10 Independent Magazines Worth the Subscription

It feels good to crack open a book, but I’ll admit that I often don’t have the time to sit down and read an entire novel these days. Magazines have been a great way to pass the time on quick flights (during take-off and landing), and I’ve really enjoyed those 4o minutes to relax with something, well, not digital. You can’t take the design lover out of the designer, and I’ve been so pleased with the emergence of really well made glossies that take design seriously. You can tell their (often small) staffs work tirelessly to produce quality content that is for a niche audience. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up 10 independent magazines you should flip through. They’re a great beach accessory, don’t you think? Happy reading!

1/ SUITCASE

Part travel, part fashion, and all fantastic. The quarterly magazine aims to change the way creatives and entrepreneurs travel by ignoring tourist cliches and embracing adventure. Their website is equally as awesome, featuring City Guides and packing tips. Another selling point is their Photo Journals– a stunning collection of images from across the globe.

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2/ Bare

Bare is intentionally raw and unfussy. The magazine doesn’t retouch or Photoshop any of its images, a pleasant change from the pictures of women commonly put in magazines. Bare focuses on global fashion, culture, and art in a stark and refreshing manner.

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3/ Kinfolk

I know you know Kinfolk, in fact I think we can safely say it paved the way for many of the magazines featured in this post! While the quarterly slow lifestyle magazine has become so popular it’s become almost parody, the quality of the design and photography keep me coming back for more eye candy. Nathan Williams, the magazine’s creative director and editor-in-chief, has also published Kinfolk books on interiors and recipes.

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4/ New Philosopher

New Philosopher‘s goal is single fold: give readers ways to live a more fulfilling life. The quarterly mag is for those who have not studied philosophy but are intrigued by the subject. They cover a broad range of topics and consider the philosophical thoughts that challenge the current conditions. If you’re looking for a publication that makes you think, this one’s for you.

5/ The Gourmand

Food magazines are great resources for recipes and cooking tips but if you’re out for something more, The Gourmand hits the nail on the head.  The biannual journal exists at the intersection of some of my favorite things: food, art, and culture. It’s equal parts whimsical and serious, combining stunning editorial photos with amusing illustrations. In addition, the writing is witty and informative.

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6/ Offscreen

Offscreen is somewhat ironic, but all sorts of awesome. It’s a print publication dedicated to covering the lives and work of those who create the content online. The people featured have pieces published in the magazine that are written in first person. If you needed another reason to be intrigued, the quarterly 120-page publication is designed and edited by one person.

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7/ Weapons of Reason

Danny Miller, founder of the mag, called Weapons of Reason a magazine to change the world. The impeccably designed magazine covers the big issues– the ones that could and do change the world. It has a little of everything you could want in a non-mainstream magazine: graphics, fantastic writing, and thought-provoking coverage.

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8/ The Happy Reader

A self-described “bookish quarterly,” The Happy Reader is one inspiring publication. The simple yet striking design puts all of the focus on the text. Half of the magazine is an interview and the other half is a dissection of a classic book or novel. If you took the vow, like me, to read more, this is a great place to start.

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9/ The Great Discontent

The Great Discontent focuses on risk. The print magazine and its online platform cover bold artists and creatives of all kinds– and their pursuit of success. The staff at TGD manages to pull memorable quotes from their interviewees in the form of longer interviews, short pieces, and video features.

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10/ Remarkable

For a biannual magazine that’s only published two issues, Remarkable has made quite and impression. It’s a remarkably well curated magazine and digital space that wants its readers to focus on making better choices. They address a different concern every issue and inform you so you can choose to make a change.


If you’re really interested in independent magazines, try Stack. The service delivers a different independent publication each month. Equal parts surprise and delight!

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