (just four days now!) we’re inviting speakers from the line-up to introduce a spread from the most recent issue of their magazine. Today we've got something a bit different for you; as writer Paul Gorman will be discussing his upcoming book Legacy: the Story of The Face at the conference, we’ve asked him to select a spread from the research he's been carrying out.

Below, Paul fills us in on the context of the famed fashion and music title and selects a spread that he finds especially indicative of the magazine’s approach and aesthetic.


The story of The Face traces the life of the groundbreaking magazine from owner publisher Nick Logan’s roots in local press in the 60s and his editorship of the New Musical Express and founding of Smash Hits in the 70s. From launch in May 1980 to the sale to Emap (now Bauer) in July 1999, The Face reported from the frontlines of popular culture, charting a social history of life in the 80s and 90s and providing an enduring influence on magazine culture, particularly in the areas of graphic design and fashion photography, in the digital age.

Of all the spreads in the 230 issues of The Face covered by my book, this one - a six-page feature on Berlin nightlife - encapsulates the unique approach of the magazine and why it continues to resonate.

In other hands this would have been a run-of-the-mill travel ‘colour’ piece but the text by the late and rightly lamented Gavin Hills offers insights into a subject of recurring interest to Nick Logan and his team (and of particular poignance in 2016): our relationship to continental Europe. Boris Bencic’s matching of Thomas Krygier’s photography with bold layout and typography draws on the magazine’s design traditions as proposed by Neville Brody a decade earlier, and recasts them for the post-fall of the Wall generation, for whom ‘hardcore’ was much more than a definition of a strand of dance music.

‘Legacy: The story of The Face’ will be published by Thames & Hudson in autumn 2017

The Modern Magazine 2016 is now sold out.

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