The Stack Awards 2018

The Stack Awards are back for their fourth year, searching out the most exciting and inspiring independent magazines published between October 2017 and September 2018.

Led by top talent from across the publishing and creative industries, we believe in judging magazines, not application forms – our judges take a whole month getting to know the shortlisted titles before reaching their decision.

Entries are now closed and the magazines are being shortlisted. We’ll publish news of all the shortlisted magazines on Monday 8 October, and in the meantime you can see the different categories and their judges below.

Magazine of the Year

We’re looking for remarkable magazines that have excelled in 2018, producing the highest quality content to deliver on a strong and clear editorial concept, published between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

The judges consider the magazine in its 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 where she and her team have won numerous awards for their print and interactive design, including Design Team of the Year in 2018 and 2015 from the Art Directors Club and Magazine of the Year from the Society of Publication Designers in 2016. In addition, Gail’s work has been recognised by national and international design organisations including D&AD, the American Institute for Graphic Arts, the Type Directors Club and Creative Review.

The shortlist:
A Dance Mag
Beirut
Anxy
Berkeley
Badland
Berlin
Beauty Papers
London
Flaneur
Berlin
Good Trouble
New York
Ladybeard
London
Migrant Journal
London
Mono.kultur
Berlin
Profane
Paris
Put A Egg On It
New York
Racquet
New York
Suspira
London
Tank
London
Weapons of Reason
London
Launch of the Year

This category is for magazines that made a bright start in 2018, launching with an exciting new editorial concept and high quality content, published between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

The judges consider the magazine in its 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 shortlist:
A Dance Mag
Beirut
A Profound Waste of Time
London
Archivio
Turin
Broccoli
Portland
Contra
London
Eye on Design
New York
It's Freezing in LA
London
Jezga
London
Journal du Thé
London
Matter
London
Nataal
London
Oof
London
Perfect Strangers
San Francisco
Plantain Papers
London
Suspira
London
Editor of the Year

This award is for the editor who has led their magazine to success with a clear and original editorial vision, skilfully packaging their ideas into a compelling and engaging read, published between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

The judges consider a single issue in its entirety and are 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:

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.

Tom Edwards

Tom Edwards is the executive producer of Monocle 24 radio. Tom has worked on titles ranging from Art Review magazine to The Independent (when it was still a proper newspaper). Each week he scrutinises the best titles and chats to key industry figures on M24’s print industry review and analysis programme, The Stack.

The shortlist:
Anxy
Berkeley
Beauty Papers
London
Eye
London
Eye on Design
New York
Harvard Design Magazine
Cambridge
Kajet
Bucharest
Kinfolk
Copenhagen
Kitchen Toke
Chicago
Ladybeard
London
Migrant Journal
London
Off the Block
London
Perfect Strangers
San Francisco
Positive News
London
Rugby
London
The Skirt Chronicles
Paris
Art Director of the Year

We’re looking for the art director whose skilful and distinctive design has elevated their magazine and helped it stand out from the crowd this year, published between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

The judges consider a single issue in its entirety and are looking for characterful design that defines and amplifies the magazine’s editorial identity. Attention will be paid to picture selection, fonts, layout and production to identify the creation of an exceptional magazine brand.

The judges:

Will Hudson

Will Hudson is founder of It’s Nice That and innovation director across the HudsonBec Group – a group of companies that exist to enable creativity to thrive. Founded by Will Hudson and Alex Bec the group provides a framework for a series of small, beautifully structured companies that share a purpose, set of values, a studio space and above all, a belief in the power of creativity. Companies within the group currently include media company It’s Nice That, creative agency Anyways and online resource Lecture in Progress.

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. She is also Chair of the world’s first Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts, and the author of six books on design and branding.

The shortlist:
A New Type of Imprint
Oslo
Anxy
Berkeley
Backstage Talks
Bratislava
Borshch
Berlin
Eye
London
Eye on Design
New York
Little White Lies
London
Lost
Shanghai
Migrant Journal
London
Nang
Seoul
Nomad
Munich
Put A Egg On It
New York
The Second Shelf
London
Weapons of Reason
London
Yes & No
London
Cover of the Year

We want to see the year’s best, most inventive, most enticing magazine covers. The point of a cover is to make people pick up the magazine, so we’re looking for the covers we just can’t resist, published between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

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 180 books, including Merz to Emigre and Beyond: Avant Garde Magazine Design of the 20th Century and 100 Classic Graphic Design Magazines (with Jason Godfrey), Graphic Design Rants and Raves, and most recently THE MODERNS: Midcentury American Modern Graphic Design (with Greg D’Onofrio).

Jaap Biemans

Jaap Biemans is the man behind coverjunkie.com, championing ace cover designs and their designers. He is art director of Volkskrant Magazine and his work has been recognised by D&AD, SPD, ADCN, Mercur and Prix de Couvre. He is also proud to have designed a set of postage stamps for PostNL.

The shortlist:
Archivio
Turin
Beauty Papers
London
Eye on Design
New York
Fare
Glasgow
Four & Sons
Melbourne
Fukt
Berlin
Good Trouble
New York
Ladybeard
London
New Internationalist
Oxford
The Nib
New York
Pan & the Dream
New York
Phile
Toronto
Plasma
Berlin
Printed Pages
London
Quoted
New York
Still
New York
Suspira
London
Swim
London
Varoom
London
Weapons of Reason
London
Best Use of Photography

This category is for the most outstanding photography published in independent magazines this year. We’re looking for images that make readers stop and stare – all genres are eligible, as long as the photography is impactful and memorable.

