As an organization, The People are optimistic and try to avoid negativity at every turn.
As a designer though, going to a magazine store is a pretty difficult experience. It is a typographic acid trip.
There is a vast sea of niche lifestyle magazines, which, for the most part, lack any real savvy but are honest and maintain a readership through consistent content.
Then there are the self-conscious, fashion-y magazines that try to out-avant-garde each other every month or quarter. They cost loads to make. And deliver little. And there's a new one every time you turn around.
And for some reason, there are very few magazines that offer great content AND design.
In terms of content, Esquire, Arena, and Wallpaper bring something to the table.
When considering design, Purple Fashion Magazine, Cabinet and, the ever-inventive Visionaire are quite stunning.
There are only a few magazines that have a great offering in both categories.
Dwell is well-shot with good writing and engaging subjects specifically for people with an interest in architecture, design and interiors.
Swindle is a wide-ranging youth culture magazine which is edited by Roger Gastman (of While you Were Sleeping...) and art directed by Sheppard Fairey (Obey). There is a rotating door of guest writers, illustrators and photographers that maintain a newness necessary in any culture magazine. Many of them are young and ambitious, and there is something intrinsically "good" about that.
Stopsmiling is an excellent publication. The writing, photography and design is top-notch and consistent. What makes it really unique is that the focus shifts per issue and keeps the content fresh.
Icon was just guest edited by Peter Saville a couple of months ago. And though that issue was really good, many other issues are bogged down by articles about the design emporers. In general, it is well-shot and well-designed.
The best covers, however, are coming from a UK magazine called Exit. When every other magazine is zigging and zagging, maybe it's best to just _____. The content is ambitious. The photography is high-quality and in many cases, truly artistic. But mostly, it's the cover. The confidence to avoid the crash!, pow!, zing! of the magazine market is admirable. No photos. No feature-teasers. Just beautiful, iconic colors. And now with gradients! A salute to Exit.