Modernist Magazine Design Commission 2013



The Modernist is a quarterly magazine published in Manchester about Twentieth Century Architecture & Design.

"a beautifully designed homage to modern architecture that comes with a killer combo of black humour and in-depth knowledge Creative Tourist

Each year we will seek a new designer/team to bring a fresh experience to our readers.

Your work at TATE Modern?

As we approach year #3 The Modernist magazine seeks a new voluntary designer/design team to prepare print ready designs for issues no’s.  #9 through to #12.

This commission is an excellent opportunity to display your design skills to an audience that has a specialist interest in design. Your work could also hit the magazine shelves at TATE Modern, MAGMA and Foyles as well as a host of specialist design and gallery shops.

The Modernist is entirely published, edited, written and designed by volunteers and has achieved acclaim for its content and design. The magazine is sold across the UK in outlets such as TATE Modern, MAGMA and Foyles as well as internationally in Berlin and Amsterdam (see full list of stockists here). Please note the selected designer/team will also act as volunteers for the duration of the commission.

The Commission

The winner of the Modernist Magazine Design Commision 2013 will be invited to design four issues of The Modernist, working with editors Jack Hale and Emily Gee alongside the other writing and marketing volunteers on live briefs.

The Selection Panel

  • Jack Hale & Eddy Rhead - Founders of the Modernist Magazine and sister organisation The Manchester Modernist Society
  • Emily Gee and Nicholas James – Editorial Assistants at the Modernist Magazine

Guest Selectors

  • Jeremy Lesley – founder and creative director of magCulture  Jeremy has 25 years experience of magazine design, and has written two books about the subject, ‘Issues’ and ‘magCulture’. A new book, ‘The Modern Magazine’ will be published in late 2013. He writes a regular column for Creative Review
  • Jonathan Hitchen – programme leader of BA Graphic Design at Manchester School of Art. Jonathan has been involved in design education for over 20 years. His font "Snafu" is available from FontShop and in 2008 he was the graphic design consultant for "Le Corbusier – The Art of Architecture" at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool.  
  • Des Lloyd Behari — Des is a freelance graphic designer, typographer and art director, with over six years experience working predominately within arts and cultural sectors. He has been the designer of The Modernist for its first two years.

The Brief

Send us a cover and a two page spread..

A: Cover          B: Article

Your cover design [A] needs to include all the cover copy as supplied and be designed to the specified format (format, 240mm high x 170 wide).

Your article design [B] (two page spread) needs to include all the article copy and a selection of images as supplied and be designed to the specified format (format, 240mm high x 340mm wide).

What the selection panel are looking for:

We are looking for an outstanding and accomplished cover design that has an inventive concept and clearly places the magazine for its market. The design should be contemporary and yet reflect the modernist design ethos. While all elements of the cover need to work as a cohesive whole, remember that the front cover must be effective on its own and be attention grabbing in the crowded retail magazine market. It also needs to be able to work on screen for digital retailers.

  • The winning design will need to:
  • have an imaginative concept and original interpretation of the brief
  • be competently executed with strong use of typography
  • appeal to a contemporary readership with an interest in 20th century (modernist) design
  • have a point of difference from the many other magazine covers it is competing against


Submission Details

THE EXTENDED DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES is midnight - Sunday 21st JULY 2013.

Entries must supplied in the following format:

  • PDF
  • 300ppi
  • CMYK
  • 5mm bleed
  • Black text plus a single additional colour of your choice
  • Trim and crop marks to be included
  • Maximum file size 5 meg
  • Please include the front cover only on the first page of your PDF and a 2 page spread (article) on the second page of your PDF.
  • Include a short, typewritten text (max. 50—100 words only) submitted as a Word document, explaining the concept for your design.
  • All entries must be submitted digitally via a zipped folder by e-mail to editor[at]

Shortlisted Entrants

Short-listed entrants will be notified in writing by 28thth July 2013.

Successful Applicant

Successful applicants will be offered to opportunity to designing 4 issues of The Modernist Magazine. Please note this is a voluntary position and will require the commitment of a minimum of two weeks work per issue (4 issues per year) plus approximately two weeks design concept work prior to the first issue. The magazine office is based in Manchester and the selected applicant should be able to attend meetings with the editors i.e. preferably based within commuting distance of Manchester.


All entries must be submitted digitally via a zipped folder by e-mail to editor[at]