The judges consider a magazine’s photography in its entirety, and the issue submitted must have been published between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018. The photographs do not need to be original (they may have been published elsewhere before appearing in the magazine) but consideration will 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.

Clare Grafik

Clare Grafik is Head of Exhibitions at The Photographers’ Gallery in London. She has worked for public institutions including the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Hayward Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. At the Photographers’ Gallery she has collaborated with artists and photographers including Lise Sarfati, Isa Genzken and Larry Sultan/Mike Mandel, and her last group exhibition was Double Take: Photography & Drawing (2016). She curated a Bettina Von Zwehl solo exhibition at The Freud Museum, London, (2016), and forthcoming projects include an exhibition on Children’s Photobooks.

The shortlist:
Archivio
Turin
Baron
London
Brownie
Shanghai
Carrete
Barcelona
Cartography
Milan
Der Greif
Augsburg
Fare
Glasgow
Gather Journal
New York
Justified
London
Ladybeard
London
Petrie
London
Record
Melbourne
Rouge Fashionbook
Shanghai
Suitcase
London
Unseen
Amsterdam
Best Use of Illustration

The judges are looking for the best, most characterful, most distinctive illustrations published in independent magazines this year.

They are considering the magazine’s illustrated content in its entirety, and the issue submitted must have been published between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018. Combining excellent artwork with a clear editorial purpose, the winning illustrations will be conceptually rich as well as aesthetically pleasing, adding an extra dimension to the magazine’s stories.

The judges:

Jon Cockley

Jon Cockley set up the illustration agency Handsome Frank in 2010 with his cousin Tom Robinson. The agency now represents 36 artists including Malika Favre, Jean Jullien and Thibaud Herem and they work on illustration and animation projects with clients all over the world. Before Handsome Frank, Jon worked in publishing for ten years for platforms including Creative Review and Design Week.

Simon Armstrong

Simon Armstrong is the book buyer for Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Tate Liverpool, and has been putting books and magazines on art, design and visual culture into people’s hands and heads for over 15 years. Simon was previously the head of retail at the Design Museum in London and store manager at Magma Manchester, following several years working as a bookseller. He also works as a freelance publishing agent and is the author of books on art and architecture. Simon is currently writing a new book on the history of graffiti and street art, set for publication in 2019.

The shortlist:
A Profound Waste of Time
London
The Anonymous Sex Journal
San Francisco
Anxy
Berkeley
Beneficial Shock
Wiltshire
Counterpoint
Edinburgh
Ephemeral
Norwich
Eyeyah!
Singapore
Gentle Rain
Hamburg
New Philosopher
Hobart
The Nib
New York
Oogst
Antwerp
Sassify
London
She Is Fierce
Edinburgh
Umber
Oakland
Weapons of Reason
London
Best Original Non-Fiction

This category is for the most exceptional interviews, reportage, and any other writing based on real events. The judges are looking for original storytelling that informs and engages the reader with a distinctive editorial voice.

The work must be written in English, and it must have been published for the first time between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

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.

Mike Dang

Mike Dang is the editor-in-chief of Longreads, which is dedicated to helping people find and share the best storytelling in the world. He co-founded The Billfold for The Awl Network and has written stories for a variety of national magazines and newspapers based in the U.S. He’s a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

The shortlist:
Anxy
Berkeley
Berlin Quarterly
Berlin
Borshch
Berlin
Ecotone
North Carolina
Eye
London
Fare
Glasgow
Forme
London
Harvard Design Magazine
Cambridge
Nataal
London
Put A Egg On It
New York
Racquet
New York
Rugby
London
Scamp
London
The Nib
New York
Weapons of Reason
London
Best Original Fiction

Our judges are looking for fresh, distinctive fiction that stands out for its inventive ideas and memorable writing.

The work must be written in English, and it must have been published for the first time between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

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.

Luke Neima

Luke Neima is the online editor and digital director of Granta magazine. He is also the deputy editor of Review 31, an online review of the latest nonfiction, literary fiction and poetry. His reviewing, short-form fiction and translation have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, Prospect Magazine and the White Review. He is also the writer of the documentary film Brexitannia, which features Noam Chomsky, Saskia Sassen, Guy Standing, Nick Srnicek, Heidi Mirza and Federico Campagna.

The shortlist:
American Chordata
New York
Archivio
Turin
Ecotone
North Carolina
Ecotone
North Carolina
Funhouse
London
Iota
Matlock
Sand
Berlin
Still
New York
The Tangerine
Belfast
Student Magazine of the Year

This award is for the best magazine published by or affiliated to a university, college or school. The magazine must be creatively led by students, though it may include content and contributions by non-students. It must have been published between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018 and it must have been released and distributed to readers, so proofs of concept and sample issues produced solely for use in class will not be eligible.

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

The judges:

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. She has a monthly column covering magazines on eyeondesign.aiga.org and she’s a guest lecturer at London College of Fashion and the University of the Creative Arts.

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.

The shortlist:
Aether
London
Artefact
London
Brasilia
Hanover
Bumf
Bournemouth
Contrastbalance
Edinburgh
Crumble
Edinburgh
FM/AM
New York
Hearing Aid
St Andrews
Kamena
Warwick
Metazine
Nottingham
Milk
Bath
Oppose
London
Rhizom
Munster
Rocket
Virginia
Siege
Manchester
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, but please bear in mind that the judges will 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 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 in London on Monday 19 November.

How do I buy tickets to the awards ceremony?

Tickets cost £30 including food and drink and they’re available now from the Stack Awards Eventbrite page.

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.

What will happen to the magazines afterwards?

All magazines left over at the end of the process will be sold in our Magazines for Good event, held on Saturday 1 December at The Ace Hotel, and the proceeds will be donated to charity.

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