Glyphs in the Glossies: Magazine Fonts

Design inspiration is often found on the newsstand. In the competition for your attention among thousands of magazines, art directors constantly try on new looks and typefaces, making the glossy world the perfect landscape in which to view typographic trends. Plunk down five bucks and you get a handy bound volume of what works on the printed page and what doesn’t. In the spirit of our recent look at Blueprint, here are a few mags that rise above the newsstand clutter, along with the fonts that help them get there.

Pages from Icon magazine
Icon magazine


icon was the 2004 winner of the Magazine Design Award for “best use of typography”, and the praise is well-deserved. Creative Director Violetta Boxilli emphasizes the distinctive forms of Cholla™ by blowing the typeface up to large sizes and tracing its wordshapes with contrasting boxes. For body copy, Fedra Sans™ matches the magazine’s modern aesthetic, and the occasional appearance of Matrix Script™ adds a decorative touch.

Pages from Donk magazine
Donk magazine


For their premiere issue, Donk combines phat Impalas with the fattest weight of Pasadena™, an old-school retrofuturist sans that we rarely see in print. FTN Sauerkrauto™, with its mechanical structure and roots in ’70s license plate lettering, is perfect for stories about modified rides. Big ups to designers Evan Guernick and Rommel S. Alama.

Pages from Receptions magazine
Brides Receptions magazine


To meet the needs of their capricious clients, wedding planners routinely straddle the line between traditional and contemporary styles. So it makes sense that the typography in Receptions does the same. Font Bureau’s Whitman™ and Relay™ are both present-day interpretations of vintage typefaces and they work beautifully together. Kudos to design director Gretchen Smelter for representing the prevalent duality of classic and modern styles.

Pages from Wallpaper* magazine
Wallpaper magazine


Since its debut just a few years ago, Wallpaper* has been known for its thoughtful typography. The design team, led by Meirion Pritchard, sets each issue in unexpected typefaces — faces that soon become the fashion, in great part due to their appearance in Wallpaper*. Their standby is Amplitude™, one of the most versatile sans serifs, with weights and widths for all settings, text and display alike. The elegance of Big Caslon™ compliments Amplitude throughout.

Pages from Theme magazine
Theme magazine


Theme was new to us, but we were struck by its clean and powerful style. The combination of Lubalin Graph™, Cachet™ (one of our underrated favorites), and FF Scala® give each page an air of authority. Handsome details — like a bird composed entirely of letters (bottom right) —leaven the seriousness with whimsical beauty. We can’t wait to see more from designers Jiae Kim and John H. Lee.

Pages from Real Simple magazine
Real Simple magazine

Real Simple THE NEW HOW-TO

There are few magazines that live up to their titles as well as this one. The design of Real Simple is as straightforward and clear as its content. The clean and open PMN Caecilia™ marries well with FF Meta® to make otherwise mundane tips surprisingly inviting.



Font used in title graphic: Lubalin Graph™.


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