Trevor Johnson gives the modernist magazine a new landscape aesthetic

The modernist magazine has kicked off 2022 with a brand new look courtesy of renowned Manchester-based designer Trevor Johnson. The new aesthetic sees the quarterly magazine resign its previous, more narrow format in favour of gateway folds give the art and articles more room to breathe.

Trevor Johnson will need no introduction for devotees of the Manchester design scene. With a career spanning five decades under his belt, Trevor designed record sleeves during the Madchester scene, branded the legendary Hacienda nightclub and its owners Factory Records, and worked on branding commissions for the likes of Manchester United FC, Manchester International Airport, Granada Television, and Manchester City Council.

He's no stranger to the world of magazines either, having been featured in The Face and ID. And as a university lecturer on visual communication, branding and typography, the modernist magazine couldn't have been in safer hands when it came to giving their already distinctive and beloved publication a visual overhaul.

The redesign for the limited-edition quarterly magazine comes at a significant time. Having just celebrated its 40th edition and a decade in circulation, this was the perfect opportunity for the modernist magazine to shake things up. Titled 'Landscape', the square format features a cover image from Mikael Olsson's latest book for prestigious German publisher Steidl. Meanwhile, inside its pages, you'll find articles that explore the evolving relationships between humans, the non-human and the worlds they inhabit.

Overseen by guest editor Corinna Dean, the issue also sees Trevor joined by his younger brother and fellow highly-respected designer Craig Johnson to assist with crafting the publication's new identity. Lily Platt, an up and coming design talent, completes the set of designers working on 'Landscape'. Currently an artworker at Havas Lynx, Lily is a graduate of the Interior Design Institute and an illustrator and digital artist.

Eddy Rhead, co-publisher of modernist magazine, says: "The new format is quite a design departure from our previous issues, especially if you look back at our earlier editions.

"Trevor and Craig are leading lights in the design field, so we're over the moon to have them on board. Alongside brilliant new talent Lily, we have an amazing team of designers bringing some fresh new ideas to the magazine and taking us forward for (hopefully) many more editions to come."

Trevor adds: "I've known Eddy for a while through decades of Manchester activities. We originally connected about my archive and subsequently an exhibition we did for the 40th anniversary of Factory at their gallery. Tony (Wilson) had a theory of praxis for making things happen that 'you learn the reasons for doing something by doing it', which is very much the Modernist ethos. I like their commitment to being a Manchester independent and tried to do my bit for their cause.

"Design for print is my background, so when they said they wanted to change the look of the magazine, I was keen to help. For me, if it's about celebrating modernism in taking influences from the '50s, '60s and '70s Swiss and Italian publications, and then those classic references should be reflected in the overall style. Function over form is always a priority, addressing fundamental principles of legibility and navigation on a grid to set the tone."

Landscape, the 41st issue of the modernist magazine, is available to purchase online now. Meanwhile, you can read more about the publication's recent 40th birthday here.


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