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The Stack Awards 2016

Still the world’s only awards scheme created exclusively for independent magazines, the latest Stack Awards were our biggest and best yet, attracting more than double the number of entries received in our inaugural year.

Entries opened in July and closed on 7 October 2016, and we received over 390 submissions from independent publishers around the world. The shortlists were announced on 17 October, and we had a successful day of judging at the Ace Hotel, looking for the most exciting and inspiring work published between October 2015 and September 2016.

Winners were announced at our ceremony on 29 November, and you can click on the categories below to see the full lists of shortlisted magazines, read more about our judges, and watch videos about our winning and commended titles.

Art Director of the Year

The art directors of these magazines elevated their publication through skilful and distinctive design that helped them to stand out from the crowd.

These magazines were published between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016, and the judges considered a single issue in its entirety. They looked for characterful design that defines and amplifies the issue’s editorial identity. Attention was paid to picture selection, fonts, layout and production to identify the creation of an exceptional magazine brand.

The judges:

Angharad Lewis

Angharad Lewis is a writer, editor and lecturer based in London, specialising in the fields of design, culture and publishing. She is co-editor of Grafik.net and contributes to a number of international publications. Angharad has also contributed to and authored a number of books, including, most recently, So You Want To Publish a Magazine, published by Laurence King. She is a lecturer in Visual Communication, runs a publishing-themed studio and is Course Leader in BA Design for Publishing at The Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, London Metropolitan University.

Debbie Millman

Debbie Millman is a designer, author, educator and brand strategist. She is host of the award-winning podcast Design Matters, the world’s first podcast on design; Chair of the world’s first Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts; the editorial and creative director of Print Magazine and President Emeritus of AIGA. She is the author of six books on design and branding.

The Winner:
Voortuin
Haarlem
Commended:
Elephant
London
Lost
Shanghai
Shortlisted:
A5 Magazine
Tel Aviv
Accent
London
Acid Magazine
Paris
Amuseum
London
Backstage Talks
Bratislava
Eye
London
Nichons-nous dans l'internet
Paris
NOUS
Manchester
The Outpost
Beirut
Recorder
Massachusetts
The Ride Journal
London
SHUKYU
Tokyo
Best Original Fiction

These magazines featured the most exceptional interviews, reportage, and other writing based on real events. The judges looked for original storytelling that informs and engages the reader with a distinctive editorial voice.

The work had to be written in English, and it had to have been published for the first time between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.

The judges:

Evie Wyld

After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. Evie’s second novel, All the Birds, Singing, won the Miles Franklin Award, the Encore Award and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. In 2013 she was included on Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists list, and her graphic memoir Everything Is Teeth was published in 2015.

Alex Clark

A well-known literary journalist and broadcaster, Alex writes for the Guardian and the Observer. She is a regular on Radio 4, chairs numerous literary events and is an experienced judge of literary awards, including the 2008 Man Booker prize. She lives in London and is an Arsenal fan.

The Winner:
The White Review
London
Commended:
American Chordata
New York
The Lifted Brow
Melbourne
Shortlisted:
The Canary Press
Victoria
Das Mag
Amsterdam
Firewords Quarterly
Glasgow
Little Brother
Toronto
Popshot
London
Somesuch Stories
London
Structo
Leiden
The Wrong Quarterly
London
Best Original Non-Fiction

In this category, the judges looked for fresh, distinctive fiction that stood out for its inventive ideas and memorable writing.

The work had to be written in English, and it had to have been published for the first time between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.

The judges:

Christoph Amend

Christoph Amend is the editor-in-chief of ZEITmagazin and publisher of ZEIT’s art magazine Weltkunst. ZEITmagazine’s international issue, a bi-annual in English, was launched in 2013, and ZEITmagazin MANN, a bi-annual stand alone men’s magazine, was launched in 2016. Before joining DIE ZEIT, Amend was the editor of the Sunday supplement of Der Tagesspiegel and deputy editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung jetzt-Magazin. He also started writing a daily newsletter this Spring – to subscribe, visit zeitmagazin.de

Shazna Nessa

Director of journalism at Knight Foundation, Shazna has more than 17 years of newsroom experience, with beginnings in internet technology and design. She was previously deputy managing editor at the Associated Press in New York, overseeing editorial products and innovation. She has taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

The Winner:
The Outpost
Beirut
Commended:
American Chordata
New York
Oxford American
Arkansas
Shortlisted:
Delayed Gratification
London
Dirty Furniture
London
Drift
New York
Even
New York
The Lifted Brow
Melbourne
Mirror Mirror
Amsterdam
Mundial
London
Peeps
Toronto
Perdiz
Barcelona
Somesuch Stories
London
The White Review
London
Weapons of Reason
London
Best Use of Illustration

These magazines published the best, most characterful, most distinctive illustrations of the year.

