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About SPD

What is the SPD?

The Society of Publication Designers is dedicated to promoting and encouraging excellence in editorial design. Our members are art directors, designers, photo editors, editors and graphics professionals. Since drafting its charter in 1965, the SPD remains the only organization specifically addressing the visual concerns of print and online editorial professionals. Editorial design plays a crucial role in shaping and documenting our common history; the efforts of the Society and its members also serve to educate and enlighten the public about the importance of magazines and online publications.

Our activities promote the role of our members as journalists and partners in the editorial process, as well as fostering new generations of publication designers through educational outreach and scholarship opportunities. Member benefits (see full details below) include significant discounts on events, entry fees, complimentary copies of the SPD Annual, and more.

Society Activities

Annual Design Competition At the end of each year, the Society invites leading design professionals to judge the work of their peers. During three days of judging, top art directors, designers, photo editors, and editors view and discuss over 6,000 entries in over 100 separate categories. This rigorous process produces a show composed of less than ten percent of the entries, representing a unique yearly overview of the quality and direction of editorial design.

Awards Gala A highlight of the Society's year is the annual black-tie awards gala. The work of the competition's winners is shown and the Magazine of the Year, Gold and Silver medals are awarded. Guests attend an evening dinner and dance, meeting old friends and making new acquaintances within this select group of honorees.

Publication Design Annual A full-color, beautifully printed hardcover book reproduces the winning pieces in the show, and is an invaluable resource for anyone working in editorial design. The Annual is perhaps the most widely used creative reference tool in the industry, displaying the outstanding work of editorial photographers and illustrators along with art directors and designers.

Herb Lubalin Award To acknowledge continuing excellence in publication design, the SPD presents an award named for the late, great typographic innovator and designer Herb Lubalin. Recipients of this prestigious award have included:

  • Art Paul, 2006
  • George Lois, 2004
  • Ruth Ansel, 1993
  • Leo Lionni, 1992
  • Rochelle Udell, 1991
  • Milton Glaser, 1990
  • Henry Wolf, 1988
  • Frank Zachary, 1987
  • Will Hopkins, 1986
  • Bradbury Thompson, 1985
  • Cipe Pineles, 1984
  • Lou Silverstein/Jack Golden, 1983

Speaker Series -  Throughout the year, the Society highlights different aspects of the design profession for our members and interested guests; recent seasons have covered everything from typography to illustration and photography, and even sneak peeks behind the scenes at magazine startups and redesigns, and a panel discussions.

Volunteering with SPD
SPD has opportunities for interested volunteers to serve in the SPD main office in NYC and at our various public events. By joining SPD's volunteer community, you are kept informed of upcoming opportunities and become a valuable partner in making SPD events and projects happen. The members of SPD greatly appreciate the generous contribution of volunteer time and effort!

Register Your Interest in Volunteering for SPD:
To register your interest in volunteering with SPD, please complete the questionnaire at this link here. Once you have registered, we will keep you informed of specific volunteer opportunities via email. Please note that SPD's volunteer needs fluctuate and only volunteers being considered for placement will be contacted. Thank you for your interest!