20 independent magazines that every creative should have on their coffee table

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

If you're going to be creative, then you've got to have at least a few subscriptions of independent magazines under your belt.

Covering everything from art and design to travel and opinion – there are plenty of beautifully printed titles out there, just waiting to be bought 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 awesome on your coffee table. Here is Creative Boom's list of 20 recommended independent magazines.

1. Offscreen

Offscreen is a periodical with an in-depth look at digital creators' life and work — captured in enduring print. It tells the less obvious human stories of creativity, passion and hard work that hide behind every interface. Beautiful every time.

2. The Happy Reader

The Happy Reader is a unique magazine about reading for anyone who wishes to stay inspired, informed and entertained. With beautiful typography, the magazine is a design object which celebrates the pure pleasure of reading and the calming luxury of being offline.

Each issue is split into two halves. The first half is an in-depth interview with a book fanatic, and the second half gets under the skin of one classic work of literature.

3. Lagom

Lagom is a celebration of innovation and creativity: a publication about people making a living from their passions and looking at pastime activities that offer inspiration. Borrowing from the Swedish word that represents having just the right amount of something, the bi-annual magazine features those who achieve a sense of balance in their everyday and professional lives.

Printed on thick, uncoated stock, with a foil-blocked cover — there are 128 pages of inspiration that you’ll want to keep on your bookshelf. Lagom was founded by Elliot and Samantha Stocks and is based in Bristol, UK, with a team of contributors worldwide.

4. Another Escape

Another Escape is an outdoor lifestyle and creative culture publication that explores passionate people's stories and the motivations behind their inspirational lifestyles. The editorial team covers a disparate selection of subject matter all deep-rooted in exploration, creativity, innovation and discovery. They are "gentle and humble in tone with an investigative nature and look for interesting practices in which people can be exploratory or creative in unusual and extraordinary ways". The magazine aims to be a source of inspiration for those seeking a fulfilling lifestyle.

5. Works That Work

Works That Work is a new international design magazine that looks beyond mere portfolios, a magazine dedicated to inspiration and observation, conditions and contexts, and a kind of National Geographic of design. It's interested in the manifestations of unexpected creativity. Practical, positive, detached from artists’ egos, searching the globe to bring you works that work.

6. Delayed Gratification

Delayed Gratification is the world’s first Slow Journalism magazine. It’s a beautiful printed quarterly publication that revisits the previous three months' events to see what happened after the dust settled, and the news agenda moved on. It is proud to be ‘Last to Breaking News’. A must-read!

7. Monocle

Launched in February 2007, Monocle is a global briefing on international affairs, business, culture and design headquartered in London. In print Monocle’s 10 issues a year are dense, book-ish and collectable and call on a global team of staff editors and over 30 correspondents from Beirut to Milan, Washington to Singapore.

8. Kinfolk

Kinfolk is a slow lifestyle magazine published by Ouur that explores ways for readers to simplify their lives, cultivate community and spend more time with their friends and family.

Founded in 2011, Kinfolk is now the leading independent lifestyle magazine for young creative professionals and produces international editions in Japan, China, Korea and Russia. Published quarterly, Kinfolk maintains a vibrant contributor base from Copenhagen to Cape Town and hosts hundreds of global events that bring the community together.

9. The Gourmand

A Gourmand is a person who takes pleasure and interest in food of all kinds, and The Gourmand is a new food and culture journal that binds inspirational words, images and ideas with the humble and universal subject of food.

Based in London, The Gourmand is inspired not only by a true passion for food and dining but by the exciting influx of new restaurants, bars, cafe’s, stalls and ingredients that are increasingly available to us. The Gourmand was born to share this exciting cultural shift and celebrate food as a catalyst for creativity.

10. Weapons of Reason

Weapons of Reason is an eight-issue publishing venture to understand and articulate the interconnected global issues shaping our world. Each issue is split into three sections, taking a deep dive into its chosen topic's past, present, and future. Weapons of Reason isn't about finding answers; it's about asking the right questions, exploring the facts at hand and providing ways to inspire action.

11. The Great Discontent

The Great Discontent (TGD) is a tri-annual magazine featuring candid interviews with those who create. Focusing on beginnings, creativity, and risk, TGD provides a memorable look into its subjects' lives via long-form interviews and short features collected into a beautifully designed print artefact.

12. Oh Comely

Oh Comely is a magazine that makes people smile, full of quiet moments and stories. It inspires people to be creative, talk to their neighbours and explore new things. There are adventures that capture the feeling of being free, stories from people with tales to tell, recipes to warm your heart, and crafty things to make—all these things, wrapped up in beautiful words, illustration and photography.

13. Cereal

Cereal is a quarterly publication structured in a literary style, with chapters focusing on various niche topics. Each volume of Cereal contains detailed expositions of food, travel destinations, as well as profiles on products, people and places – chosen because 'they’re relevant, interesting, or have simply caught our attention'. Each topic is treated as a chapter, often featuring various articles within it (including a bibliography, when applicable). This allows the subject to be explored in-depth, giving it the attention and focus it deserves.

14. Remarkable

Remarkable is a magazine showcasing remarkable humans doing remarkable things to help people live better and harm less: "We understand that our global population grows while resources shrink, but we believe the solution lies in making simple, graceful and thoughtful choices. Our mission is to inform when you ask why; inspire when you ask how and be there to help when you're ready to make a remarkable change.

"With every issue, we will focus on a specific topic and curate the stories, people and products dedicated to addressing that issue. We organise it this way because these issues are deep and deserving of thoughtful attention. We don't expect you to digest it all at once; rather we invite you to explore at your own pace. As you read through the magazine, let the ideas sit with you, and the questions arise naturally."

15. Courier

Courier reports on progressive business culture across various industries from startups and tech to fashion, media, design, finance and craft. Launched in March 2013, Courier has grown rapidly and now reaches over 30,000 readers through over 250 London stockists and worldwide via its online store and international stockists.

16. Dumbo Feather

Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people. Dumbo Feather is a magazine about these people. In each issue, its team scours the globe for those with the drive to make a difference, seeking out those who inspire us, those who excite us, and those who thrill us with possibility. Whether they’ve touched millions or just those nearby, what unites them is their passion.

17. Dirty Furniture

Dirty Furniture is a new independent biannual design magazine that uncovers the relationship between people and the things they live with. The magazine’s goal is to take a lateral approach to write about design. Conceived as a finite series of six, each taking a piece of furniture as its theme. Instead of dismissing furniture as a topic fit only for glossy lifestyle publications, Dirty Furniture instead uses it as a springboard to explore topics spanning politics, history, technology, psychology, manufacturing…and the plain weird.

18. The Carton

The Carton is an independent print publication about food culture and the Middle East. Intelligently written with plenty of tasty insight for all those food lovers out there.

19. Standart

Standart is a magazine about coffee culture. More than a hundred pages of genuine words about people behind great coffee. Every creative loves a nice brew. Sit back and enjoy this heartwarming and delicious mix of stories.

20. Fresh Paint

Fresh Paint Magazine always features a vibrant selection of emerging and established international artists. Printed bi-monthly, the independent titles was founded by Ekaterina Popova and first published in Philadelphia in 2013. Always full of inspiration if you love your art.