The judges considered the magazine’s illustrated content in its entirety, and the issue submitted had to have been published between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016. Combining excellent artwork with a clear editorial purpose, the winning illustrations were conceptually rich as well as aesthetically pleasing, adding an extra dimension to the magazine’s stories.

The judges:

Derek Brazell

Derek is a writer and illustrator, and has co-authored three titles on illustration with Jo Davies: Becoming A Successful Illustrator, Understanding Illustration and their first book, Making Great Illustration, which discussed illustrators’ process. As projects manager at the Association of Illustrators he produces Varoom illustration magazine, and campaigns for illustrators’ rights.

Cath Caldwell

Cath Caldwell is Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins and author of two books; Editorial Design for Lawrence King, and Winning Portfolios for Quarto. She is a former editorial art director, working at Observer London, Conde Nast Traveler in New York and at Hearst Magazines UK as Design Director for ELLE UK and ELLE Decoration.

The Winner:
Ladybeard
London
Commended:
Amuseum
London
The Ride Journal
London
Shortlisted:
Counterpoint
Edinburgh
Das Mag
Amsterdam
Fiera
London
Illustoria
Los Angeles
Lodestars Anthology
London
Mundial
London
New Philosopher
Hobart
Odiseo
Barcelona
Off Life
London
Okido
London
Root + Bone
London
Weapons of Reason
London
Best Use of Photography

These are the magazines that published the most outstanding photography this year. The judges looked for images that make readers stop and stare — all genres were eligible, as long as the photography is impactful and memorable.

The judges considered a magazine’s photography in its entirety, and the issue submitted had to have been published between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016. The photographs did not need to be original (they may have been published elsewhere before appearing in the magazine) but consideration was be given to the way they are presented, in terms of showing the quality of the image, and the way the image sits alongside text and other page elements.

The judges:

Ben Hillwood-Harris

The owner of Artwords, the London bookshop specialising in publications on the visual arts, media and culture, Ben has been involved in books and publishing since the 1990s, previously managing the Serpentine Gallery’s book sales and publications.

Siobhan Bohnacker

Siobhán Bohnacker is a Senior Photo Editor at The New Yorker, where she commissions original photography for the magazine, is responsible for the art direction of the New Yorker’s award-winning short fiction section and both writes and curates stories on photography for newyorker.com. Prior to joining The New Yorker, she worked as a Photo Editor at The New York Times Magazine, and from 2009-2012 was the in-house producer for portrait photographer, Platon. Siobhán is a graduate of Central Saint Martins School of Art.

The Winner:
Gather
New York
Commended:
212
Istanbul
The Exposed
Copenhagen
Shortlisted:
Accent
London
Brownie
Shanghai
Concorde
Hyderabad
Drift
New York
Feelings
Paris
Four & Sons
Victoria
The Gentlewoman
London
Good Sport
Melbourne
OE Magazine
Berlin
Ordinary
Amsterdam
Pollen
New York
The Smart View
Hamburg
Cover of the Year

These magazines featured the year’s best, most inventive, most enticing magazine covers. The point of a cover is to make people pick up the magazine, so the judges looked for the covers they just couldn’t resist, published between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.

The judges:

Steven Heller

The former art director of the New York Times Book Review, Steven is the current co-chair of SVA’s MFA Design: Designer as Author and Entrepreneur programme. He is the author of over 170 books, including Merz to Emigre and Beyond: Avant Garde Magazine Design of the 20th Century and 100 Classic Graphic Design Magazines (with Jason Godfrey). His most recent book is Graphic Design Rants and Raves.

Jaap Biemans

The guy behind Coverjunkie.com, ‘an addiction to creative magazine covers you wanna lick’, Jaap is also art director of Volkskrant Magazine, and earlier this year he was named Art Director of the Year in the Netherlands.

