If you are looking for a diverse and interesting design magazine then Grafik is definately worthy of your attention.
Grafik is a London based, independent monthly design magazine. It offers current information about the Graphic Design industry and examples from the most cutting-edge work today's designers have to offer. The free-minded editorial seeks opinions from the industry's leading experts and each month's edition contains a special report that takes a detailed look at an area related to the industry. This could be anything from the fashion to photography or from art to the design process.
Grafik has had much appraise for its design over the years as it has its content. I was originally attracted to it for its quirky layout consisting of layering, trasparency and overlapping text and image - a technique almost invented by Grafik as it went against every unwritten law of graphic design, treating its content as objects to be experimented with.
This double page spread is a typical example of how it looked. Grafik editor, Caroline Roberts said that "designing magazines for designers is a tricky thing to do". Generally, this is true so design magazines treat their content very carefully, as they do not want the presentation to overwhelm the work. Grafik went completely against this thesis, which contributed to its international respect and popularity.
This was before its recent redesign by SEA that takes on a far different approach. Today, experimental layouts and pushing boundaries and limits in design seems to be the norm, so Grafik have pulled out their old trick and gone in completely the opposite direction with their new design. This is an aspect about Grafik Magazine that I respect and has encouraged me to subscribe.
Although I have read a lot of criticism about the new design, I do not agree with the opinion that it is 'too plain'. The image at the top of the page shows a typical front cover to the new design. These designs in particular are from the April 2007 editition. You may be wondering why they are both different? This is because, to celebrate their 150th issue, each cover for this edition was individually screen printed by hand in London by K2 Screen, making each copy uniquely beautiful and a great addition to the collection. Typically, the front cover of Grafik is type only. The identity is split in half and rotated, but maintains its legibility giving it a strange appeal and is usually accompanied by an arrangement of type. The type-only cover seems to be a main concern by the 'old design' fans. Personally, I love the covers and suggest that whoever is unhappy with them should turn the magazine over and study the imagery on the back. Incidently, Grafik seems to be a magazine with a conscience that listens to its customers concerns, as the June 2007 edition features a dramatic portrait on its cover, putting an end to the danger of their covers becoming too 'samey'. The next series of covers will also follow suit, featuring the designers that they are profiling each month, shot by photographer Lee Funnell.
Almost every aspect of the new Grafik Magazine appeals to me and gives me ideas that i can incorporate into my own work. For instance, you only need to pick a copy up to realise that it is unique. Their choice of thick, matte pages gives it a distict feel of quality. This gives a sense of pride to own the magazine, as you turn the pages as carefully as you would an expensive book. Open it up and you can smell the freshly printed pages, as if they were hot off the press. These are qualities I have yet to encounter with another magazine.
This is a typical double page spread from the March 2007 edition. The layout has changed dramatically from the old design and has been created to be more streamlined and simple. This is yet another point the critics pick up on. The new Grafik sees the end of the Lubalin typeface and makes way for Avant Garde, which is used for all headlines and copy - a typeface predominantly reserved for one off logos or posters. This gives Grafik a tremendously modern feel, however, critics tend to think that it is too harsh on the eyes and 'nearly illegible' as a copy face. Personally, I think it adds to the new character of the magazine and supports the ethos of going against convention. This will hopefully give designers the confidence to take a risk and not just produce what is expected.
Grafik Magazine is at the cutting edge of graphic design and showcases some of the best work around the globe, sourced by Grafik and delivered in a suberb fashion. Grafik is an essential reference for all designers looking to stay informed and inspired.