Premiere Issues

Premiere Issues

Premiere Issues, Archive of Magazine Firsts, is a smart, simple, well-designed website featuring the covers of over 200 debut issues of magazines, ranging from Communication Arts to Ray Gun to Good, with many lesser-known publications as well. The brainchild of designer Danielle Huthart, the site was launched in 2002 and has been consistently updated and upgraded since. In addition to covers, there are credits and mission statements for each magazine. Huthart, who lives and works in Hong Kong at Whitespace studio, describes her motivation in starting the site: "I had already amassed a collection of first issues, and I thought it would be fun to share these with others. I love documenting and clearly I love communication and design. The site is my tribute to all the hard work and energy that goes into the creation of a magazine."

Premiere Issues is not only informative and great fun, it offers a perfect template for a way to expand print publications to the web, building community and collaboration at the same time.

We asked Huthart to share her top 10 premiere issues for SPD.


It's Nice That, 2009. "This is a recent addition, but it's the first time I've seen a blog turn itself into a print magazine. Usually it's the other way around. These guys, Will and Alec, have put together a really great first issue."

Danielle Huthart: "The first version of the site went up in 2002. I was living in New York back then, working as a web designer. With some help, I designed and built a very basic site, and posted around 60 or so covers. Then people started contacting me, and submitting their first issues. As a young designer with little experience with the internet, this was a thrill."

No. A, 2001. "People are most curious about this particular magazine. It's the only one I've seen that has been designed the way a fashion designer creates a collection: pure, unabashed, stylish."

Our Magazine, 2003. "If I was going to do a magazine, it would be something similar to this. It focuses on a different topic each time--it's humorous, well-designed and a lot of fun."


VMagazine, 2001. "In 1999, while I was still attending Parsons, I had the privilege of contributing to the first issue of V Magazine. I worked with Grey Foley on a typeface that was based on Avant Garde. I love seeing how it's evolved over the past 10 years."

Danielle Huthart: "We've not got over 217 covers, and continue to get a couple new magazines each month. A lot of our friends and fans know we collect first issues, so every so often we'll get a package of them, or an email telling us about a launch."

Spankin' New, 2003. "The magazine was designed by a good friend, Nicolas Felton. I sat there in the studio with him for much of the summer while this was being put together. It's an ingenious, graphics-intensive first issue."

Macworld, 1980. "I've been a Mac user all my life, and I love this issue more for its history than its aesthetic, and for how Apple has revolutionized design." 

List, 2000. "Who wouldn't love a magazine that is just made up of lists? I picked this magazine up in New York and never saw another issue. Someone needs to revive this."

Danielle Huthart: "The best part is still the hunt. It's become a habit now. I can't walk into a bookshop or an airport newsstand without scouring the racks for an '01' or "premiere issue" or "launch issue." Sometimes I'll contact the editor or ask friends to look out for a certain magazine. Earlier this year I arrived in London and finally found Katie Grand's LOVE magazine after hitting three cornershops in Notting Hill."

Me, 2004. "Another clever concept for an independent magazine, that focuses on a single person and the people they know. I love the simplicity."

Communication Arts, 1959. "This magazine came to the archives directly from Communication Arts. This is the oldest cover we have, and it's perhaps the most beautiful. It just shows that good design is still fresh, 50 years on."

Ray Gun, 1992. "This magazine was the very first first issue I picked up, in a bookshop in Monterey, California. Ray Gun is one of the reasons I became a graphic designer, so thanks Ray Gun."

Danielle Huthart: "Whitespace studio is a team of 10 based in Hong Kong, and we design brand identities and websites for clients, both here and abroad. We're growing steadily, but we take time to do our own projects, such as Premiere Issues, because this is where we have the most fun. We exhibited the Premiere Issue Project last year, and hope we can do a few more events or fun things surrounding this idea in the future."

  • Todd Weinberger

    I still have my copy of List! It's my most treasured magazine. And Raygun… the most ground breaking, gravity defying, f**ked up magazine ever created. I spent an hour trying to read a Trent Reznor and Perry Farrell interview that had a super thin column layout with each line from each interview in between each other. Hard to picture, but it was worth every minute!

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