Steven Gregor is the creator of Gym Class magazine, the publication all about mag-making and the people who create them. As designer and editor, one-man-band Steven sources all the content that goes into the mag and last month saw the launch of the Gym Class’ 13th issue, the fastest selling issue yet. Steven’s passion for magazines is clear, but what about books? We asked him to select five of his most inspirational books and sure enough, it’s a doozy of a bookshelf. From graphic design heroes, to woodland escapes Steven’s love of print knows no bounds.
Jop van Bennekom and Gert Jonkers: Fantastic Man: Men of Great Style and Substance
I’m a Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom fanboy. I just looooove what they do with magazines. The design and art direction is first class, certainly, but it’s the tone of voice and humour that keeps me interested.
Dover Street Market tweeted they had advance copies of the book two or three weeks ago so I dropped everything and got to DSM as fast as the tube would take me to get a copy! The book is a kind of greatest hits of the magazine so far. It has a fancy (and kinky) leather spine and it’s beautiful, funny and a little bit camp. I totally love it. It’s guaranteed a permanent place on the shelf. If you’re not familiar with Fantastic Man, buy the magazine. If you love Fantastic Man, buy the book.
Adrian Shaughnessy: Lubalin
Unlike the Fantastic Man book, I was slow on the uptake with this one. So much so I missed the massive 448-page expanded edition, but I did manage to get the smaller (but still perfectly formed) condensed version. I didn’t study design, so my knowledge of legendary graphic designers like Herb Lubalin is embarrassingly limited. So this book is brilliant as it’s a regular reference and source of inspiration.
I totally love Lubalin’s Fact magazine covers. They were a big influence on the “Nobody Cares” Gym Class cover. A strong opinion and tone of voice is underrated by so many magazines nowadays. It’s something I really want to develop with Gym Class. Also, I’ve loved Lubalin’s Serif Gothic typeface since 1980, when I saw John Carpenter’s Halloween for the first time – thank goodness for crap babysitters. Many popular contemporary magazine designers owe a lot to the work of Lubalin. I bow down.
Zach Klein: Cabin Porn
Living in central London is a no-brainer, it’s awesome. But sometimes I just wanna get out of the city and be in the woods. Well actually I wanna get out of the city and be in an ace, architecturally-significant cabin in the woods. This is rarely possible of course, so the Cabin Porn book is a compromise. I reach for Cabin Porn when drunk banker wankers are hailing cabs outside our flat at 11:30pm. It’s a great distraction full of pure fantasy and wishful thinking.
Internet entrepreneur Zach Klein is one the of book’s authors and I’m a little bit fascinated by him. He co-founded Vimeo and I once saw a photo of him on the internet riding a tractor naked. The modern world is a truly wonderful place. There’s an interesting blog post here by the book’s designer Matt Cassity, giving a behind the scenes look at how it was made.
Adrian Tomine: Killing and Dying
Adrian Tomine’s Killing and Dying is a recent acquisition. I love Adrian’s New Yorker covers. He did the one with the guy holding a torch after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, as well as the cover with outgoing Mayor Bloomberg sipping a soda watching the autumn leaves fall in 2013. His storytelling is so gentle and human and I’m a big fan. Killing and Dying is a collection of six short graphic stories, it’s a tender, moving and lovingly illustrated book. I love it. In fact, I’m now gonna go online to see if he sells prints.
Society of Publication Designers: The Society of Publication Designers 49th Design Annual
I’m a big fan of American editorial design. The annuals published by the Society of Publication Designers showcasing the winners of their yearly Awards programme are a constant source of inspiration.
The 49th edition dropped recently. It’s fashionably late, featuring the winners from the 2013 SPD Awards, but it’s worth the wait. It’s jam-packed with editorial design aceness, featuring the very best from magazines like Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker among many others. Oh, and the creative director of this latest annual is Wired’s David Moretti.
If you’re not a fan of American editorial design, I suggest you still check out the SPD annuals. Sure, the pages of American mainstream magazines are (for the most part) super detailed. And, yeah, sometimes they feel over designed. But, strip away any clutter and check out how they use space. It’s often unconventional and it’s just beautiful.
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