Atomic Magazine: Cool Retro Style

Atomic Magazine: Cool Retro Style Atomic magazine was published from 1999-2004. Jeff Griffith was the co-publisher and creative director of this "essential guide to the retro revival." He describes the magazine's mission as "to bring back the best of a bygone era--the music, the clothing, and the lifestyle--and remind our readers what it means to have fun!" Atomic was filled with retro-styled design, typography, and photography, featuring tons of great talent. The design was lovingly styled to reflect the vintage look of the magazine. Fans of 40s-50s design and imagery will love the pages of Atomic. We've collected some covers and inside pages to celebrate the wonders of this great magazine project, a labor of love by Griffith and editor Leslie Rosenberg.

(Above): The last cover of Atomic. Photograph by Guy Powers.

(Left): Photograph by Matt Naylor, model: Dita Von Teese. (Right): Photograph by Guy Powers.

Photograph by Michael Grecco

Photograph by Michael Cogliantry

Photograph by Dan Winters

Photographs by Richie Fahey

Photograph by Kate Turning

Archival photography for a contemporary story.

Photograph by Robert Jensen

Jeff Griffith is clearing out all his back issues of Atomic. If you want to buy some copies, they're available here.

  • Nancy Stamatopoulos

    Thanks for the link! Beautiful work, fantastic photography. So, Jeff, how can I build that tiki bar??!

  • Julia Spangler

    Those pinups definitely look surreal, but they completely capture the idealized retro aesthetic. Overall Atomic looks like it was a repository of stellar photography and rich design, even if some of the typography and graphic treatments were a little over the top. It's worth checking out Jeff's site posted above; there are more spreads and covers to be seen there.

  • Jeff Griffith

    You're both right, Ralph and Nancy. Jack Magazine did a great job of replicating an old magazine. ATOMIC was a pure act of love created to embody a time of Americana perfection that never really existed (kickstarted by the swing dance revival in 1998/99). I used vintage looks and colors and retro-INSPIRED fonts but wasn't trying to recreate a musty faded look from an attic. Most of the articles were upbeat and positive. The images made you smile and laugh. We always had a not too racy pin-up in the center spread and a very witty but real DIY "How To" section (How To Build A Tiki Bar, How To Do a 1940s Hairdo. We would constantly get letters from soldiers overseas who appreciated this polished American look of a "time gone by"...that surprisingly made them homesick. (Thanks for your help, Brandon and Bob!!)

  • Nancy Stamatopoulos

    A great comparison. Jack magazine def. looks like the real deal. Can't believe it was published in '97 (reminds me of some mags that were lying around the house when I was a kid.) Atomic is cool retro PLayTimE. Sort of paying a polished, creative homage to ol' times. I love them both.

  • Robert Newman

    Thanks for the Jack magazine link. There's great stuff there, beautifully done Jack definitely is closer to the "real" retro look than Atomic, but I think that misses the point. Atomic is a polished, shiny, stylized version of retro. It's not like the originals actually looked like the pages of Atomic, in fact, far from it. This is like a Hollywood movie version of a retro magazine, ramped up with modern techniques and colors (as the say in Hollywood, it's "inspired by.") I give Jeff Griffith a lot of credit. He says that Atomic was the first (and only) magazine he ever designed, and that he figured out how to make the pages look by looking at magazine pages in the SPD annual. Jack magazine is more like the originals, with its spare design, lack of flashiness, and very two-dimensionality. But that's what makes it so cool.

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