Print’s not dead. In fact, it’s alive and kicking, it just upped the game! Getting a new magazine is not a commodity anymore, but a treat. And what a treat it is if the pages & the content are top notch! Some titles seem to deliberately use matte paper, not just because it’s more aesthetically pleasing but probably to also subconsciously tell you: this is not your regular glossy mag. Reading these magazines is definitely a sort of ritual that can be part of your downtime and help you relax.
I’m a big fan of paper and the written word, and with the emerging trend of quality magazines (more and more of them including stationery goodies), I’m spoiled for choice. Below is a selection of what I currently consider the best indie magazines out there, plus where you can get them – if you’re into crafting, interior design, beautiful illustrations, or even blogging, you’re going to love these! :)
If I’d have to pick just one indie mag, Flow would be it. Originally published only in Dutch, Flow is a magazine about life’s simple pleasures, slowing down, creating and observing the world around you. It features insightful interviews with artists and creators, psychologists, and the best part is, there’s always at least 2 paper goodie in each issue. Sometimes it’s a separate workbook with calligraphy prompts, a dream journal, or some stickers, wrapping paper, bookmarks, and the likes.
The English version is quarterly, but I also highly suggest you check out their special editions. My favourite is the annual Flow Book for Paper Lovers, which is, as I not-so-cleverly put to one of my friends, ‘It’s like a book, but the entire thing is made of paper!‘ It’s a stationery book is what I should have said. :) Envelopes, postcards, stickers, tags, origami paper, paper bunting, bags, posters — 300 pages of paper awesomeness. If you like scrapbooking, journaling, or you love prettifying your planner, seriously, you need this in your life.
Bonus: Apart from the original Dutch and international English versions, they also publish French and German issues, the latter monthly, so if you are multilingual, you have the wonderful option to enjoy even more Flow! :) Some specials are published later in English (if ever), so definitely be ahead of the curve and buy other issues if you have the chance (& speak the language). My recent find is a Flow cookbook in German with a donut bunting (!) and stickers inside. Yay!
Get it from: Check out their online shop!
I get my fix from Magazine Brighton, a wonderful resource for indie magazines (well worth the day trip London if you ask me!). They stock all the international (English) issues & specials! If you’re there already, make sure to check out their shelves, you can find some hidden gems there, highly recommended.
As for Flow in other languages, I know for a fact that Morawa in Vienna stocks the German version (smaller shops didn’t even hear about it), and I could find them in Hamburg as well in a regular post office / newsstand. German Flow seems to be more accessible in Germany than in Austria in my experience. As for the French Flow, I’ll let you know, I have an upcoming Paris trip, and getting a local Flow is on my list. :) I’ll update this post when I have the deets.
A recently new publication, Project Calm rides the mindfulness-with-paper-goodies bandwagon, and wonderfully so. The more the merrier, I say! The UK-based magazine focuses on books and journaling. No woo-woo unicorns here, just great design and good reads. They are still doing their first few issues, so we’ll see how they grow, but so far I like them and I look forward to the new issues.
Get it from: I had a hard time finding it in shops, so I ordered it online. There was free shipping within the UK.
There’s also a new magazine coming out from the same publisher, called In The Moment. It’s going to be monthly, and focusing on creativity and mindfullness. I’m not sure how it will differ from Project Calm, but we’ll see! :)
One of the first indie magazines from down under, Frankie is a trend setting veteran with clean design, lots of white space. I enjoyed their recent summer special with the huge wall calendar — great for planning your year out! :)
Rookie is an online magazine with a printed yearbook which is a digest of their best content and some extras. Editor-in-chief Tavi Gevinson basically created the coolest teen-magazine we all wish we could have had. Even if we’re well over those formative teenage years, the content is still relatable & fun. I love the inspiring, patient & loving tone of the articles: nothing is too awkward and there are no stupid questions. Just reading it can untangle all the mess your inner 13-year old was told about sex, relationships, self-expression and life in general. Bonus points for nostalgia if you’re over 30, and a great gift for someone you know who’s living through this right now. :)
Get it from: read the online version here, and you can buy the printed yearbooks in their webshop, or in person in Magazine Brighton. (This post is not sponsored by them btw, they just happen to stock all my favourite stuff!)
