• PrintMag

PRINT Magazine Cover Archives 1940–2017

“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

“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


Howard Trafton (1897–1964) designed the first Print cover, and the reason for that is not entirely clear. But Trafton, who taught at The Art Students League of New York and is best known for the typefaces Trafton Script (1933) and Cartoon (1936), believed that the principles of art and design were the same. It was daring for Print to publish such an abstract cover (even though the thumbprints belonged to the classical book designer Bruce Rogers). In a way, this cover illustrated a footnote to the first editorial, which read, “There has been little agreement so far as to a proper definition of the term ‘graphic arts.’ Print takes the term broadly: to describe all the means by which ideas are reproduces in visual form.”

—Steven Heller, Covering Print: 75 Covers, 75 Years


The cost to subscribe to Print in 1941 was $5.00 for one year and $9.00 for two years. With today’s inflation, that would be just over $80.00 for a year.




The cover illustration here is titled The Zamba by F. Molina Campos. The image was printed separately and then fixed to the cover with adhesive.



William Edwin Rudge established Print to advocate a masterful level of craft and precision. German-born William Metzig (1893–1989) met those expectations with his design of this calligraphic cover, which was produced before Print settled on a fixed nameplate…

—Steven Heller, Covering Print: 75 Covers, 75 Years





Before “The Typography Issue,” Print offered the “Typewriter Type Issue.”

“An artificial machine or method for the impressing or transcribing of letters, singly or progressively, one after another as in writing, whereby all writing whatsoever may be engrossed on paper or parchment so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print; that the said machine or method may be of great use in settlements and publick records, the impression being deeper and more lasting than any other writing, and not to be erased or counterfeited without manifest discovery.”

So read the first patent for a typewriter. Henry Mill, an English engineer, in June 1714 applied for and secured from Britain’s Queen Anne, this “letters patent,” based on the above description. No record of Mill’s machine exists today, but his patent wording still stands up as a description of today’s typewriter.

—Lawrence A. Audrain, Print June, 1952; Vol. 7 No. 3




Still with William Edwin Rudge Publisher Inc., Print‘s format moved from that of essentially a journal to a magazine. While retaining much of the same content as earlier volumes, including a feature on figurative typography, the magazine also stepped outside of the norms with an article on printmaker Josef Scharl by the Albert Einstein. This cover, by Sports Illustrated art director and illustrator Jerome Snyder (1916–1976), stretched around to the back and offered a little cognitive dissonance from the articles on classical themes, instead illustrating the variety of entries in the AIGA’s 13th Annual Exhibitions of Design and Printing for Commerce. Snyder later co-authored with Milton Glaser a popular column in New York Magazine called The Underground Gourmet.

—Steven Heller, Covering Print: 75 Covers, 75 Years




“The paper is the carrier of the work of art.”

—Douglass Howell, Papermaker



PRINT declared, in its first issue in 1940, its intention to demonstrate the far-reaching importance of the graphic arts which they defined as all the means by which ideas are reproduced in visual form. Excluded were the fine arts, photographic prints and television. In their first editorial, the editors decried “the dissociation of the field, the uncoordinated energies, the inarticulate voice. The power of graphic arts are needed to build a better world,” they declared.

In the 20 years of PRINT‘s existence many accomplishments and changes have come about.

Articulate indeed we have become, and the men and women who have raised their voices and given us the privilege of their talents are among the most respected in the world of creative effort: Philip Hofer, Moholy-Nagy, Frederick W. Goudy, John Taylor Arms, and more recently by such as Will Burtin, Saul Bass, Walker Evans, Herbert Bayer, Egbert Jacobson, etc.

We have grown to see the field develop the broadest use of visual communication utilized by educators and educational institutions, industrialists, governments, and collectors of works of art as well.

The energies of our professional people have been recognized and supported by such organizations as American Institute of Graphic Arts, Society of Typographical Arts, The Art Directors Club, Package Designers Council, Type Directors Club, etc.

Today, mindful of the indivisible unity of all the arts, PRINT recognizes the relationship and indeed interdependence of painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, the film, television, the cartoon—all visual expressions of our three-dimensional world. Barriers of intellect, snobbery, and use are being eliminated. This is being accomplished by evolutionary means, more slowly paced than the revolutionary methods and manifestations in our surroundings.

PRINT mourns the demise of Flair, Portfolio, VerveP.M.and A.D. We who have shared their hopes salute their past efforts and hope we have pursued their purpose and tradition. PRINT looks forward to the next 20 years, to expanding its horizons and fulfilling the needs of our time. These needs must not be confused with the quotidian insistence on commercialization, on the initiative of design mainly for purposes of sales and profits. Artists and designers should be trained more and more with philosophical concepts and technological ideas as well as with the skills and techniques of their craft.

In this anniversary issue, the editors have asked Albert Christ-Janer of Pratt Institute as an educator to look back into the past and review the last twenty years. It is most fitting that he, at the helm of one of the most forward-thinking institutions, should do this. Himself a painter and writer, and for many years an educator, he brings something of the visionary to his work and thus acknowledges the past in the future. Bruce Mackenzie, editor of the IBM Journal of Research and Development, helps to extend the present into the future in his section on the next twenty years. Again it is fitting that he should do this. It is no longer extraordinary that magazines on design should include in their pages material on architecture, on economics, on scientific and technical views. It is also not extraordinary that the world of science should recognize and use the work of designers. We all work with the vocabulary and grammar of our times.

—THE EDITORS, Print January/February, 1960; Vol. 14 No. 1






To prepare this issue, PRINT‘s editors interviewed many of the top creative people and executives of the Interpublic components. Those interviewed include: David Deutsch, executive art director, McCann-Erickson; Tom Heck, executive art director, Johnstone, Inc.; Wolf Lieschke, executive vice president, Fletcher Richards; Paul Foley, chairman, McCann-Erickson; Henry Wolf, Jack Tinker & Partners; Leyton Carter, president, ICR and more.




Bottom right: New York artist Barbara Nessim was one of the first significant women illustrators working in a primarily male-dominated profession. She had a lyrical style that was suggestive and symbolic and built a reputation for transcending the clichés of a field built on realism. Frequent editorial work helped solidify her place in illustration history. “There are virtually no differences either in style of point of view between the work which Miss Nessim does for herself and that which she does for commercial clients,” wrote associate art director Carol Stevens in the cover story. That lack of duality between art and commercial art was highly valued by Print‘s editors.

—Steven Heller, Covering Print: 75 Covers, 75 Years




Center left: Print‘s political coverage often generate protest letters from readers who strongly objected to what they preceived as New York liberal partisanship sullying their design coverage. By 1970, feminism was a long-overdue fact of American life, but it was still a controversial subject. Andrew P. Kner’s cover, a witty sample of the ultra-romantic “Liberty Leading the People” by Eugène Delacroix, represented the story “Women’s Lib and Women Designers.” The piece noted that, even then, women’s salaries were than men’s. Surprise? 

—Steven Heller, Covering Print: 75 Covers, 75 Years





Cover painting by Roy Carruthers




Rick Meyerowitz (born 1943) was best known for his National Lampoon cover of “Mona Gorilla,'” a parody of the famous Mona Lisa. His cover comically showed the dangers of the freelance life. Inside, his caricatures were showcased in “Utter Madness” by Valerie F. Brooks, who wrote that Meyerowitz’s “delight at being a cartoonist is equaled only by his amazement at his own abilities … and output.”

—Steven Heller, Covering Print: 75 Covers, 75 Years



Cover Illustration: Fred Marcellino