SPD 47: Magazine of the Year - 15th Anniversary

SPD 47: Magazine of the Year - 15th Anniversary
In 1997, SPD debuted the Magazine of the Year award at its Pub33 Gala. The idea, conceived by co-chairs Janet Froelich and Robert Newman, was to create a best-of award voted on by all the judges who participated in the awards. It was a recognition of the best magazine of the year, the one with the best all-around design, imagery, graphics, illustration, and general visual magic. The first winner was 2wice, art directed by Abbott Miller. Since then the list of winning magazines and art directors reads like a who's who of publication design: The New York Times Magazine, Details, GQ, Martha Stewart Kids, New York, Wired (add more names, my memory is slipping), and art directors Janet Froelich, Fred Woodward, Patrick Mitchell, Debra Bishop, Luke Hayman, Rockwell Harwood, John Korpics, and Scott Dadich. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Magazine of the Year, and it remains the ultimate SPD award, the acknowledgement by the visual community of the very best in publication design.

This year marks the 15th Anniversary and the return of Robert Newman as chair for The Society's highest honor. Here, Part 1 of our retrospective, as we look back at the first five winners of Magazine of the Year.

  • 2wice; AD Abbott Miller (Pentagram)
    2wice; AD Abbott Miller (Pentagram)
  • The New York Times Magazine; Janet Froelich, AD
    The New York Times Magazine; Janet Froelich, AD
  • Fast Company; Patrick Mitchell, AD
    Fast Company; Patrick Mitchell, AD
  • Esquire; John Korpics, DD
    Esquire; John Korpics, DD
  • Details; Rockwell Harwood, AD
    Details; Rockwell Harwood, AD

PUB 33 (featuring the work of 1997):
AD Abbott Miller (Pentagram)

PUB 34 (featuring the work of 1998):
The New York Times Magazine
Janet Froelich, AD

PUB 35 (featuring the work of 1999):
Fast Company
Patrick Mitchell, AD

PUB 36 (featuring the work of 2000):
John Korpics, DD

PUB 37 (featuring the work of 2001):
Rockwell Harwood, AD

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A SPD Q&A with John Korpics (excerpted from "SPD Solid Gold"):

Who is the person who had the most influence on you?
My high school art teacher, Claude Falcone. I was trying to be a fine artist, and he looked at all of my work and sat me down in his cluttered office and said 'Have you ever thought about graphic design?'. Changed my life

How do you lead your staff?
I play to their strengths. Everybody has something they do well. If a person is particularly strong, a lot of times the magazine's look will adjust to allow them to do what they do best. This way, every time a new person comes in, there is the possibility that the magazine will evolve a little, and stay fresh. I love that.

What's the worst career move you've made?
The job I hated the most, without a doubt was Musician magazine. I was completely alone. I assigned everything, designed everything, did all the billing, all of the pre-production, proofing, press checks, and returned all the art with tear sheets, while sitting in a small closet sized cubicle wedged between a guy who farted all day, chewed on his unwashed pony tail and practiced his drumming on a drum pad, and a guy who talked as fast as an auctioneer and never shut up. I did the whole thing on a Mac IIx that crashed so much that I still to this day hit Apple-S every 5 minutes, and I did it all for $7,000 and issue, most of which went to shoot the cover. I lasted 1 year and I developed a minor drinking problem.

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