Print’s not dead: the best magazines for graphic design inspiration

When was the last time you read a printed magazine? For most of us, even some of us who work in the media, the answer is probably: “I can’t remember.” And in an era dominated by digital, one might be tempted to think that print has lost its relevance.

But that would be a mistake. Because honestly, the tactile experience of flipping through a beautifully designed magazine remains unmatched. It’s like the difference between watching a movie in the cinema versus the TV at home or those uncomfortable ‘Zoom drinks’ we had in the pandemic versus actually going to the pub. In short, if all you ever do is scroll through articles on your phone, you’re really missing out.

For graphic designers especially, print magazines offer a source of inspiration that’s tangible and immersive and presents content in a completely different visual way to digital. So, reading one is a great way to see design from a different perspective and get renewed enthusiasm for your craft.

To help you find the right title for your interests, we’ve gathered together the best magazines every graphic designer should consider subscribing to – in one accessible place.

Eye Magazine delves deep into the world of graphic design and visual culture. It’s academic yet accessible. Founded by Rick Poynor in 1990, the magazine is based in London and its latest issue, 104, features a profile of legendary art director designer Peter Knapp, an overview of Pentagram’s overhaul of The Philadelphia Inquirer, and a feature on motion design by editor John L. Walters. The next issue comes out in late October.

Why it inspires: Eye doesn’t just showcase designs; it tells the stories behind them, giving designers a comprehensive look at the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of standout design work.

Eye magazine

Eye magazine




Founded in 1959 by Richard Coyne and Robert Blanchard, Communication Arts remains one of the premier sources of inspiration for graphic designers around the globe today. It showcases the best in visual communications, from typography to illustration and everything in between. The publication is based in California and covers graphic design, advertising, illustration, photography, interactive design and typography.

The latest issue (64; Sep-Oct 2023) features the award-winning projects from its Annual Design Competition, along with in-depth profiles of Toronto-based animation studio Polyester Studio and São Paulo ad agency Leo Burnett Tailor Made, along with articles on advertising and design.

Why It Inspires: Apart from its meticulously curated content, the magazine itself is a testament to the power of good design, with every page exuding creative brilliance.

Idea is a magazine about graphic design and typography published quarterly in Tokyo. Founded in 1953 by Okumura Yukimasa, it’s a bilingual publication written in Japanese, but many of its texts also appear in English. It’s available in both print and digital editions.

The latest issue, 403, is titled ‘Typeface Design for the Voice of the World: The Works of Toshi Omagari’. This special issue focuses on a number of typeface designers who transcend traditional typeface design and calligraphy practices. It approaches history through the reprinting and re-engraving of European typefaces, features examples of custom typeface production and extensive collaboration, and shows the development of unique applications and digital devices for various typefaces and systems.

Why it inspires: Idea’s design is a play on colours, layouts, and paper types, creating a one-of-a-kind printed product. The magazine examines different creative scenes both locally and internationally, showcasing the works of Japanese designers from various regions, highlighting Arabic typographers, and more.

Idea magazine

Idea magazine




Popularly known as the bible of the advertising industry, Creative Review is a bimonthly print magazine focused on design, advertising, photography, branding, digital products, film, and gaming. It was originally launched in 1981 as a quarterly supplement to Marketing Week, then later became a stand-alone monthly magazine. These days, it’s not just a magazine but more of a platform that spans various mediums. Its print edition, however, remains a beacon for quality design work and thought-provoking articles.

The Autumn 2023 issue of Creative Review brings together profiles on the brands that are using creativity in novel ways, including Airbnb, Squarespace and Patagonia, together with the individuals who are shaping culture at large. Elsewhere, the mag steps inside the world of fashion via interviews with both Depop and digital artist Stephy Fung, who is expanding the possibilities of the industry in the virtual space.

Why it inspires: It’s always up-to-date with the latest trends and provides critical insights, making it essential reading for forward-thinking designers.

Slanted, which first debuted in 2004, is a biannual, book-like magazine that showcases select graphic design portfolios and discusses major events in the international design and culture scenes. It’s headquartered in Germany, and each issue focuses on a specific geographic location and explores the local design world in each one. Alongside the magazine itself, Slanted also operates a type foundry and a publishing house, focusing on art and design books and its own online design blog.

The latest issue, 41, focuses on Amsterdam. Released this April, the edition gathers a selection of Amsterdam’s most brilliant minds and provides deep insights into their work and values. Illustrations, interviews, essays, and an extensive appendix with many useful tips and an overview of the best Dutch writings complete the issue thematically.

Why it inspires: Slanted magazine is known for its innovative and visually striking layouts, typography, and artwork, and its international perspective is invaluable for graphic designers seeking to gain insights into different design trends and cultural influences.

Slanted magazine

Slanted magazine




TYPEONE is a bi-annual magazine focused on the evolving interaction between typography and graphic design. Founded and first published in 2020, it covers a wide variety of topics, using type as a gateway to open up important conversations and consistently spotlight the current and future generations of talented, creative humans from all parts of the world.

The organisation also runs You Creative Media (formerly Femme Type), a platform that empowers creatives to grow professionally and personally, and a curated online font marketplace, Type Department.

Issue 06 of the magazine delves into the world of experimental type, its cultural influence on the design industry, and the new type tools being used to create it. It includes features on the influence of AI, how experimental type meets streetwear culture, and how to design custom type, along with interviews including Bareis + Nicolaus and TWOMUCH. To learn more, read our article Why TYPEONE magazine is a must-read for graphic designers.

Why it inspires: Designers need to keep on top of new developments in typography, as it’s such a fast-changing world. TYPEONE saves you from scouring the web for type-related news, stories, concepts and new work and presents everything in beautifully physical form.

Type 01 magazine

Type 01 magazine




Wallpaper* was launched in London in 1996 by Canadian journalist Tyler Brûlé and Austrian journalist Alexander Geringer, and today covers design, interiors and lifestyle. While that’s a little off the point for graphic designers and illustrators, compared to other titles on this list, its approach to visual aesthetics still offers plenty of visual inspiration.

The latest issue (294, October 2023) includes a lighting round-up from interiors editor Olly Mason and a striking beauty shoot with Dior Make-up director Peter Philips. It also marks 20 years of the Rolex Mentors & Protégés project, visits Omer Arbel’s rare architectural offering in Vancouver, delves into Aesop’s restorative design ethos and visits Edra’s HQ to discuss its unique approach to furniture making.

Why it inspires: This iconic publication’s interdisciplinary approach pushes designers to think outside the confines of traditional graphic design, encouraging cross-pollination of ideas. Plus, on a purely superficial level, it’s the epitome of cool, so saying you saw something in Wallpaper* is likely to impress clients and colleagues alike!

link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *