20 independent magazines that every creative should have on their coffee table
As any creative professional will tell you, the more inspiration we can soak up, the better. But as we can't get out and see the world as much as we'd like, it's nice to have the world come to us. That's where printed magazines become so valuable, as they give us a wider perspective on global culture without having to leave our own doorstep.
Covering everything from art and design to travel and architecture – there are plenty of beautifully printed titles out there, just waiting to be purchased and treasured. From the carefully considered typography and visuals right through to the elegant copywriting and interesting stories featured, these are the type of magazines that will not only expand your mind, help you learn and discover new things; they will also look beautiful on your coffee table.
And as they're often artforms in themselves, these unique magazines are kept to enjoy for years to come, acting as archived inspiration to rediscover and browse whenever we run out of ideas and need a jolt of inspiration. Without further ado, here is Creative Boom's list of 20 recommended independent magazines, all updated for 2022.
1. Delayed Gratification
These days, most news journalism takes place online, which means that the competition to break a story first has reached a fever pitch. But in the process, the ordinary citizen is left a little short. With such an emphasis on the latest information, a lot of the wider context to events is left forgotten, leaving society with a very much unformed and disconnected view of what is actually going on in the world.
Hence, the rise of "slow news" takes more of a bird's eye view of the news, with the benefit of a little time and space. A great example of this approach can be found in the aptly named Delayed Gratification, a quarterly publication that revisits the events of the last three months to offer in-depth, independent journalism in an increasingly frantic world.
In its pages, you'll find reasoned, thoughtful and detailed articles that make you see events around the globe in a totally different way. Its latest issue, #44, looks back at July-September 2021 when the Taliban retook Afghanistan, Japan hosted a controversial Olympics, and Emma Raducanu pulled off the biggest of sporting upsets.
Another problem with mainstream news is that it tends to be very parochial, wherever you are. Monocle magazine was launched in 2007 to offer a more global view of politics, business, culture and design for an audience of readers eager to know what's going on beyond their national borders. Published in Zürich, it has an extensive network of correspondents in cities such as Milan, Bogotá and Paris, as well as bureaux in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Toronto.
The latest issue, #150, features a special report on humour and asks: what makes people laugh around the world, can politicians be funny, and why do people keep telling jokes that could land them in jail? It also features a report from the ground in a changing Ukraine, puts some fresh activewear through its paces, and learn the value of a tongue-in-cheek attitude to advertising.
Kinfolk is a print magazine centred on quality of life issues for a global community of creative professionals from London to Tokyo. Launched in 2011, it takes deep dives into issues surrounding the home, work, style and culture, and its quarterly print magazine is sold in over 100 countries in four languages.
The latest issue of Kinfolk, #42, addresses technology by focusing on the systems that underpin it, from the philosophy of Silicon Valley to the inscrutable laws of algorithms. There are also articles by Dev Hynes on music, Rawdah Mohamed on fashion and Fernando Caruncho on garden design.
Cereal is a biannual travel, art and style magazine based in the UK. Rather than trying to cover too many places at once and failing to go into any depth with any of them, each issue focuses on a select number of destinations. You'll also find engaging interviews and stories on unique design, art, and fashion.
The latest issue, #21, In this volume, is themed on the subject of preservation. Its writers visit the Goetheanum in Switzerland and rediscover the work of Auguste Rodin and the designs of Hvidt & Mølgaard. They also tour the collections of Sir John Soane's Museum and the Oxford Botanic Garden and contemplate memory and identity.
5. Dumbo Feather
Entrepreneurship isn't just about having extraordinary ideas. It's also about having the drive, energy and determination to make them succeed. Headquartered in Victoria, Australia, Dumbo Feather is a magazine about the extraordinary people you do so. In each issue, they score the globe to find passionate people to inspire, excite, and thrill its readers with possibility.
The latest issue, #68, is an ode to the spaces we cherish and have missed over the last two years of Australia lockdowns. The magazine gets inside the studios of artists, explore some of Melbourne's iconic eating spaces, walk through abundant backyard gardens, and explore places in the wilderness that have sustained life for millennia.
