The 2015 Newmanology Holiday Book Gift Guide
Welcome to the Third Annual Newmanology Holiday Book Gift Guide. Here’s our collection of 10 favorite books released this past year. They are all strong visual and creative collections, featuring design, imagery, and writing that highlights artwork, magazine design, illustration, typography, and more. Be sure to check out previous Newmanology gift guides from 2013 and 2014 for even more cool books.
Independence: 12 Interviews with Magazine Makers
By Jeremy Leslie >> A series of interviews originally recorded at London’s Pick Me Up festival, this is a fascinating and illuminating look at the state of the art of independent magazine publishing. Some of the best indie mag makers in the business, including editors and publishers from The Gourmand, Cereal, Eye, Anorak, Intern, Delayed Gratification, Riposte, and more share their stories. The result is a brilliant snapshot of the most dynamic and exciting part of contemporary magazine publishing, with much inside information and a lot of flavor, compiled by Jeremy Leslie, who is the force behind the magCulture website. Elegantly and modernly designed (it looks like the indie mags it documents!), this is essential reading for anyone starting a magazine, or looking for publishing inspiration. More info: magCulture.
John Heartfield: Laughter is a Devastating Weapon
By David King and Ernst Volland >> A large-sized book that collects over 150 brilliant political photo montage illustrations by Heartfield, who was a creative force who battled the rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. There are reproductions of magazine covers, posters, and more, often juxtaposed against the original art. There’s good supporting text, too, but the highlight is the many powerfully pointed and provocative illustrations that are as fresh and relevant today as they were almost 90 years ago. More info: John Heartfield.com.
Diana Vreeland, The Modern Woman: The Bazaar Years, 1936-1962
Edited by Alexander Vreeland >> Diana Vreeland spent almost three decades as a writer, columnist and fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar. This lush book, edited by her grandson Alexander Vreeland, collects a wondrous array of covers, features, fashion stories and more from the pages of the magazine. Elegant, stylish, and lush; the work is reproduced directly from vintage pages, and displayed in large size. This is the best collection of classic Bazaar pages I’ve seen, and also the best available collection of the design work of art director supreme Alexey Brodovitch. The book is a fat 300 pages with minimal text and maximal beauty and style. More info: Rizzoli Books.
Edited by Danyel Smith and Elliott Wilson >> This LP-sized one-shot project is a throwback to hardcover magazines of the 1960s like Horizon and Eros, and in its free-form approach to stories and imagery feels like a millennial version of the legendary Avant Garde magazine. Editor/publishers Smith and Wilson have a long association with hip hop and urban publishing, and HRDCVR has its fingers (and other body parts) on the pulse of an exciting intersection of culture, music, politics, and multiculturalism of all kinds. Along with the energetic text comes brilliantly bold and stylish design and wonderful imagery directed by the creative team of O Banquinho. Exciting and essential. More info: HRDCVR.
Variations on a Rectangle
By DJ Stout >> 30 Years of Graphic Design from Texas Monthly to Pentagram. A long-overdue monograph from the Austin Pentagram partner and former Texas Monthly art director, featuring over 250 design projects: books, posters, packaging, and lots of beautiful editorial pages. Stout was at Texas Monthly in the 1980s and 90s, and those pages comprise a good chunk of the book, with sparkling imagery and imaginative typography that helped define the best of the era’s magazine design; they also serve as a who’s who of top illustrators and photographers. This book is filled with learning and inspiration. More info: University of Texas Press.
By Ralph Steadman and Ceri Levy >> Legendary artist and illustrator Ralph Steadman’s new book features stunning full-page drawings of 192 endangered birds. Along with the illustrations, the text by Ceri Levy is designed to raise consciousness (and some money) to help save these disappearing species. The artwork is spectacular; Steadman is at the peak of his talents. The sequel to the pair’s earlier Extinct Boids book, this is a lush, over-sized visual masterpiece. More info: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Signal: 04 – A Journal of International Political Graphics & Culture
Edited by Alec Dunn and Josh MacPhee >> Signal is part book, part journal, printed in digest size, but packing a huge graphic punch. It collects powerful progressive political graphics, illustrations, magazine covers, posters, and other printed matter, both vintage and contemporary. This is a rich and exciting collection, whose highlights include covers of the PLO’s Palestinian Affairs magazine from the 1970s-80s, and current book covers for Washington, DC’s Three Continents Press, illustrated and designed by Max Karl Winkler. The beautiful printing and design is reminiscent of the underground press of the 60s and early 70s with funky graphics, overlays, and lots of color type, but it’s all crisp and highly readable. More info: PM Press.
Art Chantry Speaks: A Heretic’s History of 20th Century Graphic Design
By Art Chantry >> A brilliant collection of short essays originally published on the legendary Pacific Northwest art director’s Facebook page. This is not just a graphic design history book; it’s a pointed and provocative look at American culture, and a serious critique of the commodification of design and the media platforms that promote it. The book features a mix of personal reminiscences, cultural criticism, graphic design and art direction history, and a lot of smart opinion, plus, of course, a gallery of some of Chantry’s favorite printed imagery. Chantry is a great writer with a serious passion for both graphic design and the culture surrounding it; this is easily the best and most original book I have ever read on graphic design. Perfect for anyone with an affinity and interest in creative visual thinking. More info: Feral House.
Outside the Box: Hand-Drawn Packaging from Around the World
By Gail Anderson >> This is a vibrant collection of hand-lettered typography created for a wide variety of product design. Anderson is a noted art director, teacher, and author, and she has gathered an eye-popping set of artwork, featuring the designs of Pentagram, Sagmeister & Walsh, Gary Taxali, Louise Fili, Daniel Pelavin, and dozens more. This is a state-of-the-art reference book that is beautifully and smartly designed by Anderson and Joe Newton, and is bursting with inspiring work. More info: Princeton Architectural Press.
Desperate Times: The Summer of 1981
Edited by Maire M. Masco >> Desperate Times was that rare combination of underground fanzine and professional publication, published in Seattle for six glorious issues in the summer of 1981. The entire run has been collected into a new book, edited by one of its founders, Maire M. Masco. With a cover designed by Art Chantry, this is a perfect cultural snapshot of early 1980s Seattle, and a brilliant example of how alternative publications can be archived and presented in book format. The zine’s art direction, by Billy Shaffer, was brilliant in its tabloid simplicity, bringing a sense of order and format along with bold, provocative graphics. Big, heavy, condensed headlines, cut-and-paste collages, and high contrast photographs gave Desperate Times a powerful graphic feel, along the lines of what was appearing in NME and other British music papers at the time, but with its own unique flavor. And of course, there is that amazing logo! More info: Review and page samples via Newmanology.
BONUS: If you’re looking for a special gift for the magazine junkie on your list, try a subscription to Stack Magazines. Stack is a monthly curation of the best independent magazines from around the world. It’s the best possible way to sample the coolest publications from the heart of the creative indie mag scene. So far this year with my Stack subscription I’ve been treated to issues of Cereal, Put a Egg on It, Wrap, Makeshift, Hello Mr., and many more treats, all them dynamic and very smart examples of indie publishing.