Best magazine design

SVR's picture

I'm working on a book about magazine design. I'm collecting examples of brilliantly designed magazines from around the world.

May i have your list of magazines. It does not matter what the magazine is about. only the design matters.

Thank you for your help,

Dav's picture

There was once, around 1999/2000 I guess, a magazine in the UK named 'level.' and that was/became my 'all time favourite' magazine, ever. The design (simple, minimalistic, unusual photography, generous whitespace, Helvetica, 'urban') and the content. Finissimo.


Dav's picture

I just, very happily, noticed a 'nanosite' still exists, featuring the previous covers: (For sample spreads I found a japanes blog featuring an article about Banksy, showing off nicely the design and layout of the inside of 'level.':


Eluard's picture

There is a magazine that comes out of Sydney called Black+White. It is a large magazine of art photography and articles about culture (sometimes pretentious and post-modern, sometimes not). In design terms it is without doubt the most significant mag to be published in Australia. Take a look at that.

Fredrik's picture

some currently available magazines:

dot dot dot
a magazine
neon (Germany)
brand eins (by Mike Meire - check also his 'ugly' design for 032c)
metal magazine (by Albert Folch, Spain)
anything by Jop Van Bennekom (RE-Magazine, Butt, Fantastic Man...)

Spanish title 'Suite' ( in terms of typography is just great, featuring the typefaces of AD Inigo Jerez.

the Wire (non-format years were brilliant)

to name a few.

jupiterboy's picture

Believer (futures smells like the past design)

NewType (J-pop enthusiasm as design)

EAT (very anti-design)

Miss Tiffany's picture

I really enjoy Dwell, GOOD, and Fast Company. But, I read these so the content contributes a lot to my enjoyment even though I do think they are nicely (overall) designed.

Hofweber's picture

Among my faves are COLORS, dwell, and wired. That Freight Micro gets me every time.

Daanen's picture

Monocle!!!!!!!!!!! One of the best layed out magazines i have ever seen.

jupiterboy's picture

Monocle looks nice, and reminds me a bit of The Sciences, which I really miss. I must be blessed in the head because I can't see how you would subscribe via their web site. Clues?

.00's picture

New York

Miss Tiffany's picture

;^) Any particular reason you both picked those magazines?

blank's picture

Seed and Metropolis are worth noting for mixing patterning, color, and illustration right into the layouts. The Believer is interesting because I get the impression that the design is motivated by budget (no ads but only $7.95 an issue) as much as it is by aesthetics. Lemon is great, but I’m not sure that it’s really a magazine so much as a self-promotional piece sold at newsstands. Idea magazine is especially awesome, but very expensive and hard to get outside of Japan.

jupiterboy's picture

The Sciences had content that usually had to do with science, research and technology, but also the implications of emerging reality. What really killed was the illustrations of works by fine artists and illustrators that seemed to have a resonance with the subject matter. For instance, a review of a book on Chomky's linguistic theories and how his work had been replaced by more contemporary theories. To illustrate this concept a Mark Tansey painting was permmisioned that features Rothko and Rauschenburg tossing a painting frame into the abyss of a cave. The magazine design was clean and utility minded. The mixing of art with subject matter was brilliant.

EAT is Bob Pollard's collage art. In typical form, a friend of his handles the layout and uses an oversized Futura Caps for the work titles/captions. It is indulgent and boring at worst, but the conceptual content of the work is very good. I like that this is so personal for better and worse.

Newtype is an odd mix of busy J-Pop layout, but includes Photoshop how-to sections and great studies of character design. I love that it has all these different elements together. Why wouldn't a fan also know how the production was handled and have skills?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Carl*s Cars (

No one mentioned Wallpaper. ( It used to be amazing and it still looks very good, eventhough the content isn't all that interesting anymore.

Untitled (

I really like Suite as well.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Haven't seen Nico (, but I've been told it's lovely. Forgive me for repeating it, but Carl*s Cars is the most amazing magazine I now.

All Beef Paddy's picture

American Craft is really well done. It was just redesigned by the people responsible for Dwell looking so good. For other stuff that is currently on newstands check out ReadyMade, Make, Real Simple and Runner's World. For magazines that are no more check out Ray Gun and Critique.

Zennie's picture

Some more favs:

Graphic Magazine



Stefan Seifert's picture

Italian Vogue.

peter_monrad's picture

Where do I start?! Interesting topic. First of all, if you're interested in magazine design and writing a book about it you should definitely check out the following sites:

They are both related to great books and always seem to be updated about what's going on.

Personally I'm into the quite busy design with lots of details and small elements. For now my favorite magazines are the following:

GQ (American – layout and content -
Esquire (American - layout and content (especially the covers!) -
Wired (American - layout and content -
Lodown (German - mostly for the content and concept –

(If anyone would like to see some of my work you can check some spreads right here: )

dsb's picture

I like Cabinet ( a lot.

and I am not sure why this one wasn't mentioned first on this site:

Baseline (

Stefan Seifert's picture

Try not to forget Luca Stoppini, one of the finest art directors for magazine design.
Experimental (not in the sense of those German new fashion mags) and with brillant taste.
Even though in the last years we saw less of him than possible, I guess.

Good luck for your book

Cassie's picture

Definitely Metropolis and Good. How is also very well designed (although it could be that I have a thing for Parisine...) I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned Emigre yet, but that was one worth including. And what about revista tipoGráfica?

Nick Shinn's picture

Any particular reason you both picked those magazines?

New Scientist: I'm impressed with the way they come up with visuals for topics which are usually quite abstract and difficult to explain, week after week. And lots of charts, maps, and diagrams, for instance, a "cut-away" view of the Large Hadron Collider showing the villages it's underneath. Even silly stuff, like the biggest overhangs possible with Jenga blocks, is nicely done--and the cartoonist for the letters page is always on the ball.

But most, it's the endlessly inventive modernist layouts, and Dax heads with lots of white space.

pattyfab's picture

Spy Magazine back in the day was a lot of fun to look at, and it has influenced a lot of current magazines with it's info-graphic style. There was also briefly Egg.

Let's not forget Visionaire either.

or maybe the best all-time magazine: Flair.

Ch's picture

what kind of book : the now ? history ? landmarks ?
my seeing magazine design was sort of triggered by david carson and raygun

but emigre was sort of a bible...

no history would be complete without them.

i enjoyed tibor kalman's colors for benetton

these days i like to look at IdN from hong kong. mostly illustration,
maybe i'm more into the content than the design. enjoyably chaotic with rewards.

rolling stone was delicious when fred woodward was there.

Tatumanu's picture

I love:

Baseline Magazine , all about type.


Creative Review, mainly about graphic design, photography and ilustration.

AndrewSipe's picture

There was once, around 1999/2000 I guess, a magazine in the UK named ’level.’

David, I second that. I still have some of my issues somewhere around here. I was also collecting Bikini and Raygun around that time. Both very Carsonesque. I would also recommend Wired, it's cheap and well designed!

AndrewSipe's picture

Also, I can't afford it, but if I could... eye:

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