Here you will find the editors’ notes from the final printed issue of Print magazine, along with 77 years of archived covers. Keep in touch with us here on printmag.com and on our social channels listed above.
“In publication since 1940, Print is the oldest graphic design periodical in the world. In its 77-year history, the magazine evolved from a technical and scholarly journal aimed at the printing trade, to a main- stream magazine providing critical reporting and analysis of all facets of graphic design and visual culture. The first issue revealed a magazine that was completely ahead of its time: It featured Bruce Rogers’ thumbprints on the cover, and nothing else—not even a logo.
“Since the beginning, the magazine has sought to identify emerging trends and issues in design. Martin Fox, Print’s editor for 40 years, was committed to showing all of the influences in visual culture—high and low—that affect designers, and also revealing to designers their impact on the world of visual culture.
“I first met Joyce Rutter Kaye, Print’s four-time National Magazine Award-winning editor from 1998–2008, on an early morning flight from New York to Vancouver for the 2003 national AIGA conference. I didn’t know Joyce, and it didn’t occur to me that she was also traveling to the conference until Paula Scher passed by our aisle and they waved. When I asked her what she did, she replied that she worked at Print. I couldn’t help but gush. Though I had been avidly reading the magazine for decades, I had never met anyone employed there, and I was simultaneously awed and intimidated. Over the next few days, we bumped into each other at the conference and subsequently met for lunch when we returned to New York. Shortly thereafter, she asked to see some of my writing, and several months later, I was assigned my first piece for Print. Since 2005 I have written for nearly every issue of the magazine. In 2015, I was appointed editorial and creative director by then-publisher Gary Lynch, and working with him, the brilliant editor-in-chief Zac Petit, and legendary contributing editors Steven Heller, Rick Poynor and Seymour Chwast has been the gift of a lifetime. Together we tried to increase the cultural vitality of the publication, itself a cultural institution. Reader feedback and recent industry awards suggest we were well on our way.
“To everyone reading this, and to everyone that has ever read an issue of Print: We thank you. It has been a privilege to work on this national treasure, and we are so grateful for your attention, your curiosity and your support.” —Debbie Millman
Cover archives from 1940s–1970s
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“When I was offered the job of being Print’s editor—a gig I had long fantasized about over the years while working for other magazines owned by the same publisher—I planned on turning it down. ‘What I’m afraid of, I told my boss at the time, ‘is being Print’s last editor. I’m terrified of it.’
“For those of us working in the magazine industry, the writing has long been on the wall: Users, indeed, are completing their mass migration online. And publishers are not exactly leaping at the chance to take on the costs of a print magazine if they can reach more people online for much less. Even with a devoted army of print Print fans, how long could we keep it going?
“Magnifying my fear was the pure fact that Print has always been special. It’s one thing to be the prospective editor of a magazine riding a timestamped trend like, say, fidget spinners. But it’s another to edit a magazine that has been around for nearly eight decades, has won every award in the industry (including a ‘best consumer magazine’ win this year in the Folio Awards), and has served as a vital chronicler of the field since before the term “graphic design” was ever used.
“While standing on the shoulders of giants, one does not want to teeter. But in the end, I was powerless to the prospect of the gig. I had to take it.
“I write this in the fall, when reminders of life cycles are never more apparent. This is the final print issue of Print, and the magazine will be fully online going forward. It is indeed a sad—nay, painful—day. But if we must mourn, let it be an Irish wake. For in its years, Print did that rare thing publishers yearn for but cannot simply manufacture: Print transcended its status as a simple paper magazine. As Steven Heller details in his reflections on page 160, it’s long been so much more: a community.
“And with a community comes community values. In the world of design media, it’s so much simpler to share a beautiful project than to ask real questions of the field. Indeed, there is a place for sharing pretty objects, and we continue to share them in this issue and beyond. But Print readers have always demanded more, and Print was always at its best when it was questioning the field, poking, prodding, as many the Tibor Kalman essay did over the years. For my part, I saw Print as a pirate ship in the design world, and as a journalist, I worked to bring voices to the magazine that would help raise the black flag.
“Between Debbie Millman, my staff and me, there was a feeling that we were working on not just a magazine, but something more. Ultimately, the Print community—be it my genius partner Debbie, Steven Heller, all of Print’s contributors and readers, all of the people I bugged and subsequently wrote about—embodies the ethos and lifestyle of the magazine more than the printed book itself ever could. It is with great comfort and optimism that I look to the future and realize that despite the loss of its printed form, the community, more than 75 years in the making, endures.
“I never wanted to be Print’s last editor. But I am sure as hell glad that I was. Thank you for inviting this journalist into your world.” —Zachary Petit
Cover archives 1980s–2010s