Here’s a rare design perspective on the history of Ireland’s “little magazines” by Niall McCormack, designer of gorse.
The Bell, Vol. XVI No. 3, December 1950. Design: uncredited
Icarus, Vol. 5 No. 17, November 1955. Design: Pauline Bewick
The Kilkenny Magazine, No. 2, Autumn 1960. Design: Christopher Fay
Poetry Ireland, No. 1, Autumn 1962. Design: uncredited (Ruth Brandt)
Threshold, No. 23, Summer 1970. Design: Colin Middleton
Literary magazines held a special place in the cultural life of mid-century Ireland. Although print-runs were low, their impact was disproportionate and they managed to reflect a more varied and complex Ireland then the mainstream media. The five examples above all follow a set format – octavo in size, each has a mono interior with a 2-colour cover on heavy uncoated card.
The Bell is the best know of the magazines here. The first issue appeared in 1940 under the editorship of Seán Ó Faoláin. It managed to continue publication throughout the ’40s, challenging the then dominant…
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