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Mag Men

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Mag Men

Fifty Years of Making Magazines

Columbia UP,

15 min read
7 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Magazines can capture hearts and minds – especially with Milton Glaser and Walter Bernard's designs. 

Editorial Rating



  • Overview
  • Engaging
  • Insider's Take


Illustrious graphic designers and art directors Walter Bernard and the late Milton Glaser discuss the three different eras of their friendship: They launched New York magazine together in 1968, worked separately from 1976 to 1982, and in 1982, launched the design group WBMG. Magazines foreshadowed web pages, which are also fundamentally word-image projects requiring text and visual design. Bernard and Glaser present a saga that’s a must for anyone who loves magazines or design.


Milton Glaser and Walter Bernard revolutionized design at New York magazine.

In 1968, Milton Glaser and Clay Felker launched New York magazine. As art director, Glaser invited Walter Bernard to help with the design. In its transition from a Sunday supplement in the New York Herald Tribune to a stand-alone magazine, the publication required new sections and a new look to make an impact, but the designers had to work under a tight budget.

They gave the logo a light redesign to maintain continuity for its Herald Tribune audience while also boosting its newsstand presence. The fourth issue profiled Viva, an actress in several Andy Warhol movies. The article’s psychologically transgressive photographs by Diane Arbus led many readers to cancel subscriptions and advertisers to withdraw from contracts. This put the infant publication in financial jeopardy, but gave it immediate prominence on the cultural map.

Illustrations can offer a vision photography cannot.

Magazines demand collaboration, with the art department gathering different elements for the final product. At the beginning...

About the Authors

Milton Glaser (1929–2020), one of America’s foremost graphic designers and a National Medal of the Arts recipient, was noted for his vivid posters and magazines. Walter Bernard redesigned many magazines, including Time, for which he received the Henry R. Luce Lifetime Achievement Award. He now heads the Walter Bernard Consultancy.

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