What are the essential must-read and industry magazines in the design & advertising world? (UK, printed)

What should I expect to find on a coffee table at a high end design house?

(Why? you ask...) I am about to launch a service aimed at designers and advertising houses, and want to know which are best to advertise in, the 2 I have to start with are Campaign and the British journal of photography.

3 Answers 3


If you are UK based I would look into advertising within Imagine Publishing. They are primarly UK based but they send magazines around the world and I happen to subscribe to them. They also allow for digital downloads but if you are targeting designers in general the magazines they publish that may be a target market for designers are:

You really didn't specify what type of designer so I thought I would throw in:

Instead of actual magazines have you thought about targeting blogs in the UK if you are aiming for a specific area?


What are the essential must-read and industry magazines in the design world? (printed)

There really aren't any as far as I know. CMYK magazine is kind of a joke. GD USA seems to be mostly ads for print services, and some misc articles, but I've never read anything in it that blew my mind.

What should I expect to find on a coffee table at a high end design house?

I honestly couldn't say. If they have a stack somewhere, it's more than likely all the same magazines you find in barnes and noble's. (Layers, CMYK, Computer Arts, Netmag, there's a half a dozen just geared around illustrator and photoshop, then much more when you include photography magazines)

There's definitely a certain beauty in a vibrant, printed medium. I used to read the netmag magazines, and honestly, 75% of it for me was just the eye candy of their printed layouts. They had good articles as well. CMYK on the other hand, I've never seen anything worth reading in it. It mostly seemed like, and pardon my friench, but print designer circle jerk. (if someone has a less vulgar term for that, please comment and I'll edit this)

In summary, go to a bookstore (a big chain one, like barnes and nobles or something) and check out the computers and art sections of the magazine area. You'll find some to check out. However, I don't think there's any must read magazine that holds all the latest secrets of the industry. Especially since in many ways, print magazines are steadily on the decline. I'd imagine especially so since in the last year or two it seems that lay people have become accustomed to using tablets or e readers everywhere they go.

What I personally have done in the past: when bored, go to borders or some other book store, grab a coffee, and sit and read the magazines. The articles are short enough you can pull it off, no one's going to question you unless you do this every day at the same time. Besides, those magazines ar like $20 - $30 each. Significantly more for the "bookazines".


Not sure what the agencies are reading but here's some suggestions from things I've seen being a designer in the UK. Your best bet would be to track down actual circulation and readership stats - the sales departments for any of these should be able to help. This is based on impressions only.

There isn't one essential magazine, and it varies by interest:

If you're looking to target actual average designers and illustrators, Digital Arts and Computer Arts are probably worth a look. They're quite popular, often on sale in regular high street shops across the country. For things targeting more junior designers look for magazines in your nearest WH Smith's with titles like "Website Design".

For people generally interested in designy arty trendy things who might be designers or in related trades like advertising, Creative Review seems pretty popular - I've seen it in large high street shops in most large towns and cities.

Then there are lots of high-price, low-circulation/"exclusive" journal-style magazines that seem to target either art directors, trend-watchers, academics, critics, and/or people who like to pose like they're art directors. I personally am not a fan of that sort of thing - Eye Magazine is the only of these I've seen that has had any interesting content (it bangs on about being international, but it's based in the UK and has something of a UK focus). I don't know which are widely read or where - though I'm sure their media sales people could give demographic info like this.

I think the magazines most likely to be "on a coffee table at a high end design house" are most likely to be the latter - and they probably look great on that coffee table, but it's possible no-one's actually picked them up or read them. I believe the former are more widely read by actual designers - but it depends on who you want to target.

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