The Winner:
Parterre de Rois
Milan
Commended:
ShellsuitZombie
London
Water Journal
London
Shortlisted:
Adbusters Magazine
Vancouver
Ambrosia
New York
Amuseum
London
Boat
London
Gentle Rain
Hamburg
The Gentlewoman
London
The Gourmand
London
KRASS Journal
Adelaide
Ladybeard
London
LYRA
London
MC1R
Hamburg
The Pitchfork Review
Chicago
Printed Pages
London
So It Goes
London
Unstate
Valencia
Weapons of Reason
London
White Fungus
Taipei
Editor of the Year

The editors of these magazines demonstrated clear and original editorial vision, skilfully packaging their ideas into a compelling and engaging read.

These magazines were all published between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016. The judges considered a single issue in its entirety, looking for stories that come together to form a cohesive and characterful whole, with attention given to long-form writing, but also to headlines, picture captions and story selection.

The judges:

Rob Alderson

Rob Alderson is managing editor of WeTransfer, where he curates the background images given to artists and designers and oversees the This Works blog. Previously he was editor-in-chief of It’s Nice That and has written for the likes of BBC.com, The Guardian, Dezeen and Creative Review.

Andrew Losowsky

Andrew Losowsky was the co-curator of the Colophon magazine festival, and the editor/co-editor of several books including We Love Magazines, We Make Magazines, Visual Storytelling and Fully Booked: Ink on Paper. A former John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University, he is currently Project Lead on The Coral Project for Mozilla, creating open-source tools to build better communities around journalism.

The Winner:
The Happy Reader
London
Commended:
Eye
London
Flaneur
Berlin
Shortlisted:
A New Type of Imprint
Oslo
Benji Knewman
Riga
Courier
London
Delayed Gratification
London
Dirty Furniture
London
Elsie
Cheshire
The Great Discontent
New York
Magazine B
Seoul
Positive News
London
Slightly Foxed
London
Soho Revue
London
Womankind
Hobart
Launch of the Year

These are the magazines that made a bright start in 2016, launching with an exciting new editorial concept and high quality content.

They were all published between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016, and the judges considered the magazines in their entirety, looking for originality, innovation and clarity, as well as the overall quality of content, design and production.

The judges:

Malte and Urs

Malte Brenneisen and Urs Spindler are two of the founders of the editorial and design studio “Die Brueder”. Their love of publications produced outside the mainstream led them to create indiemags.de, an archive of independent magazines, and Indiecon, an annual festival for independent magazines. They also publish gentle rain, a ‘glocal’ city magazine about Hamburg.

Steven Gregor

The London-based freelance art director and editorial designer has worked at The Guardian and Observer newspapers, WIRED, Esquire, Newsweek, and Mr Porter. Steven is also the editor of Gym Class, a bi-annual printed magazine about magazines and the people who make them.

The Winner:
Real Review
London
Commended:
Ladybeard
London
Racquet
New York
Shortlisted:
212
Istanbul
Accent
London
Food&
Berlin
The Lazlo Reader
Cagliari
Little Atoms
London
Nang
Seoul
Ordinary
Amsterdam
Peeps Magazine
Toronto
Rough Trade Magazine
London
Sofa
Berlin
Télévision
Paris
YUCA
Bogotá
Student Magazine of the Year

These are the year’s best magazines published by or affiliated to a university, college or school. The magazine must have been creatively led by students, though it may include content and contributions by non-students. It had to have been published between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016 and it had to have been released and distributed to readers, so proofs of concept and sample issues produced solely for use in class were not eligible.

The judges looked for exciting, innovative magazines that engage the reader with a clear editorial concept and carefully considered design. We wanted to see titles that use the platform provided by a student magazine to do things differently and try something new.

The judges:

Teal Triggs

An educator, historian and writer, Professor Teal Triggs is associate dean in the School of Communication at the Royal College of Art. She also teaches on MA programmes within the school and has extensive experience in supervising visual communication, design criticism and information experience design.

Casey Caplowe

Casey Caplowe is co-founder and chief creative officer of GOOD. Since GOOD began in 2006, Casey has helped to build and shape the look, feel, and voice of the brand and all its creations. Under Casey’s direction, GOOD’s products have been widely recognised and acclaimed, including several National Magazine Award nominations and various Webbys. Prior to GOOD, Casey worked on two concurrent startup apparel ventures; Sport Science and Outdoor People. He is a graduate of Brown University.

