12 independent magazines for creatives to enjoy in 2023
Ditch your phone and pick up a beautiful printed magazine instead! We've got 12 deliciously different, independently published magazines for you to enjoy – all recommended by artists and designers like you who love the smell of fresh print.
We don't need to tell you that reading articles on your phone isn't great for your eyesight, and let's face it, it's not that satisfying an experience in general. The ability to scroll infinitely and get interrupted by annoying ads, clickbait distractions and social media rabbit holes means that even if it's an engaging article, your enjoyment of it is like to be severely disrupted.
If only there was a technology in which information could be presented in a user-friendly way, where every word and image was carefully curated, and you could see everything instantly, rather than having to wait for multiple pages to load. Okay, so you get our sense of irony, but be honest: when was the last time you actually sat down with a beautifully produced, lovingly written print magazine? If the answer is 'Too long', then we recommend you put that right as soon as possible.
In the article below, we've selected 12 incredible magazines for you to check out. All independently produced, these are titles that their makers and editors have poured their heart and soul into. So you're going to have a far more enriching time spending a couple of hours reading these publications than mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. And you won't need worry about running out of battery either!
Meanwhile, if you need more suggestions then the titles on last year's list are well worth checking out too. Special mention to local independents Unitom and Rare Mags for helping us pull this together.
TypeOne is a bi-annual magazine that uses creative type mediums as a gateway to explore topics such as culture, business, technology, innovation, and design. With every issue, it provides creatives with grounded pieces of advice from industry professionals to grow your skillsets and progress your careers, as well as relatable content from designers at all stages, inspirational stories, and unique perspectives on graphic design and typography.
In their latest issue, #05, they've teamed up with graphic design agency The Brand Identity as guest editor. The studio and its team of talented writers explore a variety of interesting topics, centred around the role typography and type design play in the world of visual identity design and branding.
When you're creating print magazines, it's tricky to keep coming up with a new angle, issue after issue. But Adbusters, an activist magazine devoted to challenging consumerism since 1989, somehow manages it. Each edition hones in on another devious technique used by Big Advertising and Big Tech, and the latest issue #163 is a case in point.
This edition hones in on the rise of AI art generators, in a brilliant inventive way. In short, one half of the issue was artificially created through prompts, the other by living, breathing humans. The result is a mighty clash of ideas, and the two approaches are reflected through opposing reversible covers.
3. Eye Magazine
Not to be confused with the political gossip sheet Private Eye (commonly known as 'The Eye'), this is a quarterly international magazine about graphic design and visual culture that's been running since 1990. Originally founded by Rick Poynor, a prolific writer on graphic design and visual communication, it currently comes to you from the desk and devices of editor John L. Walters.
Eye Magazine's latest issue, #103, features fine art photographer Garry Fabian Miller, Milanese communication design studio Tomo Tomo, illustrator Lucinda Rogers and visual artist Harry Willock. There are also features about the Congo conflict and Black Outdoor Art, a social initative using donated billboard space as a platform for positive, creative expression, by black British creatives.
Counterpoint offers a unique combination of independent journalism and beautiful illustration. Edited by illustrator and printmaker Bethany Thompson and journalist Sam Bradley, each issue has a different, unique theme and comes packed with original writing, thoughtful features and gorgeous original artwork.
Each issue of Counterpoint is hand bound and risograph printed in Edinburgh using soy-based inks and recycled paper, with quirks of printing making each copy of the magazine unique. All profits are shared equally between contributors, and the publication has been shortlisted three times for Stack's Best Use of Illustration award.
The latest issue, #23, focuses on the theme of failure. It's full of suprising, sad and inspiring stories about confronting failure, including interviews with artists and gardeners, essays about yearning, videogames and parenthood; and recipes for upside-down cake.
5. Pressing Matters
Founded by John Coe, Pressing Matters Magazine is an independently-run, 100-page publication, honing in on the people, passion and processes behind the artform of printmaking. Its latest issue, #20, is a celebration of colour.
Whether it's through an experimental, abstract approach to image-making or by using colour to remember a place or a feeling, this edition examines what the tones and hues we use say about us and how we see the world. Issue 20 of Pressing Matters Magazine also celebrates both the triumphs and struggles that creatives all face in our career journey.
