10 Independent Magazines Worth the Subscription

Lifestyle

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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!

Top Image Source: We Heart

BY Kate Arends - June 3, 2016

17 Comments  +

add a comment

  1. Kristen Sarah

    June 3rd, 2016 at 10:51 am

    I am loving the growing “magazine” trend right now! Another one that I have been buying lately is Darling Magazine!! It follows a similar trend to those that you posted!!

  2. Amanda

    October 10th, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    I just recently subscribed to Darling as well and LOVE it.

  3. Jade

    June 3rd, 2016 at 11:22 am

    LOVE this list. I’m always on the hunt for inspiring magazines & this list is plentiful…

  4. Rachel Brixius

    June 3rd, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Another independent magazine you might appreciate is Wolftree. It was created by a couple out of Fargo, ND and celebrates makers and dreamers.

  5. Kate

    June 3rd, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Thank you for the suggestion, Rachel!

  6. Savanna

    June 3rd, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    OH, thank you for the Stack recommendation! I was just looking for something like that today. LOVE TGD!

  7. Kaylee Karcher

    June 4th, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Great post! I have never heard of any of these magazines and you have made me want to read them all! (:

    XX -Kaylee

  8. Leigh O'Rourke

    June 4th, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    An exceptional quarterly called Howler explores all aspects of soccer. Great graphics and thoughtful, well-written articles. Worth checking out!

  9. Mun

    June 5th, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Great recommendations. I’m also loving this other one called another escape. Check it out!

  10. Anna Oates

    June 5th, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    I’ve always loved magazines and definitely need to start branching out and reading more independent ones! Thank you so much for the suggestions- I had only heard/read Kinfolk!

  11. Adam

    June 6th, 2016 at 4:03 am

    I’ve read only The happy reader from this list and I enjoyed it a lot.

  12. Rachel

    June 8th, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    These all look so interesting! A bit pricey, but it looks like they’re worth it 🙂

  13. Alexis

    June 9th, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Have you seen Yen? It’s an Australian lifestyle/fashion magazine that is genius. I can’t live without it now.

  14. Daniel

    June 16th, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Great review. It is cool to see new publications launching and independant magazines get the attention they deserve. #WeLovePrint

  15. Carlos Felipe

    June 19th, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    I live in Brazil and here the culture of reading magazines has finished, but I think why the magazines here are not as interesting as yours

  16. Marcus

    January 25th, 2017 at 2:59 am

    Always pleased to see recognition for independent media outlets.

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