Fall is an exciting time of year for me because all of the mammoth-sized September issues of fashion magazines start showing up in my mailbox. And over the last few years, a lot of mass market catalogs have taken notice and picked up on their editorial cues.
When it comes to design, one of the consistently best catalogs around is J. Crew. I always love flipping through their Style Guides The type is always crisp, the layouts have a ton of white space and it’s much more artsy than what you’d usually expect from a chain of their size.
I love catalogs because I feel like they’re a time capsule of what’s happening in fashion and design right at the present moment. They’re a great reference point to see what’s trending.
Grab your very own free Style Guide right here.
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I was at Barnes & Noble over the weekend and after flipping through the fashion and design magazines and not seeing anything that caught my eye, I moved on to the skate and surf section where I knew there was one safe bet: Monster Children. As usual, it did not disappoint. Issue 43 is guest edited by Mike D of the Beatsie Boys and has an additional 50 pages. And, I can assure you that those extra 50 pages are not just fluff and ads — the design and content are as solid as ever.
The great thing about bringing in a guest editor is that they have their own unique flavor. They are given the freedom to choose the interview subjects and features, all while staying in the style and format of the magazine. Mike D obviously knows a whole cast of intriguing characters from the music, skate and art worlds so it’s pretty great to see things from his perspective. More magazines need to hand over the reigns!
The design of Monster Children is always on point but this issue, with its colored stripes and play on the scale of type throughout is the best I’ve seen. I’ve worked on enough editorial print projects to have an idea of how much work this issue must have took to pull together and I am so glad there’s still people out there that believe in producing solid publications that marry unique design and content. There’s no boring celebrity profiles or watered down fashion spreads here. It’s real, it’s raw and it’s well designed.
Featured: Monster Children Issue #43.
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I’ve been reaching for Paper Mag again lately, drawn to its unique set of design cues. It’s never overly polished — I love the bright, spray painted details and the image-heavy collages that cover its pages.
Launched in New York City in 1984, Paper began as an oversized black and white fold-out paper that was produced in the New York Times offices.
Focusing on pop culture, I like that it still has its edge — there’s a dash of the New York social and party scenes, fashion editorials that never take themselves too seriously and celebrity interviews that never get too precious.
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I’ve missed posting as many Typofiles lately so here’s a note that I’m bringing it back more often.
And with that declaration, one magazine that always seems to make its way into my must read stack is Monster Children. The content is geared towards skate and surf culture but the design is so consistently spot-on that I plunk down my debit card even though I haven’t been on a skateboard since I was 14.
Part of what makes Monster Children so awesome is that it’s not afraid to take chances. In a way, it reminds me of Ray Gun back in the day — designers had a pretty strong reaction to David Carson’s style (there was never anyone who was on the fence about it — it was full-on love or hate) and I feel like Monster Children is a more controlled version of that in-your-face design sense. Text marches off the pages, content is rotated sideways, copy runs over images…but the result is always somehow…beautiful.
Featured: Monster Children Magazine
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Just like everyone else, my mailbox seems to be overflowing with junk mail on most days. So when something really good does show up, it definitely stands out. A catalog from House Industries is always a welcome arrival. The latest issue is dedicated to the very awesome Neutraface Slab.
I grabbed a stack of catalogs and magazines (including this beauty) to peruse when I hit the road — my (very) temporary digs in Venice felt like the perfectly cozy place to play catch-up on reading material. Sidenote: I want a table like that someday!
I’ve long admired the extreme care House Industries takes when it comes to the details of their products and they put that same attention into every one of their catalogs. They’re definite keepsakes.
The best part about House Industries catalogs? They’re completely free! Finally, your mailbox doesn’t have to be such a pit of despair.
Have you signed up yet?
Featured: House Industries Neutraface Slab Lookbook
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I’ve long felt that skate and surf magazines have some of the best design out there and Beached Days is no exception. I’m always scanning Barnes & Noble for new titles and this magazine caught my attention with its blazing yellow cover coupled with minimal headlines.
Inside, the photos take center stage while the typography follows tight grids. High impact action shots are balanced by simple type treatments and the occasional smattering of dots.
Only on its fourth issue, the magazine already has a recognizable style — I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
Featured title: Beached Days
Sunglasses: Cutie Dynamite
Over the last year, I’ve been crushing hard on the editorial design laced throughout Elle UK. During the holiday break, as I cleaned a solid 50 magazines out of my office closet, I came across this supplemental accessories guide.
What struck me most is that the design was completely of the moment but the executions were very timeless. Elle always balances edge with sophistication, both in its fashion and editorial design.
Throughout the pages, there was a fair amount of color blocking but it was done in completely unexpected pairings. Set in very standard columns, type was then rotated on the page. Dividing lines broke up content but instead of being black, they were done in full-on magenta. When it came to sunglasses, hand-drawn lines were woven through the page to draw attention to particular pairs. It’s all these subtle details that make the magazine such a standout.
Featured: Elle UK
All scans and photos: Shauna Haider
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