Anyone familiar with the publishing house McSweeney’s may have read their excellent magazine The Believer. Primarily a magazine about literature it also contains an eclectic mix of art, music, film and politics, all brought together in a rather beautiful little package.
The visual approach was originally developed by author, designer and McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers. The text heavy content is typeset in a mixture of centred and fully justified text and framed by heavy page borders. This conservative appearance is jarred by the magazine’s playful tone of voice, the ample use of intriguing illustrations (provided by Tony Millionaire and a different guest illustrator each month) and the eccentric covers which are a visual delight. The covers are formed from a grid of 9 squares with wordy headlines sized to fit, decorative flourishes, varying colour schemes and illustrations by the great comic book artist Charles Burns. Despite this rigid system it still manages to look fresh every month.
In many ways The Believer could be seen as The New Yorker’s rebellious little cousin.