There are many craft magazines on the market, but to me, Mollie Makes stands out. With a clear aesthetic and friendly tone, this is really a magazine that can introduce newcomers to DIY. With projects ranging from sewing, knitting, crocheting & cross-stitching, there’s furniture upcycling, artist interviews and cute animals. The projects are mostly functional (think tote bags, dressing gowns, brooches, mug cozies, socks, pillow covers, clutches), so when you make them as gifts, they won’t just sit on the shelf collecting dust.
The best thing is there’s a freebie project included every month. A whole arts & crafts item you can start working on right there and then, with all the instructions and supplies you need. I made a macrame wall hanging (it’s wonky but it’s mine), and I also started looming because of this. It’s a good ‘gateway’ project, so you can figure out if a certain hobby is for you without committing yourself to buying expensive tools. I still have an embroidered purse to do, such fun! :)
Get it from: Regular newsstands, supermarkets. It’s widely available. Here’s a handy store locator.
I have to be honest with you, when I first heard about Blogosphere magazine, I was dubious. Why would you want to read about online things in print? Aren’t the things happening online so fast that by the time you print something, it’s already history? Well, that depends on the topics you choose, and luckily, Blogosphere seems to navigate their topics cleverly.
While according to their mission statement it’s ‘for bloggers, by bloggers’, I think blog readers can also appreciate the articles, even if to just take a peek into what’s going on behind the scenes. There are features on up-and-coming bloggers in various topics (find a new blog to read!), business tips for bloggers-turned-entrepreneurs, and interviews with those who already made it.
I love the fact that since this is an ‘industry’ magazine, the questions are different from when these bloggers and influencers are asked by regular fashion or lifestyle mags. Blogosphere gives an opportunity for creators to talk about the business side of their online presence down to the nitty-gritty details. I mean, you can find Zoella & co’s answers to ‘What’s your favourite spring trend?‘ basically anywhere, but to have a professional magazine asking business questions is a different game. And so much more interesting!
Get it from: Independent retailers, Magazine Brighton.
This one is only in German, but again, if you speak German, check this badboy out! Focusing on Skandi-style, combining fashion tips with interior designs & DIY, Couch is a monthly pocket-sized lifestyle magazine. If you don’t speak German, I say still pick it up, the typography and the pictures are soooo pretty. :) A friendly warning: it will probably prompt you to you reorganise and declutter your home & maybe repaint some chairs as well.
Get it from: basically any newsstand in Germany or Austria. Couch is really mainstream, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. ;)
And one for people in Brighton & Lewes: Viva
If you’re ever in Sussex, England make sure to pick up one of the current issues of Viva Brighton and Viva Lewes. They’re free and amazingly well written with inspiring interviews, photographs, musings on current events. Every issue has a theme (for example: hygge for December, reboot for January, nude for February, hardware for March, etc.), so it’s like immersing yourself in a topic and seeing it from different points of view.
Even if you’re just visiting Sussex, the content is still valuable and exciting, you don’t feel like ‘Oh, I don’t know this place, this is only for locals‘. I’ve only been to Lewes twice, and let me tell you, I enjoy Viva Lewes as much as I enjoy Viva Brighton.
Get it from: They’re free to pick up from around town. There’s always a stand full with the current issue of Viva Brighton at the Open Market, and Magazine Brighton stocks both versions. In Lewes, you can definitely find Viva in the Castle gift shop.
If you’re happy with a digital copy, you can always read the current issue online.
I hope you found some new reads in this article!
Which one will you check out next? What are your favourites? Let me know in the comments! :)