6. Backstage Talks
Backstage Talks is a magazine of casual but in-depth dialogues on design and business. It's starting point is that our decisions as creatives shape and influence this complex world. If we're to make the right ones, we need to talk. This magazine is published by Milk, an international collective of journalists, editors, designers, communication planners, project facilitators, illustrators, animators, creators, photographers and visual artists.
The latest issue, #106, features a series of dialogues on design and business. Curiosity and excitement are necessary parts of any creative process, but how do we nourish them, especially in times of global anxiety and uncertainty? The publication asks leading creatives, including Kenya Hara, Giorgia Lupi, David Zilber, Cas Holman and Stefan Sagmeister, how they do it.
Perfect magazine is a fashion magazine with interesting quirks that offers an equal platform for big brands and independent creators alike. This publication is dedicated to changing format with each issue, to give each edition a unique feel and collectible quality. That makes it a desirable object in its own right: a tactile, sensuous product showcasing beautiful content, editorial and advertising in an elevated way.
Their first issue was a large square format made with hand printing methods and top quality papers. For the latest issue, #3, they decided to celebrate the achievements of the most outstanding figures in culture – from fashion, TV and music, to art, politics and design – in their first ever annual awards, entitled #PerfectCelebration.
8. The Entrepreneurs
The Entrepreneurs is Monocle's handbook for starting, improving or upending your business, offering you lots of ideas and inspiration. So if you have a business idea you'd like to make a reality, or are looking to take your existing company to the next level, this is the magazine for you.
The latest issue, #6, asks whether executive coaching works, profiles the slower cities to set up shop in, and picks the best brand logos. It also examines how Africa's diaspora are winning big in the wine retail space, investigates entrepreneurs running two companies at once, and reports from Bali, Jalisco and Sicily on how slow living and strong profits can go hand in hand.
Bi-monthly magazine Courier is packed with case studies, advice, tips and stories about creators, makers and dreamers who are working better and building lives they love. Reaching 100,000 readers in 26+ countries, it's found everywhere from Tokyo bookshops and Bangkok supermarkets to Atlantan co-working spaces and Brooklyn bodegas.
The latest Oct/Nov 2022 edition (#49) is all about building the business you want, offering advice, tips and insights from experts, and inspiring brand founders to help you take your life and work to the next level. Topics covered include the new rules of family business, creating hype on TikTok, emerging players in natural wine, how to build a waitlist and creating a transparent brand.
Based in Hong Kong, BranD is an Asian magazine offering insights into creativity, branding and visual communication. The theme of latest issue, #62, aims to explore and solve the most practical problems for designers after graduation. The publication invited 15 emerging designers and design studios from 10 different countries to share their journeys, via in-depth career development files, group interview with readers, and a report on design industry trends initiated by Dribbble.
11. Sociotype Journal
For anyone who loves stories around culture and society thrown together with beautiful type, then this hugely recommended offering by Sociotype will appeal. The foundry, which is run by London-based studio Socio, publishes its own printed magazine but with a twist: every issue acts as a type specimen as it explores a theme in one of its typefaces.
For its first outing, Sociotype is typeset in its serif superfamily, Gestura. And, as you'd expect, the issue's theme is aptly named The Gesture. "When words fail, our hands do the talking," reads its description. Hence, expect an exploration of raised fists, flicked Vs and power grips, VR mitts and cable knits with NASA, secret signs of the illuminati, street gangs and flight attendants, sign language poetry, greasy fingers, strap hangers, and discover the meaning of the word 'thist'.
12. Disco Pogo
Disco Pogo is the new, bi-annual, electronic music magazine from the original founders of seminal '90s title Jockey Slut, Paul Benney and John Burgess. A much-loved publication, it was launched to market following a successful Kickstarter last year.
You can now get your hands on issue one and two, the latter being a tribute to acid house with those featured being Daniel Avery, Ashley Beedle, David Holmes, Donna Summer, Eddie Chacon, Erol Alkan's Trash, Flesh at The Hacienda, and Honey Dijon to name a few.