A look back at last year’s Stack Awards winners

by Grace Wang in September 2017

Still the only awards scheme dedicated entirely to independent magazines, the Stack Awards is back for a third year. The entries are flowing into the office, and we’re excited that we’re already seeing titles that we haven’t seen before, alongside the familiar favourites.

Last year saw a huge increase in entries from 2015, and our wonderful judges from around the world, each an expert in their categories, handled the tough job of picking the winners. Here’s a quick look back at those who came out on top, some choice words from our judges on why they chose them, and what it meant to win an award…

Magazine of the Year: MacGuffin

I could go on about MacGuffin’s conscientious research, or their idiosyncratic eye for oft-overlooked details, but Jeremy Leslie, founder of magCulture and one of our judges in this category explains it all in the video below.

Editors Ernst van der Hoeven and Kirsten Algera tell me, “Making an independent magazine is tremendous fun but to keep up with the hard work you have to somehow be very centred. Being your own publisher, there is always so much to do that there is hardly time to exchange your ideas with other magazine makers. For us, the most important thing of the award is that special moment of coming together. We sensed a very special community feeling of solidarity amongst the other independent makers.”


“It is so meaningful and inspiring to be able to meet and speak to other magazine makers from other titles you deeply respect and admire. And having been spoken about online so enthusiastically by one of the jury members Jeremy Leslie was of course a thing we could never have dreamt of in the first place.”

Best Use of Photography: Gather Journal

This elegant food magazine won the judges’ hearts with their iconic photography — delicate, thoughtful compositions that could be mistaken for an oil painting. Here’s Gather Journal’s winning issue standing on their Stack Awards trophy, amongst the many other accolades they’ve accrued…


Creative director Michele Outland says, “We were thrilled to receive the award for Best Use of Photography from Stack last year. It’s always such a huge honour to to have our efforts recognised, especially by our highly esteemed peers in the industry.”

Launch of the Year: Real Review

This was a popular category as new magazines are popping up by the week, but Real Review was a firm winner for our judges Steven Gregor of Gym Class and Indiemags’ Malte Brenneisen and Urs Spindler.

Editor Jack Self says, “The Stack Awards are amongst the most prestigious for independent magazines in the world. It was an honour, a validation, as well as a great encouragement to win. Most of all it’s a great event, a fun evening and a good chance to meet like-minded mag enthusiasts.”

Art Director of the Year: Voortuin

This young and playful title from Amsterdam was seen as a ‘wild card’ for winning the prestigious category, but the judges (Debbie Millman, president of AIGA and Angharad Lewis of Grafik.net) loved Voortuin’s inventiveness and element of surprise. Here’s their winning magazine and trophy sitting in their studio today…


One of their editors Tom S. Janssen remarks, “We met a lot of nice people, I remember thinking ‘Wow, what an awesome scene.’ More than an award show, it was a party with people who love magazines. Winning the award was just the icing on the cake. Then again, who wants a cake without icing?”

Best Use of Illustration: Ladybeard

Though a relatively new magazine, Ladybeard was shortlisted for an unprecedented four categories in last year’s awards. Created by a team of seven editors, they’re often lauded for their diverse, honest and playful perspectives on the experiences of young women.

Co-editor Sadhbh says, “We’re very makeshift and very independent, and we made our magazine in scraps of spare time while still living with our long-suffering parents. The Stack Awards was a great celebration of that scrappiness and creativity, and the great things that magazines can be however they’re born. As such, it was such a big honour to win! We’re still so, so chuffed and it’s a nice reminder as we toil away at our next issue through the summer.”

Take a look at the full list of winners from last year, and enter for this year’s awards yourself!

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