Monday, 11 July 2016

Celebrating regular interval publishing

The American Magazine (ISBN 0810919095) published in 1991, a beautiful book full of pictures and best of all it can be bought now at a very low price.

A worthwhile visual history of British magazines from 1850 right up to 2011. The author concentrates on weekly and monthly consumer titles available across the Nation, some of which sold in their millions during past decades. The eight chapters each start with a spread of text followed by pages of covers and inside pages all in color. I was rather impressed with the long detailed caption to each of these illustrations, clearly Anthony Quinn has done a lot research into the personalities and publishing techniques that made magazines a vibrant part of the British publishing industry.

From the earliest issues in the mid-1800s through to about the late-1980s the covers and inside pages had a  design logic to them based on centuries of graphic art traditions then with the advent of DPT so much of what had been handled by outside craftsmen was produced in the office by the editorial staff with their Macs. This seems to be a backward step with some titles shown in the last pages of the book, covers and inside spreads have a rather scrappy look because changing things was just a keystroke away.

Overall there must be several hundred pictures throughout the pages, covers dominate which is slightly unfortunate because many of the inside spreads are shown too small to appreciate their visual content. Apart from that I thought the book was an excellent history of consumer magazine print.

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