The Ten Greatest Magazines
“The Medium is the Message.” Wired magazine took this famous McLuhan saying and ran with it. Since 1993 Wired has been at the forefront of documenting the technology revolution. It has led us through the Dot.com craze, the Wikipedia mindset, and the rise of Apple. It has won numerous awards for excellence and design and always manages to stay on top of the trends.
Colors was a challenging magazine that was often shocking in its honest portrayal of the world around us. Usually making its point through its photos, Colors has made its controversial mark on the print world, especially when it depicted the queen as a black woman, the pope as an Asian, and Spike Lee as white.
Satire thy name is Mad. Mad Magazine is the most notable humour magazine there has ever been, always taking shots at anyone it can whether it be politics, sports, entertainment, whoever. That gap-toothed face of Alfred E. Neuman has become iconic as has the magazine’s regular (and hilarious) feature Spy Vs. Spy. With artists like Don Martin and Sergio Aragones giving the illustrations a unique look, Mad has laughed its way into the top ten.
7. Avant Garde
Ralph Ginzberg, who was convicted in the 60’s for obscenity through his previous magazine Eros, came back in 68 with Avant Garde. Even though it only had 16 issues, Avant Garde made its mark. It was filled with creativity and critical commentaries on society and remains a wonderful example of top-notch magazine design.
6. Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone was the champion of youth, the voice of a new generation, the harbinger of pop culture phenomena. Rolling Stone has been a momentous magazine throughout the years, and those it has lost its edge recently, its prime decades (the 60s and 70s) was a time of revolution of which it was at the forefront. To make the cover of Rolling Stone was to touch the height of fame.
Yes, Playboy. Playboy had a pretty big hand in the sexual revolution of the latter half of this century (for better or for worse, some may argue). Playboy is risque yet classy. It has garnered interviews from all sorts of interesting people and have had writers such as Steinbeck, Wodehouse, Atwood, Nobokov, and Kerouac involved. Anyone who actually does read it for the articles is in for a treat. And any magazine whose first issue involves the legendary Marylin Monroe cannot be ignored.
4. The Economist
The Economist is one of the oldest magazines still currently available (founded in 1843) and is one of the most intelligent thought-provoking news-magazines there is. The articles are informative, witty, and written with great autonomy given to the writers. Its covers are often very provocative and interesting and its goal of promoting intellectual progress is commendable. And any magazine that has survived for 160 some years must have something to it.
3. National Geographic
Who doesn’t know the magazine in the yellow frame? National Geographic sets out to teach people about nothing less than the world itself. It is a documentary of the world’s cultures, history, and nature. National Geographic strives to make sure that we don’t forget the hard-to-reach people and places of the earth.
The world captured through photographs. Life Magazine practically defines photojournalism. Its photographers have captured famous people and events throughout the last century with clarity and truth.
Esquire took the long road towards gaining credibility, but during the 60s and 70s, it really solidified itself as a powerhouse in the print media. With Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer leading the journalism and George Lois in charge of the covers, Esquire built its way to their top of the pack. Great writers such as Raymond Carter, Truman Capote and (possibly?) JD Salinger used Esquire to showcase their work. The top-notch design, journalism, articles, and covers has put this at the top.