As the football season reaches its finale, here are a few magazines worth tracking down to fill the brief void before the World Cup kicks off on June 12; starting with local favourite The Green Soccer Journal. Their sixth issue sports another new look following a not universally well-recieved earlier revamp, and it’s much improved for it (while keeping the same, larger format). The simpler, more direct design begins with the cover, which avoids the quickly-becoming-a-cliché centred, lower-case masthead in favour of a heavy capitalised title and heavy border rule that seems to be a nod back to seventies football cards. It works well, as does the slightly textured cover stock. And the ability of the small editorial team to get access to footballers such as Lukas Podolski remains impressive.
Simplicity remains the key inside, with stark monochrome typography, bold photography and well-commissioned illustration – above by Jean Julien. Some of the spreads reminds me of early Brody-era Arena (below) no bad thing.
Also in the issue: Edin Dzeko, Fabian Spiess, The Horrors’ Faris Badwan and Sky Sports presenter Charlotte Jackson.
Pickles is another British publication, produced using the Newspaper Club’s tabloid format. Promising ‘Football, Design and Wit’, the 32-page magazine has its ninth issue, a world cup special, coming soon.
All previous issues are apparently sold out, but it’s worth looking out for the new issue as there’s plenty of good reading around the subject of football fandom, this cleverly illustrated piece (above, by Sharm Murugiah) about not supporting one team being typical – promiscuity represented by condom packets in club colours.
In fact Pickles relies entirely on illustration over photography, a matter of budget I guess, but it gives it a unique identity – the two covers here are by Patryk Mogilnicki (Ashley Cole) and David Flanagan (Paulo di Canio, above). Worth noting that they too sometimes get access to players, running interviews alongside more discursive features.
Spain, of course, remain the world and European champions, and still have the two Madrid teams in the semis of the Champions League. Libero is a relatively new quarterly from Madrid, and is probably the best-looking magazine here in terms of pure design. It celebrates Spain’s position in the football world – that’s national team manager Vicente del Bosque on the cover (above), and Barcelona strong man Javier Mascherino (below) – while also casting an eye on broader cultural issues and international football. This issue had pieces about German, Italian and Portuguese teams as well as stories that appear to focus on history and finance.
Libero has some lovely design touches – the small illustration above (by Alvaro Valino) combines Benfica’s colours, iconic player Eusebio and the club eagle symbol in a strong but beautifully simple manner, while below a correlation is drawn (I think!) between Arsenal’s successes and the publication of fan Nick Hornby’s novels using infographics in a visually satisfying way.