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kottke.org posts about magazines

How to make a magazine

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 27, 2011

A fun little video about how Bloomberg Businessweek gets made.

Early look at the NY Times Magazine redesign

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 04, 2011

magCulture has a pre-release look at the new NY Times Magazine.

Redesigns are always interesting, and non more so than when a title as significant and influential as the NYT makes changes. Duplessis has worked with new editor Hugo Lindgren (ex-Bloomberg Business Week and New York magazine) to provide a new vision for the title, researching the magazine’s archive and becoming fascinated by its 60s and 70s incarnations.

For some reason, it reminds me of Monocle, even though it probably shouldn’t? (thx, @nedward)

Spy magazine on Google Books

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 17, 2011

Google has put every issue of the influential Spy magazine up on Google Books to read for free. (via kbandersen)

David Carson’s new magazine

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 04, 2011

Still pining for early 1990s Ray Gun? David Carson is starting a new magazine you might like called Carson.

“It’s not about being retro,” explained Alex Storch, the Editor-in-Chief. “It’s about pushing forward. People want quality things they can hold and touch, not pseudo-journalism and themed template design on their computers. We’re excited for people that have only seen David’s books and a heavily worn copy of Ray Gun to experience his mastery of the form. We’d also like them to read some inspiring articles as well.”

The French Laundry magazine

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 30, 2010

It’s called Finesse and it’s available at any of Thomas Keller’s restaurants.

The theme of the 64-page first issue is history, so Keller and co. have collected stories — and the expected gorgeous photography — all about the Laundry and every aspect of the restaurant: longtime staffers, former cooks, journalists.

Ruth Reichl and Michael Ruhlman pen articles. Chefs of all kinds make cameos. But it’s more than that — the magazine also highlights lesser known, yet essential parts of the French Laundry machine, like the wine producer who partners with the restaurant to create the Cuvee French Laundry.

Carine Roitfeld resigns from French Vogue

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 17, 2010

After ten years, she’s stepping down as editor-in-chief.

“I had so much freedom to do everything I wanted. I think I did a good job.” But she added, “When everything is good, maybe I think it’s the time to do something else.” She expects to complete issues through March. She said she was not sure what she would do after that. “I have no plan at all,” she said.

Liberty scattered

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 13, 2010

Love the cover of the most recent issue of The New Republic.

Liberty scattered

How to edit a magazine

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 12, 2010

From The Atlantic, twelve timeless rules for making a good publication.

3. Don’t over-edit. You will often estrange an author by too elaborate a revision, and furthermore, take away from the magazine the variety of style that keeps it fresh.

7. A sound editor never has a three-months’ full supply in his cupboard. When you over-buy, you narrow your future choice.

The state of iPad magazines

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 29, 2010

Fresh off several years as Design Director of nytimes.com, Khoi Vinh gives his opinion of the current batch of iPad magazine apps. I think he’s right on.

My opinion about iPad-based magazines is that they run counter to how people use tablets today and, unless something changes, will remain at odds with the way people will use tablets as the medium matures. They’re bloated, user-unfriendly and map to a tired pattern of mass media brands trying vainly to establish beachheads on new platforms without really understanding the platforms at all.

The fact of the matter is that the mode of reading that a magazine represents is a mode that people are decreasingly interested in, that is making less and less sense as we forge further into this century, and that makes almost no sense on a tablet. As usual, these publishers require users to dive into environments that only negligibly acknowledge the world outside of their brand, if at all - a problem that’s abetted and exacerbated by the full-screen, single-window posture of all iPad software. In a media world that looks increasingly like the busy downtown heart of a city - with innumerable activities, events and alternative sources of distraction around you - these apps demand that you confine yourself to a remote, suburban cul-de-sac.

Magazines to Apple: iPad subscriptions, please

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 07, 2010

Last week I complained about the New Yorker app costing $4.99 an issue even for print magazine subscribers. Magazine publishers, including the Conde Nast, are complaining about it as well…to Apple.