6. Dirty Furniture
Furniture normally only in appears magazines only as a community; a thing to buy and sell. Dirty Furniture, in contrast, uses furniture as a springboard to explore wider societal topics. Conceived as a finite printed series of six, this unusual publication showcases design's best writers and emerging talents.
Each issue takes a piece of furniture as its theme and uses it to examine topics including politics, design, history, technology, psychology, manufacturing, art, and the plain weird. The current edition, #5, is titled 'The Phone Issue' and boasts an exciting re-design by Studio Mathias Clottu. Inside, a series of insightful articles propose multiple ways of thinking about the phone – how we use it and how it uses us.
For many of us, coffee isn't just something you drink; it's a way of life. Drawing on this passion and interest, Standart is an award-winning, quarterly print magazine dedicated to the beauty of coffee. Created by people who believe that good coffee should be accessible to everyone, it ships worldwide, bundled with speciality coffee for free. Every issue has 144 pages printed on high-quality FSC-certified paper with 15 articles, stories, interviews or essays from some of the brightest minds in coffee and beyond.
The latest issue, #25, looks at water alkalinity: how to test it and how a little knowledge could save you a lot of money. There are also interviews with Joachim Morceau of the Parisian cafe Substance about terroir, competition success, and 'trafficked' coffee; and Ashley Dean of London's Royal Ballet, who talks about managing insane schedules, getting plenty of rest, and the dreaded foam roller.
Riposte is a magazine and online platform that profiles bold and fascinating women who challenge power structures and stereotypes. Their interviews are full of honesty rather than media-trained responses, as the subjects candidly discuss their successes & failures, their work, their passions and perspectives. There is also a range of essays and features covering a broad range of issues, including art, design, music, business, innovation, politics, social justice and environmental issues.
The latest issue, #13, is titled 'The Care Issue'. Céline Semaan, the founder of Slow Factory Foundation, discusses sustainability, environmental justice and the importance of spiritual healing; designer Nicole McLaughlin shows us around her New York studio to explore her practice of turning trash into treasure; and artist Cassi Namoda reflects on the power of saying no, creating strong boundaries and the importance of embracing the duality of life.
9. Little White Lies
Passionate about movies since 2005, Little White Lies magazine is an institution in the world of serious film criticism. The leading independent voice in film combines cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism to champion great movies and the people who make them. The writing is never anything less than top-notch.
The current issue, #92, features an interview with writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson and our actor Alana Haim about their hit movie Licorice Pizza. There's also a round-up of all the prime cinematic cuts of 1973, a profile of the actor and entrepreneur Gary Valentine, and an obituary for Baxter Conrad.
Established in 1997 and based in Amsterdam, Frame is an industry-leading print magazine for interior designers. Believing that meaningful spaces enable people to work, shop, relax and live better, it's packed with positive energy, inspiration and ideas.
The latest issue, #144, examines the choices that the remote working revolution has left us with. While working from home suits some people, it's not for everyone. And yet soul-sapping commutes are something to which few want to return. This issue explores the middle ground regarding work-near-home spaces, what it takes to make them successful, and how they fit into an overall trend for more localised living.
Huck was launched in 2006 and was initially inspired by the worlds of surfing and skating. Its coverage has since broadened to cover the wider world of independent culture and combines award-winning photography and original journalism to celebrate people and movements that challenge the status quo.
The latest issue, #76, focuses on London grime MC and rapper Ghetts and how 2021 belonged to him. He's joined in the issue by artist Amalia Ulman, writer Derek Owusu, Palme d'Or-winning filmmaker Julia Ducournau, underground rapper Chris Crack, and more.
12. Positive News
It's important to know about the bad news in the world, but it can start to make you depressed after a while. So here's a print magazine setting out to right the balance and help you get a sense of perspective. Positive News is dedicated to quality, independent reporting about what's going right. That doesn't mean fluffy, though: this is rigorous and relevant journalism that is focused on progress, possibility, and solutions. Topics covered typically focus around social and environmental progress, with high-impact photography and beautiful visual design.
The latest issue, #108, introduces the men helping to end violence against women. Other features include 'How risky playgrounds teach resilience', 'The hairdresser to the homeless' and 'Pollution solution pioneers'.
