The Stack Awards 2016

Back for our second year, the Stack Awards 2016 recognised the best work in independent magazines


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.


Magazine of the year

Winner: MacGuffin

Commended: Ladybeard, The Gentlewoman


Benji Knewman - RIGA
Delayed Gratification - LONDON
Disegno - LONDON
The Gentlewoman - LONDON
Girls Like Us - BRUSSELS
The Happy Reader - LONDON
Ladybeard - LONDON
Magazine B - SEOUL
Ordinary - AMSTERDAM
Sabat - LONDON
The Outpost - BEIRUT
Weapons of Reason - LONDON


Jeremy Leslie

Jeremy Leslie founded magCulture 10 years ago, first as a blog, then an editorial design studio, and most recently a magazine shop. He's currently working on the follow up to his latest book, ‘Independence’, which he hopes to launch at this year’s Modern Magazine conference in October.

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. This year the Society of Publication Designers (SPD) named The New York Times Magazine their Magazine of the Year.

Launch of the year

Winner: Real Review

Commended: Racquet, Ladybeard


Accent - LONDON
Food& - BERLIN
Ladybeard - LONDON
The Lazlo Reader - CAGLIARI
Little Atoms - LONDON
Nang - SEOUL
Ordinary - AMSTERDAM
Racquet - NEW YORK
Real Review - LONDON
Rough Trade Magazine - LONDON
Télévision - PARIS


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.

Malte and Urs

Malte Brenneisen and Urs Spindler are journalists and entrepreneurs based in Hamburg, Germany. Their love of publications produced outside the mainstream led them to create, an archive of independent magazines, and Indiecon, an annual festival for independent magazines.

Editor of the year

Winner: The Happy Reader

Commended: Eye Magazine, Flaneur Magazine


A New Type of Imprint - OSLO
Benji Knewman - RIGA
Courier - LONDON
Delayed Gratification - LONDON
Dirty Furniture - LONDON
Elsie Magazine - CHESHIRE
Eye Magazine - LONDON
Flaneur Magazine - BERLIN
The Great Discontent - NEW YORK
The Happy Reader - LONDON
Magazine B - SEOUL
Positive News - LONDON
Slightly Foxed - LONDON
Soho Revue - LONDON


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, 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.

Art director of the year

Winner: Voortuin

Commended: Lost, Elephant


A5 Magazine - TEL AVIV
Accent - LONDON
Acid - PARIS
Amuseum - LONDON
Backstage Talks - BRATISLAVA
Elephant - LONDON
Eye Magazine - LONDON
Nichons-nous dans l'Internet - PARIS
The Outpost - BEIRUT
The Ride Journal - LONDON
Shukyu Magazine - TOKYO
Voortuin - HAARLEM


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 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.

Debbie Millman

Debbie Millman is a designer, author, educator and brand strategist. She is the CMO of Sterling Brands, host of the award-winning podcast Design Matters, chair of the world’s first Masters in Branding programme at the School of Visual Arts, president emeritus of AIGA, and the editorial and creative director of Print Magazine. She is the author of six books on design and branding.

Cover of the year

Winner: Parterre de Rois

Commended: Water, Shellsuit Zombie


Adbusters Magazine - VANCOUVER
Ambrosia - NEW YORK
Amuseum - LONDON
Boat Magazine - LOS ANGELES
Gentle Rain - HAMBURG
The Gentlewoman - LONDON
The Gourmand - LONDON
Krass Journal - ADELAIDE
Ladybeard - LONDON
MC1R Magazine - HAMBURG
Parterre de Rois - MILAN
The Pitchfork Review - CHICAGO
Printed Pages - LONDON
ShellzuitZombie - LONDON
So It Goes - LONDON
Unstate - Valencia
Water Journal - LONDON
Weapons of Reason - LONDON
White Fungus - TAIPEI


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).

Jaap Biemans

The guy behind, "an addiction to magazine covers you wanna lick, a celebration of creativity and ace designers", Jaap is also art director of Volkskrant Magazine, the weekly magazine published with Dutch quality newspaper Volkskrant.

Best use of photography

Winner: Gather Journal

Commended: 212, The Exposed


Accent - LONDON
Brownie - SHANGHAI
Concorde - HYDERABAD
Drift - NEW YORK
The Exposed - COPENHAGEN
Feelings - PARIS
Four & Sons - VICTORIA
Gather Journal - NEW YORK
The Gentlewoman - LONDON
Good Sport - MELBOURNE
OE Magazine - BERLIN
Ordinary - AMSTERDAM
Pollen - NEW YORK
The Smart View - HAMBURG
Victory Journal - NEW YORK


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.

Siobhán 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

Best use of illustration

Winner: Ladybeard

Commended: Amuseum, Rid Journal


Amuseum - LONDON
Counterpoint - Edinburgh
Fiera Magazine - LONDON
Illustoria - LOS ANGELES
Ladybeard - LONDON
Lodestars Anthology - LONDON
Mundial - LONDON
New Philosopher - NEW SOUTH WALES
Off Life - LONDON
Okido Magazine - LONDON
The Ride Journal - LONDON
Root + Bone - LONDON
Weapons of Reason - LONDON


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.

Best original fiction

Winner: The White Review

Commended: American Chordata, The Lifted Brow


American Chordata - NEW YORK
The Canary Press - VICTORIA
Firewords Quarterly - GLASGOW
The Lifted Brow - MELBOURNE
Little Brother - TORONTO
Popshot Magazine - LONDON
Somesuch Stories - LONDON
Structo 15 - LEIDEN
The White Review - LONDON
The Wrong Quarterly - LONDON


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 last year.

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.

Best original non-fiction

Winner: The Outpost

Commended: Oxford American, American Chordata


American Chordata - NEW YORK
Delayed Gratification - LONDON
Dirty Furniture - LONDON
Drift - NEW YORK
The Lifted Brow - MELBOURNE
Mirror Mirror - AMSTERDAM
Mundial - LONDON
The Outpost - BEIRUT
Oxford American - ARKANSAS
Peeps Magazine - TORONTO
Perdiz - Barcelona
Somesuch Stories - LONDON
The White Review - LONDON
Weapons of Reason - LONDON


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.

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. Before joining DIE ZEIT, Amend was the editor of the Sunday supplement of Der Tagesspiegel and deputy editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung jetzt-Magazin.

Student magazine of the year

Winner: King's Review

Commended: Nii Journal, Metazine


41-43 - HAMBURG
Artefact - LONDON
Brasilia - HANNOVER
Hearing Aid - ST ANDREWS
King's Review - CAMBRIDGE
Nicht Jetzt! - Hamburg
Niijournal - LONDON
Notes Magazine - CAMBRIDGE
Overground - TURIN
Overview - LONDON
Pacific Rim - VANCOUVER


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.

Ruth Jamieson

Ruth Jamieson is author of Print Is Dead, Long Live Print, a book that delves deep into the current resurgence in independent magazine publishing around the world

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.


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.

The Stack Awards are supported by

Get more from Stack


See the best new magazines in your newsfeed


Stay up to date with the latest publishing news


Ogle the loveliest covers and editorial design


Stack news and offers,
sent to your inbox

Read more, pay less

Subscribe to Stack today
Back to top