Stack Awards 2019: Magazine of the Year

by Kitty Drake in November 2019
Share on Facebook, Twitter or Copy Link

Magazine of the Year is our biggest award. We had over 100 entries, and the process of narrowing that down to 15 was quite painful. Most of the magazines that made the shortlist already have a few issues under their belts. Covering wildly different topics — weed, manga, Greek military shorts — what all these magazines have in common is a dazzling sense of craftsmanship; a kind of maniacal dedication to the beauty of their subject-matter, and the beauty of print.

Our judges for this award are Pentagram partner Astrid Stavro and It’s Nice That founder Will Hudson. Scroll down to see the competition.


Anxy | Berkeley, CA

Anxy, the California-based magazine dedicated to inner worlds, has stopped publishing this year and we are very upset about it. The fourth issue, themed ‘Masculinity’, is deeply personal: a paramedic deployed to Afghanistan writes about his feeling that he didn’t do enough to help the soldiers in his care; a visual feature about rage and catharsis in a teen skate community in the Appalachian mountains is couched in the photographer’s need to work through her own violent upbringing.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Anxy (@anxymag) on

Archivio | Turin

Archivio is the first magazine in the world that is created exclusively by mining archival documents. From Mickey Mouse to the Manhattan Project, this issue gives a sweeping view of 20th-century America.

Eye on Design | New York, NY

This issue of Eye on Design is all about distraction. Jewels inside include manga, an investigation of the role design plays in online porn, and a quiz: “What kind of procrastinator are you?”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by AIGA Eye on Design (@aigaeyeondesign) on

Fantastic Man | London

The 30th issue of men’s fashion title Fantastic Man has been completely redesigned. Wonderfully niche, this edition is all based around Greece and looks at a specific vision of Greek masculinity. Expect military shorts and an Athenian monk.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Fantastic Man (@manfantastic) on

Flaneur | Berlin

Flaneur themes every issue around just one street. Rather than being a limitation the editorial team see this as a liberation: Flaneur moves away from grand, vague narratives towards something more specific, and human. Psycho-geography at its most creative and empathetic, stories come together via folklore, reportage and conversations overheard in bars.

Foam | Amsterdam

Featuring images of mating lions and two soldiers snogging — Foam is an unusually funny photography magazine. Number 54 is themed around games, and it investigates the powers at play in our society, with an emphasis on humour and failure.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Foam Magazine | #foammagazine (@foam_magazine) on

Gossamer | New York, NY

Gossamer is a “weed magazine that’s not about weed”. The ‘Night’ issue mixes serious pieces with more dreamy ones. Highlights include an interview with ex-cocaine dealer Hector Guadalupe about finding Wellness in prison, and an ode to sleeping naked.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Gossamer (@gossamer) on

MacGuffin | Amsterdam

Macguffin themes every issue around an object — this time it’s trousers. Ridiculously good from start to finish, our favourite bits include an essay on the “scumbro” aesthetic, as seen on Justin Bieber, and pictures of jean crotches adorned with bolts, chains and, sometimes, barbed wire.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by MacGuffin Magazine (@macguffinmagazine) on

Migrant Journal | London

Migrant Journal no. 5 is themed ‘Micro odysseys’, and looks at the very small: from sand to micro-plastics, seeds to protons, bacteria and mosquitoes. Always surprising, it breaks from the cliches on migrants and migration.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Migrant Journal (@migrant_journal) on

Mold | New York, NY

Instead of promoting aspirational images of food and drink, Mold questions why we eat the things we do, and how that might need to change if we’re going to meet the demands of feeding a rapidly expanding global population. This issue is themed ‘Designing for the Senses’.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by MOLD (@thisismold) on

Pan & the Dream | New York, NY

An annual visual arts magazine, this issue has a singular, dream-like theme: man’s attempts to get to the moon. Pan is enormous, and its impracticality is part of the appeal. Sitting down with it feels luxurious; a deliberate contrast to crouching over your phone screen.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Pan & The Dream (@panandthedream) on

Perdiz | Barcelona

Perdiz is a magazine about happiness. That could be twee but it’s actually weird, and moving. People do strange things to try and make themselves happy: like pretend to be Elvis’ private detective; or try to escape the angst of human existence by living as a goat. 

Real Review | London

Featuring an interview with Chelsea Manning and a 16-page insert by photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, Real Review no. 8 is all about disrupting power from the inside. The issue grapples with political motives — clean and unclean — to understand what, if anything, can affect change.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Real Review (@realrvw) on

Suspira | London

The fetish issue of feminist horror magazine Suspira has a special silky cover, designed to feel like latex. It was released in November 2018, and pieces respond to that context: “a time where we as women still felt that our bodies were not our own and that openly enjoying sex served as an excuse to invade our space”.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Suspira Magazine (@suspiramagazine) on

This is Badland | Berlin

Dotted with winged eyeballs and an ancient, disembodied head, the third issue of This Is Badland turns inward to examine the “cult of the self”. A magazine about art and culture in the Balkans, and much of the work here is monstrous — in a thrilling way.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BADLAND MAGAZINE (@thisisbadland) on

Winners will be announced on November 14 at the Stack Awards ceremony at Somerset House. Tickets are available now.

Close Icon

Join our magazine club! Subscribe to Stack and every month we'll pick a different independent title and deliver it to your door. You never know what you'll get next...

Subscribe now