ModMag16 final running order

It’s ModMag week! If you’ve booked a ticket you will already have an email with all the information you need except for the final schedule. Here it is:

9.00 Registration

9.30 Welcome

Kirsten Algera, MacGuffin
Christoph Amend, ZEITmagazin
Terri White, Empire


The Ladybeard team
Jack Self, Real Review
Rebecca Nicholson, VICE


Paul Gorman, The Face
Kai von Rabenau, mono.kultur
Penny Martin, The Gentlewoman


Tony Rushton, Private Eye
Seb Emina, The Happy Reader
Gail Bichler, New York Times Magazine

17.45 Drinks

At both breaks there will be the opportunity to view magazines from the CSM and magCulture archives. The was hugely popular last year, and places are limited so please sign up on arrival on the day.

We’ll also be making a printed magazine record of the day, in collaboration with CSM students and Park Communications. If you’d like to take part in this project look out for information on the day.

See you Thursday!

Please note ModMag is now completely sold out.

You can follow the day on twitter and instagram: @magCulture #ModMag16

We’re grateful to our partners and sponsors for their support.
If you’d like to join them, email


Zsuzsanna Toth, writer and editor

Previously managing editor at the Berlin-based digital magazine Freunde von Freunden and I Love You magazine, freelance writer Zsuzsanna Toth now contributes to the likes of i-D and works as an editorial consultant. She’s been collecting magazines ever since she was a teenager and – like most mag-fanatics – thinks carefully about how she arranges issues in her apartment.

‘When it comes to my magazine shelf I go for the most common tool in Berlin: the floor,’ Zsuzsanna explains. ‘That has little to do with having a minimal-aesthetic obsession, though. My apartment is – unlike what’s normal in Berlin – really tiny. Putting a big shelf in would make the space ridiculously small.’


The collection pictured in her photograph is part of ‘the bigger picture’. ‘The day of my private library will come,’ Zsuzsanna assures us. ‘Just you (I) wait.’

As ever, we asked Zsuzsanna to pick three issues from her stack: a new issue, an old issue, and another thing.


A new issue: Supplement, #3
To be honest, I am generally not a fan of magazines that serve as/are a bi-product of an agency. The function often feels forced, the form predictable or exaggerated.

One-year-young Supplement, though, proves me wrong. Co-edited by the founders of UK based Plus Agency alongside Justin Quirk and Alex Rayner, the minimally designed magazine (“Supplement is curated like a gallery; presenting a neutral aesthetic”) is refreshingly unpretentious, but filled through-and-through with appealing content.


In the third issue there are beautiful portraits of Klara Kristin, Glen Martin and Petra Cortright, an examination of China’s post-Tiananmen art scene, and a look at the visual language of digital malfunction. It investigates the borders of creativity – and it’s a successful example of modern publishing.


An old issue: The Alpine Review #1
In immense anticipation for the third issue, I recently re-read the first issue of The Alpine Review, themed ‘Antifragility’ and published in 2012. I remember vividly when I got my hands on this one; I was overwhelmed by its size and its content that felt so on point and in line with the current culture that I initially thought it would be published at least bi-monthly. That said, it took me many weeks to finish the whole ‘thing’. It reads like a contemporary novel, each article marking another essential chapter.


So far there have only been two issues released and while I truly hope the Canadian magazine investigating contemporary culture, systems and society speeds up in terms of its rhythm of publication, another look at the issue makes me realise that this is not just a wish but a necessity. Inside issue one: articles on coffeshopification, the idea of magazines as identities and platforms, the internet of things, Corporate Families and Dreams. ‘Antifragility’ as a theme lends itself to a new kind of thought process, it’s a novel way of organising thinking in these chaotic types. It sounds quite up to date, doesn’t it?


And another thing…: #Fashion by Matin Zad
I have a little separate collection of zines and photobooks – each one bought on travels and/or flea markets. They deserve a separate spot in my flat, one that I mostly touch on Sundays or in rare moments where I feel almost bored and am looking for a new fuel of (excuse the term) inspiration. Unlike my ‘magazine shelf’ that gets a revamp regularly, this stack is growing only slowly, but steadily.

The newest addition to that collection is the photobook #Fashion by Matin Zad. I stumbled over one of his comparative photographs on tumblr (one interpreting Yohji Yamamoto) last year without context or credit. I felt immediately drawn to the aesthetics of it and pinned it on my cork board. A couple of weeks later I found out about Zad’s idiosyncratic work; in #Fashion – which started initially as an Instagram project – the New York artist and photographer collects reinterpretations of luxury brands he finds in everyday life, captured with, what else, his iPhone.


Being lost – as I mostly am (see portrait photo) – in the streets of Brooklyn a couple of weeks ago I found myself in a little independent book and magazine store where I picked up the print edition of his collection of which the existence I didn’t know about until then… a rabbit hole of nice coincidences.

The artists uses no words, just images. It’s easily digestable content for both the fashion savvy and…  tired.


The Happy Reader

In the lead up to this year’s Modern Magazine conference (just one week to go!) we’re inviting speakers from the line-up to introduce a spread from the most recent issue of their magazine. Today, The Happy Reader’s editor-in-chief Seb Emina is taking us through one of his favorite spreads from issue seven.

At ModMag, Seb will be discussing the development of the magazine and how the editorial team work with Penguin to create it.


‘The Happy Reader is a magazine for book lovers. It’s split into two halves. The first half is a long, in-depth, annotated conversation with a famous bookworm, and the second is just like a magazine, except where everything is in the orbit of a single “Book of the Season”.

