If you thought print was dead, Steven Watson, founder of Stack Magazines, is the man to prove you wrong. His upcoming event Magazines for Good offers Londoners the chance to explore some of the most original, thought-provoking magazines the city’s print publishing scene has to offer.
"The abundance of universities and a thriving creative industry make London the world capital for independent publishing,” says Steve.
"Printing has got cheaper and easier, with kick-starter campaigns becoming a popular source of revenue."
Yet while it’s got easier to make magazines, it’s got harder to sell them. Which is where Stack comes in.
Steve founded his magazine subscription service seven years ago as a means of selecting and delivering the best print magazines to people's doorsteps. Back then he trawled record shops for new material, but after recently receiving hundreds of submissions for the Stack Awards he’s holding an event to sell the lot, with proceeds going to charity.
At the event you can hear four speakers who are all using print publishing for the greater good. Danny Miller will be chatting about his project Weapons of Reason, a magazine focusing on global issues through a colourful, wonderfully-illustrated eight-part series.
Other speakers include people from Nous, a magazine focused on dismantling the stigma surrounding mental health issues, Mushpit which unpacks fashion from a feminist perspective and The Outpost, launched in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Steve says: “So many of these magazines are started by people who are a bit disillusioned by what they see in the mainstream. Magazines are great at expressing a particular cultural point of view and opening up whole new worlds that you may not have come across.”
Expect high quality, well thought out publications from Stack which, according to Steve’s selection process, have something to say for themselves and are open and accessible. "There’s a way to make a niche magazine that welcomes people in,” he says.
Steve's advice for wannabe indie magazine publishers: make sure you love what you’re making and surround yourself with talented people.
Below we’ve picked out a selection of the best London magazines for you to peruse — perfect for Christmas gifts or swapping the morning Metro for something more suited to your interests. There are magazines for sports and adventure enthusiasts, feminists, film buffs, book worms, foodies, and good old fashioned news readers.
Weapons of Reason
This eight-issue magazine scooped up prizes for Best Illustration and Launch of the Year at The Stack Awards last week. Its brightly coloured pages are filled with infographics, but don't be fooled by the pretty pictures. Diagrams, graphs and stats are all used to illustrate the serious challenges the planet is facing.
Issue one builds up a picture of the Arctic by contextualising the problem before handing the baton over to those who are working to better it.
If the way to your heart is through your stomach then you'll find The Gourmand a satisfying read, or it'll at least make you hungry. The Gourmand picked up the Magazine of the Year award at The Stack Awards and for good reason. Drool over high definition meals on glossy paper while feasting your eyes on a history of ketchup, food maps of New York and conversations with celebrated cookery writers.
Little White Lies
Each bi-monthly issue of Little White Lies presents a series of articles and dramatic illustrations inspired by a particular film alongside reviews and exclusive interviews with professionals in the industry. Get a good overview of upcoming films which are rated by 'anticipation', 'enjoyment' and 'in retrospect'- once the hype has settled.
The Carol issue celebrates cinema's 'I love you' moments, plus a countdown of the top 100 must-see LGBT classic movies. We're a little bit in love with Timba Smits' cover inspired by Audrey Hepburn and 1950s Vogue covers.
Like The Wind
“It's not how to run, it’s why we run”. Forget race reports, product reviews, nutritional info or training tips. Husband and wife duo Simon and Julie Freeman spent their honeymoon running around Mont Blanc before producing their quarterly magazine for the literary minded runner.
Issue seven is filled with feats of endurance with insight into running as a therapy and a distraction from illness, miscarriage and self-doubt. Poetry, fiction and personal stories are interspersed with stunning photographs of well-trodden, rugged landscapes printed sustainably.
Alternatively if cycling is your preferred method of transport check out The Ride Journal.
'Last to Breaking News' — DG is a quarterly magazine which takes a considered approach to news, deciding that it's much better to be right than to be fast. Each quarterly issue sifts through the last three months of stories to deliver the meaning of events once the news agenda has moved on. Remember Cecil the lion? Let the latest issue of DG remind you. Other topics in this issue include arson, people smuggling and the Belgian mothers of Jihadis.
Artefact Magazine is produced by students from the London College of Communication on a shoe-string budget — though reading it you'd never have thought it. The mixture of news, features, reviews and digital is super high quality, and contains a variety of different voices and views.
One of My Kind
One of My Kind is a hand-crafted zine produced by four British Muslin girls based in Kilburn, north London. Described by Dazed as redefining the arts for women of colour. It explores faith, activism and identity through the written word, photography and illustration. And if it’s zines you’re after, put the Future Library Publishing Fair in your diary.
Magazines for Good takes place at London College of Communication on 12 December. It’s free to attend, which leaves you plenty of cash to splash on magazines which will be half price on the day. If you miss it browse the selection online at Stack Magazines or visit Kioskcafe in Paddington.