13. The Skirt Chronicles
The Skirt Chronicles is a Paris-based publication exploring literature, fashion, culture and beyond. It prides itself on apportioning the same importance to photography as it does to the written word and is distributed in over 100 places worldwide. Its latest volume, VIII, features interviews with English actor Charlotte Rampling and American artist Brice Marden and the iconic Parisian shopping mall Beaugrenelle.
Eager to travel again now borders have started reopening? Then you'll want to check out adventure travel magazine Sidetracked, which features inspiring photography and stories of adventures around the globe. In the latest issue, #22, Graham Zimmerman faces rockfall and avalanche when temperatures reach a searing 12°C high on K2; Lewis Pugh swims in freezing waters across the Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland; and a more intimate and domestic side to Siberia is revealed by photographer Michael Turek and Sophy Roberts.
From independent publishing house Poet Press, which also publishes New Philosopher magazine, comes Womankind: an advertising-free women's magazine on self, identity and meaning in today's society. It features leading journalists, authors and artists and offers a mix of reporting and commentary on culture, creativity, philosophy, nature, and ways to live a more fulfilling life. The aim is to introduce ideas that challenge contemporary thought and conditioning.
The latest issue, #29, is themed on Saudi Arabia. Articles include the tale of a woman who grew up in the nomadic Bedouin tradition look, author Nicola Sutcliffe on what she discovered spending fours years collecting women's stories in the Middle East, and a look at learning a language as an adult, with advice from memory champions and memory experts.
A printed magazine that's independent and celebrates artists, creatives and designers, anyone its team of writers finds inspiring. Here, you'll find interviews alongside essays by a diverse mix of contributors and pages upon pages featuring beautiful shot editorials. Its latest edition features in-depth conversations with Matilda Goad, Bridie Hall, The Booth Sisters, David Vail, and more. We love Moon for its simple yet powerful cover designs, its gorgeous photography and ongoing discovery of creatives we've yet to read about.
After quite the disruptive start to the decade, many of us are dreaming of a simpler life and are taking steps to lessen our impact on the planet. Nomad is a magazine perfect for that growing appetite as it explores issues concerning quality of life, sustainability and society by "curating the ideas of a growing global creative community". This is a magazine featuring inspiring creative visionaries, eco-pioneers, artists, authors, architects, entrepreneurs and designers worldwide, giving us new perspectives that might shape our lives now and in future.
Editors Frank Wagner, founder of branding and communication agency hw.design, and Veronika Kinczli, creative director, have been working on Nomad together since 2015. Located in Munich, north of the Alps, at the heart of Europe, the magazine is produced by a dedicated Nomad team along with a worldwide network of authors and photographers.
For those who love Japan, Storied is an indie magazine that offers content both online and in print with inspiration for travel, food and drink, craft and design. There are also interviews with people whose stories give us a fascinating glimpse into the country's art and culture. This is slow and sustainable journalism at its best with touching personal narratives, beautiful photography, and considered recommendations for the curious explorer.
Deem is a biannual print journal and online platform focused on design as social practice. Founded by Alice Grandoit, Marquise Stillwell and Nu Goteh, it seeks to uncover meaningful stories, connections, and patterns that might "help us better understand our histories and imagine our futures". Issue three is titled Envisioning Equity and is led by a conversation between the Black Reconstruction Collective and Deem's co-founders, one that explores how we can "best understand equity as a complex design challenge that recognises and accounts for disadvantage, damage, and liability".
Another biannual magazine, Openhouse, is always worth the wait. Focusing on art, design, architecture and culture, it's a guide for creative people who share a desire to conserve values like tradition, nature, art and identity. Its latest issue focuses on art spaces around the Mediterranean, including Fondation Maeght in Saint Paul de Vence and Hauser & Wirth in Menorca, both of which provide plenty of inspiration and vision.
There's also a closer look at Espacio Micus in Ibiza and Salvador Dali's Portlligat home, along with Vincenzo de Cotiis' house in Pietrasanta, a home that "fully embraces the artistic spirit". With gorgeous photography throughout, Openhouse is essential for any creative passionate about interior design and architecture.