Jeremy Leslie is a designer, blogger and leading authority on magazine design. He runs the MagCulture website.
What is exciting you currently in the world of magazines?
It’s easy to assume everything’s been done, that publishing is a waning industry, but the opposite is true. Every day the post brings me something new and exciting. The internet has encouraged people to express themselves and also made distribution easier.
There's a group of small independents that are reinventing traditional genres of publishing. Ride Journal (cycling), Carl’s Cars (cars), Fantastic Man (men's), Fire & Knives (food) are a few examples. And there's a general crossover between magazines, newspapers and books that is very interesting, with smaller titles wanting to make the most of print techniques to establish their physical presence and collectibility.
At the other end of the industry, Bloomberg Businessweek, art directed in NY by British designer Richard Turley is a highlight. His reinvigoration of the weekly business magazine is an intelligent mix of organised templates and spontaneous illustrative elements. They've published some great front covers recently – simple, strong and defiantly weekly rather than pretending to have the smoother finish of a monthly.
I’m also enjoying seeing how the editorial potential of the iPad is playing out.
You have a strong interest in experimental publishing, are there any particular publishers worth taking a look at?
There are plenty of individual publications out there, but also some interesting companies publishing more than one title. Amsterdam's TOP Publishing produces Fantastic Man and The Gentlewoman, as well as occasional gay mag Butt. Anorak is a beautiful kids magazine that has many spin offs – apps, books, etc – plus a soon-to-come grown up magazine. The Church of London are a unique editorial outfit, producing movie magazine Little White Lies and board culture title Huck.
What music is floating your boat at the moment?
Anything by Boards of Canada is good to write to, but I need more energy for design. I just rediscovered 45:33 by LCD Soundsystem for that. According to iTunes I’ve also listened a lot to Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma and Rome by Dangermouse & Daniele Luppi recently.
What books have you read lately that you would recommend?
Patti Smith’s Just Kids. All of David Mitchell's books, especially Cloud Atlas, though his latest The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet was a slow starter but I really enjoyed it in the end. He lives in Japan and the story is based in there during the Dutch colonial era. The History of the World in 100 Objects series on R4 was always a weird thing for radio, so I looked to the book for illustration and deeper explanation. Sadly the book itself will never become one of the 100 objects, seemingly thrown together with little thought of adding anything.
Which blogs are you looking at currently?
A new idea from ex-C4 man Matt Locke. Ben Terrett always has intriguing asides on Noisy Decent Graphics. A new development is magazine designers hosting blogs about work in progress and reference material. Biz Week Graphics and Jo Cochrane
Seen any good exhibitions lately?
The Wim Crouwel exhibition, not because of its links with Unit but because there aren't enough shows of graphic design in London, and its the best use of the Design Museum space to date. After endless shows where the huge space has been cut into corridors it was great to see it opened up. And I’m looking forward to the Little White Lies show that opens soon at Kemistry Gallery.
I have to add Adam Curtis's three-part BBC TV series All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. Brilliant story-telling that avoids the easy pigeonholing of art/science/religion/finance by giving the reins over to a creative thinker and letting him run with his ideas. Computers! Self-determinism! The financial crash! Beautifully made, contentious and thought-provoking.