‘In the current issue the interview is with the art curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, and the Book of the Season is Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway.


‘Here’s a spread from the Mrs Dalloway section which I like, because it’s a moment when three very different stories collide. At the top right are the final lines of an article by Michael Cunningham, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his Mrs Dalloway-inspired book The Hours. I asked, on the off chance, if he’d write something for us about the first time he came across Woolf’s novel, and amazingly he said yes.

‘On the left is a carnation, the last in a series of portraits by Matthieu Lavanchy showing the different kinds of flower mentioned in Mrs Dalloway, each just frozen in focus as if to say ‘I’m a beautiful literary symbol’ with the blurry urban pomp of Westminster in the background.

‘And finally, below the headline WHAT THE CLOUDS SAY are the first words of an article about skywriting, that once-futuristic practice of writing ads in the sky with the exhaust from a light aircraft. I’m a bit obsessed with the scene where Woolf describes various people looking up, trying to work out what a plane is trying to write. This short essay by Canadian writer Harriet Alida Lye is a potted history of skywriting with a personal twist, and doesn’t mention Mrs Dalloway at all, which makes it a quintessential Happy Reader piece: if you’ve read the book you’ll get it, you’ll know why it’s there, and if you haven’t you’ll enjoy reading about a laborious, retro-futuristic advertising method that you assume must have something to do with a book you may one day get round to picking up.’

Issue eight of The Happy Reader will be published in November.

Our Modern Magazine 2016 event is now sold out.

magCulture x AIGA Eye on Design

For the next three days, we’re in Las Vegas at the AIGA’s Eye on Design x magCulture pop-up shop as part of the AIGA design conference.

AIGA’s Eye on Design editors have curated their selection of favourite titles (below) and I’ll be here throughout the week if you want to stop by to chat mags, purchase some issues or simply have a browse.

image5 image3

With the booth up and ready, I managed to snap a picture of AIGA’s Eye on Design editorial resident (and magCulture friend) James Cartwright taking a break at the slots with his food-themed picks:


Come say hello, we’re open Monday – Wednesday in the Design Fair from 12pm onwards.

Park Communications

Ahead of next week’s Modern Magazine day we’ve been catching up with some our guest speakers to hear about the latest issues of their magazines. Today we shift attention to print company Park Communications, who have supported the event since ModMag14. Managing director Alison Branch gives us some insight into what’s happening at the print plant this week.


What magazines are in production at Park this week?
Gear Patrol, Sidetracked, Intern, Little Atoms, Superyacht Owner, Christie’s and we are starting preparations for the next Mondial and Jocks & Nerds.


Most of those are UK based, but Gear Patrol is an American title. They print the magazine here in London?
They do. Andrew Haynes, their creative director, saw a copy of the Los Angeles-based magazine Boat, which we print. Andrew loved the quality and got in touch.


What are the advantages for Gear Patrol of printing in the UK?
Andrew tells us that having moved to Park, his magazine has much higher production values, is turned around from artwork to delivery in two weeks rather than the three it took in the US, that he enjoys better customer service and saves money too. To support our overseas customers we have 24 hour customer service.


He sends us artwork one evening then flies across overnight and comes straight to us from the airport to pass high-res proofs and we make any corrections that same day. He then comes back the next day to press pass the cover and first few text sections. While he is here Andrew stays in Shoreditch, which is only a short tube ride away from our plant. He’s with us for only two days. Other customers prefer not to press pass so we print to match-agreed proofs. These are sent to the USA by Fedex on a next day service.


Typically our print prices seem to be 40 % to 50% below the prices offered by USA printers for indie magazines. Even with airfreight back and a return flight to press pass we are still more cost effective. And where there is a European or other non-US distribution, the carriage costs are less if sent from the UK rather than the USA. We were more cost effective before Brexit. Following Brexit and the devaluation of sterling this is even more the case.

We would love to work with more USA based publishers. Stack are hosting three events in New York this week, and Park are sponsoring those nights. We will be at the events with examples of our work for folks to pick up and browse and will be giving away two magazines to each person who comes to join us.

You work with many small independent publishers. What one piece of advice would you offer a new magazine looking for production help?
Talk to us very early on. We can give you guidance on how to achieve the most for your spend on print.

What are most looking forward to about ModMag?
There were so may interesting speakers last year and the line-up for this year seems just as good. And of course, it is another opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones too.

ModMag16 is now sold out.

V&A Magazine #41

The latest blockbuster show at London’s V&A Museum is ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970,’ a look back at the sixties and the cultural and political influence that decade continues to exert. I haven’t visited the show yet but expect a significant role for magazines in the portrayal of the era.

To mark the opening of the exhibition, the V&A Magazine has commisoned a number of features, including an overview of the sixties by GQ editor Dylan Jones and insider stries of alternative magazine publishing from Spare Rib’s Marsha Rowe and Time Out founder Tony Elliott.


The magazine also commisioned a cover design from Pearce Marchbank, the man who created iconic covers for Time Out as well as co-editing and designing Oz magazine in the early seventies. The cover uses the medium of the time – pin badges – to set the visual, political and cultural context for the exhibition.

This is the final issue of the V&A Magazine to be edited by Thomas Phongsathorn. We wish him well as he heads into freelance editing and writing, and hope his successor continues his intelligent use of the magazine format.

Art director: Andrew Johnson