Jeremy Leslie – This Golden Age

Jeremy Leslie started his blog »MagCulture« eight years ago. At the time, there were no experiments, and no platforms of this kind, and even fewer forums dealing with editorial design. Leslie, the designer, is living the culture of the magazine, not only in the field of print, but also focusing on digital magazines. This attitude is his mission statement, and like the successful blog with an add-on shop, it’s also a contrast programme and »propaganda of the opposition« (quote Leslie) against those who claim that »Print is dead«. The »MagCulture« blog neither deals with niche products, nor with the mainstream, but with the whole range of editorial design: »We are multi-format, we are multi-media. Everything ends up in one, which triggers creativity, and that is what the Golden Age is all about.«

»My Favorite Magazine« is an exciting, crowd-sourced collection of 88 answers from all over the world: 88 favourite magazines of designers, introduced in alphabetical order in a colourful mix of independent and mainstream products. Each one of them is a proof of excellent design and avant-garde ideas. The international mix also implies that, in spite of all crises, not only the few big ones, but small independent magazines, i.e. niche products, too, can become vitally independent and live their own and very vital lives. The book includes the »Sunday Times Magazine« and »Harper's Bazaar« as well as a number of smaller titles, and in doing so covers the whole range of editorial design.  Ten years later, »The Modern Magazine«, Leslie’s most recent project, also deals with magazine design. On 240 pages, the sequel to »My Favorite Magazine« presents interesting trends and examples, in order to show, how printed magazines meet the challenges of the digital age. In a number of longer essays, »The Modern Magazine« maps the fundamental idea of the magazine: An assembly of ideas, in which single elements combine in a new product.

Jeremy Leslie’s examples – including »Wedding« and the »Surfers« – contradict the usually pessimistic mood in the industry: new magazines are being invented, and these use unusual means to offer haptic experiences (e.g. rubber bindings!) or look less glamorous, and are yet still captivating. Many magazines look (more or less) the same, are well made, and tell stories that are different from what we are used to seeing at the newsstand. »Apartamento«, the magazine from Barcelona, is one of these »other magazines«. It represents individual experiences, urbane identity, a very intimate way of story-telling and living. Reality and authenticity instead of styling and virtual worlds, and without  Photoshop. In addition to the know-how of its makers, and their enthusiasm for the project, these are the reasons why »Apartamento« has been successful on the market. Being creative, and having fun in doing so, drive innovative creativity, and the right position, says Jeremy Leslie when talking  about the success of many young magazines.

»This is the golden age. It is full of challenges, but it is exciting, too«. In spite of all the crises, this is an encouraging conclusion by a designer who matters in the field of editorial design.

Jeremy Leslie online: www.magculture.com