The launch highlights the mounting pressure on Apple Inc. to give publishers a way to sell their magazines more than one digital issue at a time. Executives from the New Yorker and its publisher, Conde Nast, say the true value of apps like the New Yorker’s can’t be realized until readers are allowed to purchase subscriptions.

“It is important to the New Yorker that we have offerings that allow long-term relationships with the consumers,” said Conde Nast President Bob Sauerberg. “Obviously, we don’t have that in place for the moment with Apple. We are very keen to do that.”

The stranded by volcano magazine is out now

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 13, 2010

Stranded, a single-issue magazine produced by people who were stranded by the volcanic ash cloud back in April, is now available for sale.

What we’ve made of it all is an 88-page souvenir of a moment in time when a non-life-threatening crisis hit the world, one for which nobody was to blame, and nobody knew how long it would last. People scrambled to find alternative routes home, any way, any how, or tried to make the best of wherever fate had placed them. It was a moment of unplanned disruption, never to be repeated in quite the same way. The perfect subject for a magazine, in fact.

Over 50 people contributed…it looks really nice.

Best magazine covers

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 07, 2010

Vote for your favorite magazine cover from the past year. Lots of nice work in there.

The timeless design of National Geographic

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 19, 2010

A look at how little the essential design of National Geographic magazine has changed since its introduction in 1888.

National Geographic’s front cover is a great example of how well simple branding can be tied to a product or message. In this case, the slightly warm yellow has become a symbol of wonderful photography, intriguing articles and serves as a doorway into places worlds away.

I have fond memories of Fleer’s otherwise forgettable 1991 set of baseball cards because of the yellow border…probably NatGeo spill-over.

The best magazine articles

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 27, 2010

Kevin Kelly is compiling a list of really good magazine articles. Lots of good Instapaper chum there already.

Some Sassy scans

posted by Jason Kottke   May 26, 2010

The Style Rookie gets ahold of a bunch of old issues of Sassy and scans in a couple dozen pages, including a fashion layout featuring Sassy intern Chloë Sevigny.

Sassy Chloe

Sassy seems to be one of those rare magazines that is dearly missed but doesn’t really have a modern day analogue. (See also Might and Spy.)

Magazine magic trick

posted by Aaron Cohen   May 18, 2010

Bon Apetit and other high end food magazines expected to gain from Gourmet’s demise 6 months ago, in both subscribers and advertising pages. In an amazing disappearing act, achievable only by the magazine industry, Gourmet’s subscribers and advertisers have mostly disappeared.

Bon Appetit’s circulation was forecast to bloom as it absorbed former readers of Gourmet, and other magazines began eyeing Gourmet’s list of more than 900,000 subscribers…The Gourmet readership and ad base seem to have largely vanished.

Stranded by volcano magazine

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 20, 2010

Attention designers, writers, photographers, illustrators, art directors: are you stranded in Europe or elsewhere by the volcanic ashcloud? Join Andrew Losowsky in producing a magazine.

If you’d like to be a part of the core creative team who will put together this impromptu publication, let me know as well. The only criterion for any contributor is that, like me, you have to be stuck somewhere unintentionally. If all goes well, the results will be published, probably via MagCloud and/or the Newspaper Club, and any proceeds sent to a charity that helps mitigate the effects of climate change on human populations. After all, we have to repent somehow.

Publication name to consider: The Eyjafjallajokull End-Times.

A nice iPad magazine

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 02, 2010

Based on their great Mag+ concept unveiled late last year, Bonnier and BERG have developed a really nice looking iPad version of Popular Science. No page-turning business…you swipe left/right to page through stories and then scroll to read through single stories.

What amazes me is that you don’t feel like you’re using a website, or even that you’re using an e-reader on a new tablet device — which, technically, is what it is. It feels like you’re reading a magazine.

It’s nice to see the original concept come to life so quickly and completely. Get it in the App Store.

George Lois on his favorite Esquire covers

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 10, 2010

Legendary art director George Lois shares his memories about his twelve favorite Esquire covers.

