Some independent magazines transcend the indie mag world and pop up in other locations: boutiques, bookshops, hair salons, etc. One such is The Travel Almanac, a publication that has appeared biannually for five years and has quietly become a vital and influential magazine.
Their tenth anniversary issue appears with alternate covers (above); the regular one is the more familiar of the two, a Juergen Teller portrait of Richard Prince is boxed in a white background. The foil block logo and textured paper are typical too, the tactile elements played to the full. These are repeated on the other cover, a full-colour bleed image of Jeremy Scott; the covers are as different as the people they feature.
The structure of the magazine uses travel as its skeleton; regular sections are Guests, Excursions and Souvenirs (above). These represent interviews, travel reportage in words and images, and fashion accessories respectively. The people featured are artists (Heyden Dunham and Richard Prince), singers (Kurt Vile) and actors (Michael Shannon). They belong to the crossover world of art, culture and fashion, the real focus of the magazine. The hotel section (below) offers a barometer of the places favoured by the creative milieu featured in its pages, but the reviews are well-written and properly researched.
The design references a diary or almanac, with lots of delicate detail. The relentless application of titles and rules at the top of all 178 pages stamping a hushed (5-6 point), consistent identity. The whole thing is calm, assured and beautifully flat-planned. One interview features a black and white full-bleed set of portraits; for another the images are all inset with thin black borders (Richard Prince’s artwork, below). A guide to Istanbul bath houses has some lovely B&W line art by John Roberts; the same artist opens an essay about the movie version of JG Ballard’s ‘High Rise’, a highlight of the issue (also below).
The Travel Alamanac is very particular thing, a magazine with an intensely clear sense of identity. That vision might alienate some people – how much Juergen Teller can we take? – but even if my description doesn’t immediately appeal to you, I recommend it as a great example of contemporary editorial work. It is artfully edited, beautifully designed and in the hands a perfectly weighted piece of magazine-ness.