2016 roundup: The year’s most eye-catching magazines

by Steve Watson in December 2016
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Art & design

Running the Stack Awards this year we were amazed by the sheer volume of excellent independent publishing that hit the shelves in 2016.

It’s one thing to make a good looking magazine, but time and again over the last 12 months we’ve seen teams that match interesting and original ideas with excellent graphic design to create top quality titles. Take a look through the list below to see some of the ones that jumped out at us over the last 12 months…

January: Unstate magazine
We loved the clever and playful outside back cover on Unstate magazine, which recreated Pasolini’s Salo with a distinctly 21st-century twist.

March: Gather Journal
This issue of food magazine Gather Journal would go on to win Best Use of Photography at the Stack Awards in December, but even back in March we knew there was something special about their outstanding food photography, which takes its inspiration from the American Museum of Natural History.

April: Ordinary magazine
It’s incredible to think that Ordinary magazine, now four issues in, released its first instalment this year. Immediately distinctive and brilliantly weird, it stands out as easily one of our favourite newcomers.

April: Disegno magazine
A fresh design gave Disegno new purpose in April, pushing the magazine’s written content to the fore and showcasing the extraordinary depth of knowledge held within its pages.

May: Pylot magazine
We delivered the all-analogue delights of Pylot to Stack subscribers in May, showcasing a photography magazine that has turned its back on digital in favour of the craftwork and challenges that come from working with film.

June: 212 magazine
Another newcomer in 2016, 212 magazine impressed straight away with its oversized pages. Whether reworking familiar photography or presenting something totally new, it established itself as a fresh and exciting new title out of Istanbul.

July: Amuseum magazine
Delivered by Stack in July, we reckon this issue of Amuseum is their best yet. Absolutely packed with fun and personality (and flappy toilet paper) it makes brilliant use of illustration to establish an irresistible editorial voice.

August: Real Review
The winner of our Launch of the Year category in the Stack Awards, Real Review rethought the structure of the print magazine by adding an extra vertical fold, creating a whole new reading experience. We got very excited about this one.

September: Nicht Jetzt
A magazine made by the students at HAW Hamburg, Nicht Jetzt is an embarrassment of editorial design riches, from the barrier grid slipcase to the double-bound pages inside. Take a look at the video below and marvel at what happens when design students go wild.

October: The Outpost
For their issue on ‘Finding home’, The Outpost removed all the images from the magazine and supplied them instead on stickers, so that readers could choose where they should go, very literally giving them a home. A stark and alienating design concept, it made for a more difficult reading experience, but one that brilliantly underlines the disruption and displacement contained within the stories.

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