Modernism… In Print

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Kuchar Swara looks to the publishing industry for examples of modernism in practice

Never has a time been more ripe for innovation in publishing. A combination of pressures have pushed publishers, editors and art directors to new frontiers along modernist lines of enquiry. Lines of enquiry that have questioned the very meaning of what a magazine can be, questioning its form, function and beauty (thanks Max Bill).

The last 10 – 15 years has seen a catalogue of examples of inquiry, here are some:


Can a magazine behave more like a luxury brand, with shops, books, merchandise and a radio station, as well as a print edition?

Bloomberg Business Week

Can we create a new design vocabulary for the weekly magazine?


Can infographics play a more central role in editorial design?


Can we throw out almost all established rules of typographic etiquette?

Porter / Net-a-Porter

Can we establish a magazine to support and grow a successful retail operation?

The examples above are a confirmation that modernist ideas are very much alive and kicking. Intentionally or not – modernism’s core principle of the re-examination of existence, are very much in play within the publishing world. With future developments in technology and general changes in the function of what we now call a ‘magazine’, the future holds exciting possibilities for the medium.