The Winner:
King's Review
Cambridge
Commended:
Metazine
Nottingham
Niijournal
London
Shortlisted:
41-43
Hamburg
A+
London
Brasilia
Hanover
BUMF
Bournemouth
Featured
Bournemouth
Hearing Aid
St Andrews
nicht jetzt!
Hamburg
Notes
Cambridge
Overground
Turin
Overview: Unity in Diversity
London
Pixel Page
Bournemouth
Magazine of the Year

These are the remarkable magazines that excelled in 2016, producing the highest quality content to deliver on a strong and clear editorial concept.

They were all published between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016, and the judges considered the magazines in their entirety, looking for originality, innovation and clarity, as well as the overall quality of content, design and production.

The judges:

Jeremy Leslie

Jeremy Leslie leads the magCulture studio, dividing his time between designing, consulting and writing. He’s a passionate advocate for editorial design, has written several books about the subject, and the magCulture online Journal is a key source of news and opinion. He organises the annual ModMag conferences in London and New York and runs the magCulture shop, home of the monthly magCulture Meets evenings.

Gail Bichler

Gail Bichler is the design director of The New York Times Magazine. Her work is in the permanent collection of The Art Institute of Chicago and has been recognised by D&AD, the Art Director’s Club (ADC), the American Institute for Graphic Arts (AIGA), The Type Directors Club (TDC), and American Illustration. In 2016 the Society of Publication Designers (SPD) named The New York Times Magazine their Magazine of the Year.

The Winner:
MacGuffin
Amsterdam
Commended:
The Gentlewoman
London
Ladybeard
London
Shortlisted:
Bad Day
Toronto
Benji Knewman
Riga
Delayed Gratification
London
Disegno
London
Girls Like Us
Brussels
The Happy Reader
London
Magazine B
Seoul
Ordinary
Amsterdam
The Outpost
Beirut
Perdiz
Barcelona
Sabat
London
Weapons of Reason
London

The judging process

The judges had a little over a month to read, live with and fully ingest the magazines, and delivered their verdicts at the judging day in London on Thursday 17 November.

Shortlisted publishers were invited to meet the judges at a party to mark the end of the judging process, and all shortlisted magazines were placed on display to the public in our pop-up lending library at Somerset House on Saturday 26 November. 

And finally, the winners and commendations were announced at our awards ceremony at The Book Club in London on Tuesday 29 November.

FAQs

FAQs

What do you define as an independent magazine?

We’re working to the definition suggested at Indiecon 2014: “The chiefs are the makers – the people who take care of the financial decisions are responsible for the magazine’s content or design”. If you’d like to check whether your magazine qualifies under this definition, please drop us a line.

Does my magazine have to be in English?

The awards will be judged in English because it’s the common language of the judges. Non-English magazines are welcome, except for in the Best Original Fiction and Best Original Non-Fiction categories, which must be written in English. But even in our other categories, please bear in mind that the judges will probably have limited understanding of non-English text.

Why do you need three copies of my magazine?

Each category has three judges – two expert judges and a Stack judge. All shortlisted magazines will be sent to the judges, so we need three copies of all magazines submitted.

Can I enter the awards on behalf of somebody else’s magazine?

No – the Stack Awards are intended as a celebration of the best independent magazines, and we want to work directly with those magazine makers. If you’re a writer, photographer or illustrator and you want to have your work considered, you’ll need to persuade the people who published your work to enter it for you.

How many magazines will be shortlisted?

The Cover of the year category will be shortlisted to a maximum of 20 magazines, which will be sent on to the judges. All other categories will be shortlisted to a maximum of 15 magazines, which will be sent on to the judges.

When will the shortlists be announced?

The shortlists will be announced on the Stack site on Monday 17 October.

How many magazines will win?

Each category will have one winner, and up to two commendations.

When will the winners be announced?

The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Tuesday 29 November at The Book Club in London.

How do I buy tickets to the awards ceremony?

All shortlisted magazines will be offered the opportunity to buy tickets once the shortlists have been announced on Monday 17 October. Any remaining tickets will go on general sale via the Stack site on Monday 07 November.

What will happen to the magazines afterwards?

All magazines left over at the end of the process will be sold and the proceeds donated to charity. Last year our Magazines For Good sale raised over £1,400 for L’Auberge des Migrants in Calais.

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