Graphic Design Magazines - Part One

From the rational to the experimental to the playful – these important graphic design magazines represent a distinct point of view about mid-century graphic design, typography and beyond. Through thoughtful (sometimes critical) articles and opinions, book reviews, visually stimulating design and the introduction of important, lesser-known designers, these magazines successfully documented contemporary and historical German, Italian, Japanese and Swiss design to new, international audiences.

1.  Typographische Monatsblätter
In 1952 Schweizer Graphische Mitteilungen (SGM), Revue Suisse de L’imprimerie (RSI) and Typographische Monatsblätter (originally founded in 1933) joined forces and merged into a single monthly periodical published in St. Gallen, Switzerland, titled TM (Typographical Monthly). TM was published in French and German text and in some instances such as special issues and captions, English. Editor in-chief Rudolf Hostettler (1919–1981), contributors Emil Ruder (1914–1970), Robert Büchler (b. 1914) and others, helped develop this publication into the premier Swiss typography and printing periodical of its time.

2.  Ulm, Quarterly bulletin of the Hochschule für Gestaltung, Ulm
Published quarterly in Ulm, Germany from 1958–1968 (14 issues, 21 numbers, some double and triple issues), this international journal provided a comprehensive account of the theoretical, rational and practical curriculum at one of Europe’s most influential design schools since the Bauhaus. Co-founded by Inge Aicher-Scholl (1917–1998), Otl Aicher (1922–1991) and Max Bill (1908–1994), the HfG opened in 1953 (officially in 1955) and closed in 1968. Although the journal’s editorial staff changed over the years, primary figures included: Tomás Maldonado (b. 1922), Dr. Hanno Kesting (1925–1975), Gui Bonsiepe (b. 1934) and Renate Kietzmann (dates unknown). The first 5 issues were published in English, French and German and subsequent issues were published in English and German.

3.  Neue Grafik / New Graphic Design / Graphisme actuel
Published quarterly in Zürich, Switzerland from 1958-1965 (17 issues, 18 numbers – the last issue 17/18 was a double issue), Neue Grafik was arguably the most important journal responsible for disseminating contemporary and historical Swiss functional design ideas and philosophies referred to as the “International Typographic Style”, “Swiss New Typography” or “Objective-Functional Typography”. Edited by like-minded Zurich designers LMNV – Richard Lohse (1902–1988), Josef Müller-Brockmann (1919–1996), Hans Neuburg (1904–1983) and Carlo Vivarelli (1919–1986) – in English, French and German. Early issues sent to subscribers included colored identifying bands with a cover designed by Vivarelli (although after issue No. 1, Neuburg is listed as designer) entirely of text to inform (rather than illustrate) the magazine’s content.

4.  Graphic Design, A Quarterly Review for Graphic Design and Art Direction
Published quarterly in Tokyo, Japan from 1959-1986 (100 issues), this international magazine (with early issues art directed by Hiromu Hara 1903-1986) promoted Japanese and Western designers, placing emphasis on work with a more constructed approach. Its editor, Masaru Katsumie (1909-1983) was an influential critic and contributor to the development of Japanese Graphic Design and succeeded in producing a hi-quality, attractive and well researched magazine with special attention given to experimental printing, color, paper, dies cuts and more. All issues published in Japanese with English summaries appearing in early issues and more detailed articles after 1963.

5.  Pagina, International Review of Graphic Design
Published quarterly in Milan, Italy from 1962–1965 (7 issues), this short-lived international magazine focused on discovering and analyzing all things graphic design or “objects of our daily visual experience” with reoccurring sections titled: “Experimental Graphics”, “International Graphic Documentation” and “Technical”. Special issues were dedicated to “Italian Design and Designers” and “Bodoni”. Co-founded and edited by Bruno Alfieri (dates unknown) and Pier Carlo Santini (dates unknown), Pagina was published in English, French and Italian with the layout of most issues designed by Heinz Waibl (b. 1931) and covers designed by leading Italian designers. Special attention was given to experimental printing and paper with fold-out pages and ephemera such as posters and booklets slipped in the folded paper wrappers.