Stack Awards 2019: Launch of the Year

by Kitty Drake in November 2019
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Launch of the Year is probably the category we get most excited about. Every single magazine on the list brought out their first issue this year, so it’s a feast of brand ideas and design. This is the print that is reshaping the industry, making it question itself, and shaking things up.

Our judges for this category are MagCulture director Jeremy Leslie, and writer and designer Debbie Millman, who hosts the award-winning podcast Design Matters. Read more about them here, and scroll down to see the full shortlist.

Afterparti | London

Race is not the main subject of this eclectic, provocative architecture magazine. But the diversity of its founders inform its topics: mental health, the relationship between fruit and Caribbean identity, and designing for London’s poorest schools.

Day + Night | New York, NY

Designed to look like a tiny cassette tape, this fabulous little magazine contains “liner notes for a New York mixtape”. There are seven tracks for day and seven for night. Each is selected by a different person, with a deeply personal micro-essay about the significance of the song, and the city.


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Double Issue | San Francisco, CA

Double Issue sits stories from the present day next to those from the past. The focus is the San Francisco Bay area, where the editorial team live — so, for example, a piece about gay bar casualties in the forties is printed alongside an investigation of the scene now. The idea is to tell stories of social progress and setbacks in arcs of time. 


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Emergence | Inverness, CA

Emergence is an annual magazine about ecology and spirituality. The care that goes into its design is a testament to that. Completely ad-free, the edition uses eight different textures of paper and is held together with hand-sewn binding.


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Hacking Finance New York, NY

Nominated for four awards this year, Hacking Finance is another accomplished new magazine on the scene. Literary and beautiful, HF redefines what finance “even is”, featuring skateboarding, asteroid mining and “shady art markets”.



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Mal London

Themed ‘That Obscure Object’, the launch issue of this journal of sexuality and erotics is about “the amorphous and generative dimensions of desire”. Contributions explore the relationship between infatuation and creativity, and violence.

Meantime Singapore

A break-out star of 2019, Singaporean magazine Meantime has been nominated for Best Original Non-fiction and Cover of the Year, too. Inspired by the New York Times’ Modern Love column, it unpicks the history and culture of Singapore through an under-appreciated form: the love story.

Oh-So | Mount Kisco, NY

Skateboarding has been marketed as a rebel pursuit, but, as the opening essay in Oh-So’s launch issue explains, the skate park has been a depressingly male hetero space. This magazine is a riposte to all that, profiling female skaters around the world.



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Present | Berlin

Present is about the creative process, but it emphasises its rocky, unromantic side. The art and interviews featured pay close attention to the “present moment”; to pulling readers away from “faux nostalgia”.


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Rotten | Berlin

Joel Seawright decided to make Rotten (named after Johnny Rotten) as a way to redirect his negative energy. The title for issue one is “Look Daddy, I made a magazine!”. An unconventional photography magazine, Joel prints correspondence between himself and his contributors, and scribbles editorial notes on the pictures. In this way the magazine reads like it’s coming together — messily and eclectically — as you read it.


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Tinted Window | London

Tinted Window bases every issue around just one person, place or object. The launch issue is about Hervé Guibert, a French artist credited with changing public attitudes to Aids.


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Visions | London

Visions is a literary science fiction magazine that publishes a wide range of stories; from super-short flash fiction written in collaboration with a bot, through to a whole novel translated from French to English for the first time.

What Do People Do? | Vilnius

What Do People Do? is about the way work is changing. This issue focuses on young Lithuanians. Instead of telling grand success narratives, WDPD talks about the little beginnings, and moments when you have no idea what to do next.


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Where is the Cool? | Paris

An antidote to the long-form, this magazine gives us 21 deliciously concise answers to that ridiculously expansive question.


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Where the Leaves Fall | London

Where the Leaves Fall explores the relationship between people and nature. Global stories are told by people living locally: the central piece, about indigenous people living through the deforestation of the Amazon, is by Brazilian photographer Gabriel Uchida, who has lived with tribe.


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Winners will be announced on November 14 at the Stack Awards ceremony at Somerset House. Tickets are available now.

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