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Mission Control / Design

5 Print Pubs We Wish We’d Designed

Our art directors dish on the magazines giving them inspiration (and a severe case of design envy).

Magazine inspiration

1. New York magazine

“I tend to consume a lot of my news digitally, but for a little bit of everything, I love picking up a print copy of New York magazine. Founded in part by one of my own design heroes, Milton Glaser, in 1977, the publication continues to remain relevant with interesting, fresh content ranging from culture to finance. It has a distinct style and has produced a number of iconic covers.” —Audrey Hall, Art Director

2. ESPN the Magazine

“Because it just recently ceased publication, let’s take a minute to appreciate the 21 years of excellence delivered by ESPN the Magazine. Sure, it had dynamic subject matter to work with, but the publication always found ways to show readers the world of sports from interesting and sometimes provocative angles. And as sports became more data-driven, ESPN the Magazine responded with infographics that helped make sense of it all — beautifully.” —Marc Oxborrow, Creative Director

3. Essence magazine

“I’m a loyal devotee to Essence, a lifestyle publication that focuses its stories on African-American women. In each issue of a magazine that has been around since the 1970s, Essence still manages to inspire and invigorate their readers with their vibrant colors, art direction and subject matter. Recent Essence covers and articles serve as a testimony as to how Black culture, power and beauty is championed and celebrated. I especially love the use and placement of their color schemes and fonts in their latest format refresh a few years ago.” —Felicia Penza, Art Director

4. Romance Journal

Romance Journal is an indie magazine and is a breathtaking exercise in design and art. With its oversize format and luxurious matte stock, each layout plays with color, type and photography in a way that sadly is hard to find in most glossy magazines. As a magazine put together by designers, its subject matter surprised me by challenging what ‘creatives’ think and talk about, deemphasizing industry tropes.” —Lizelle Galaz, Senior Art Director

5. Communication Arts

“One of my all-time favorite pubs, Communication Arts is a bi-monthly featuring amazing typography, illustration and design. I love that they not only feature big projects you’ve probably seen the wild, but they also feature smaller creators from across the world. Each issue dedicates the design and layout entirely to the theme of each issue, using dynamic typography and dedicating entire spreads to the work submitted. And the covers are incredibly well done. They don’t limit themselves design-wise, which makes each issue more innovative than the last.—Sheriden VanHoy, Art Director

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