He tells how the job came about: “I was a well-known advertising agency guy, and the former editor of Esquire, Harold Hayes, he called me up. We met at The Four Seasons, and he said, ‘Could you help me try to do better covers?’ I got this Bronx accent, and he had this southern drawl, and it must have been a funny discussion. ‘You have to go outside and find a designer, a guy who’s talented at graphic design, but understands politics, culture, and movies,’ I told him, and he said, ‘Do me a favor, could you do me just one cover?’ I said, ‘Okay, I’ll do you one.’”

Here’s one I’d never seen before, featuring Chief John Big Tree, the supposed model for the Indian Head nickel.

Esquire March 64

The future of magazines, maybe, pt 2

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 17, 2009

Magazine publishers Bonnier and BERG, a London design consultancy, have collaborated on a digital magazine prototype called Mag+. The conceptual device is impressive in its restraint and its truth to form and function.

We find that the graphical page-turning metaphors that you see quite frequently in web-based e-magazine readers are not terribly believable, and they don’t feel very honest to the form of the screen. […] Scrolling systems are more appropriate to what we’re dealing with.

Sing it, brother! Also of note is the way that the video takes the conventional “let me talk over some graphics” screencast and presents it in a much more compelling way.

I.D. Magazine no more

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 16, 2009

I.D. Magazine folds after 55 years of publication ; the design world mourns. The staff didn’t even know it was coming.

Fire and Knives

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 14, 2009

I really like the cover on the first issue of Fire & Knives, a subscription-only food magazine based in the UK.

Fire And Knives

(via eat me daily)

The future of magazines, maybe

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 03, 2009

Nice concept for a Sports Illustrated e-reader interface.

Life Magazine archive, online for free

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 19, 2009

Every issue of Life Magazine until the end of 1972 is available on Google Books for free. This archive joins Google’s already impressive archive of millions of photos from Life. (via footnotes of mad men)

New issue of Emigre magazine, sort of

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 19, 2009

The influential design magazine Emigre stopped publishing issues back in 2005, but now they’re releasing issue No. 70, which is actually a hardcover book celebrating the best of Emigre from the past 25 years.

This book, designed and edited by Emigre co-founder and designer Rudy VanderLans, is a selection of reprints, using original digital files, tracing Emigre’s development from its early bitmap design days in the late 1980s through to the experimental layouts that defined the so called “Legibility Wars” of the late 1990s, to the critical design writing of the early 2000s.

(via quipsologies)

Early Anna Wintour work

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 18, 2009

Fashionologie has a bunch of New York magazine spreads that Anna Wintour (currently editor of Vogue and subject of The September Issue) did when she was a fashion editor there in the early 1980s.

The September Issue trailer

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 10, 2009

The September Issue is the much-anticipated documentary that follows Anna Wintour and her staff at Vogue through the process of creating the magazine’s September issue, AKA the world’s thickest magazine issue.

An apt demonstration that an editor/curator’s main job is saying no to almost everything.

The story that takes 1,000 years to read

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 22, 2009

The recently published Infinity issue of Opium Magazine has a nine-word story printed on the cover that will take 1,000 years to read.

The cover is printed in a double layer of standard black ink, with an incrementally screened overlay masking the nine words. Exposed over time to ultraviolet light, the words will be appear at different rates, supposedly one per century.

But just as technology is increasing the speed of the media cycle, so too can it defeat the purpose of this experiment and allow us to read the story well before 1000 years. A UV source much stronger than the Sun should do the trick.

The Worst magazine

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 04, 2009

The first issue of The Worst magazine rounds up the worst toys, the worst celebrities, and the worst art.

The Worst Magazine

(via design observer)

Still. Old. Friend.

posted by Jason Kottke   May 01, 2009

The Morning News polls their (presumably) wired, urban, and young readership: which print magazines and newspapers do you still read? Me: The New Yorker, The NY Times on the weekend, and the occasional copy of Wired from the newsstand. Bound paper is still a wonderful high resolution medium for transmitting information.

Update: The literary crew at The Millions takes up the same question.