By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
3:42 PM EDT, October 8, 2013
Bob Newman is a magazine designer. He’s been design director at New York, the Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly and other publications, but earlier this year an accident landed him in a coma for two weeks, and his recovery has been long and costly.
If he were a musician, his friends might organize a benefit concert, but the magazine world doesn’t (can’t) lend itself to such displays. Or can it? A new one-off newsprint publication called “My Favo(u)rite Magazine” suggests otherwise. Gathering contributions from nearly 90 print designers, it is a tribute to the beauty of magazines, and all the proceeds go to Newman and his family.
“My Favo(u)rite Magazine” is the brainchild of former Huffington Post senior editor Andrew Losowsky and Jeremy Leslie, who curates the magCulture website in London, and it’s a beauty: 64 pages of magazine covers and page spreads representing a variety of publications including Rolling Stone, Fast Company, Carlos, Bad Day and Blad. The unifying theme is design — a beautiful page, a beautiful image, a beautiful cover, anything that struck the eye of the contributors.
On one page, a 1977 cover of the (London) Sunday Times Magazine offers a technicolor Elvis Presley over a banner reading, “The King is Dead.” On another, “The Last Supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog,” published in 1971 in conjunction with the Realist, features an R. Crumb tableau inspired by “The Last Supper,” with Mr. Natural at center stage.
“Sadly, no one will ever stumble upon an old iPad app,” observes Bloomberg Businessweek creative director Richard Turley, who selected that Whole Earth Catalog cover, adding that this realization made him “want to fight for magazines — for print — harder than ever. Not for some selfish desire to keep making them myself (though … you know … that too), but because the magazine legacy that we’ve all inherited is too rich, too brilliant, too important to shrug off.” His conclusion? “We can’t let print drift off to irrelevance on our watch.”
I agree, but it’s bracing to see the point put so directly, and in service of such a cause. The contributors to “My Favo(u)rite Magazine” are not household names, except to those who follow design directors, but they include editors and designers at AOL, the New York Times Magazine, the Observer, Elle UK and dozens of other publications. It’s a labor of love, not only in regard to Newman, but also the magazine culture in which they all remain engaged.
“In the best magazines,” Leslie writes, “text, image and design combine on the page to become so much more than the sum of their parts,” and it is precisely this alchemy that “My Favo(u)rite Magazine” celebrates. It’s available for purchase at magCulture, in both print and PDF.
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