Magazine fanboy alert. For our new issue, we hooked up an email roundtable with the co-chairs of this year’s SPD Awards. Yup… magCulture’s Jeremy Leslie; Bloomberg Businessweek’s Richard Turley; and Pentagram’s Luke Hayman spoke with Gym Class Magazine about the success of this year’s Awards and their relevance to smaller, independent publishers.
These guys know their shih tzu. Seriously. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Gym Class Magazine—An effort was made this year to involve smaller, independent magazines in the Awards line–up. Was the effort successful? Did you see an increase in first–time entries?
Richard Turley—Yes. International entries were up 20 per cent. In fact, overall entries were up 20 per cent. Plus we saw a lot more variety in the entries.
Jeremy Leslie—I was a little disappointed by the quantity of entries to the new smaller magazines category but the quality of those that were there was high (for example: ’Sup, Bidoun, Victory and Little White Lies). And the judges seemed to enjoy the category. There were also quite a few entries by smaller magazines to the more general categories, which was good to see.
Gym Class Magazine—Are the SPD Awards relevant to small, self–publishers?
Richard Turley—I think so. Leaving the Awards themselves aside for a moment, the Annual is a chance to offer your work some permanence, to be seen and exhibited alongside the best magazine design from all over the world. So if you’re interested in that, then of course they are relevant.
Jeremy Leslie—They haven’t been relevant but that’s no reason for them not to be in the future. There’s always discussion around awards programmes: What’s the point? It’s the same people always winning, etc. But for me the real point isn’t just winning a gong (though that can be enjoyable), it’s about getting your magazine noted/appreciated.
So many publications come and go, they disappear into the ether. The SPD Annual is a great record of editorial design and for me it’s a shame if the smaller magazines aren’t recognised as part of the mix. And compared to many awards, the SPDs are relatively cheap to enter. But it’s also worth noting that smaller publishers don’t have the support resource in terms of planning entries.
I hope some people that haven’t entered before will be encouraged by this year’s shortlists.
Gym Class Magazine—Are there any magazines—personal favourites—that you hoped would enter but didn’t?
Luke Hayman, Pentagram—I agree. Fashion seems always to be under represented. In particular, it’s a shame that Baron & Baron haven’t entered for many years. Interview and French Vogue have been tremendously influential but have not been represented within this competition or the Annual.
Jeremy Leslie—Judging brings together two opposite hopes; you want to see your favourites but you also want to be surprised by entries you’re not aware of. There are always magazines you think should be there but aren’t; but there were also some interesting ones I hadn’t been aware of.
The Grids newspaper (from Canada I think) was one pleasing discovery.