How to make 40 issues on a shoestring budget

by Kitty Drake in October 2021
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Architecture Art & design

Architecture and design magazine The Modernist has released its 40th issue. It’s a milestone for any piece of print but particularly significant for a magazine which “carries no advertising and is run on a shoestring budget”, as editors Jack Hale, Eddy Rhead and Ashiya Eastwood write in their opening letter.

To mark the occasion, the magazine has asked favourite contributors to celebrate one of their favourite objects. The resulting issue (entitled ‘Kudos’) is a collection of adored things, from Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’, to the ‘Lucy boxes’ (iron boxes on street corners used to house electrical systems), to Bic pen adverts, to Campari bottle labels.

The issue begins with Ken Garland’s ‘First Things First’ manifesto, initially published in 1964, which stated that graphic designers must stop contributing to the commercial culture of visual noise-pollution, and instead make worthwhile contributions to society. “We have reached a saturation point at which the high pitched scream of consumer selling is no more than sheer noise.” The manifesto continues: “We think that there are other things more worth using our skill and experience on.”

The Modernist, read in this context, feels like a worthy ‘thing’; free and crucially uncommercial space in which the designer can use her skill for love, not money.

Below we’ve photographed particularly beautiful spreads.

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