Before & After Magazine was the last great graphic design magazine that I loved. Although the desktop publishing tools have changed a lot since 1990, publisher/editor/designed John McWade’s remarkably clear and insight into how visual design works remains timeless.
I recently bought an upgrade to my Master Collection DVD that collects all the print editions in PDF format, along with all the stand-alone articles of more recent issue, and I spent an hour looking through random issues from 1990 to present in the digital presence of the master. It’s all still relevant! Here’s a random sampling of pages from the print issues, 1990 through 2014:
Even if you’re not training to be a graphic designer, this is the kind of material you really need to understand how ideas relate to visual communication.
If you are training to be a graphic designer, the Master Collection is an excellent complement to the rather dry explanations that Edward Tufte provides The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Combine that with back issues of Marty Neumeier’s Critiqe Magazine (good luck finding back issues now), and BAM…you’ve got a solid basis for learning to be a “design thinker”.
The DVD may seem expensive at a price of US$219, but I tell you it is TOTALLY WORTH IT. If you’re a student about to drop a lot of money on a graphic design education in college, you will be well served just by studying the material in this DVD. New students tend to be preoccupied with the latest tools and tricks, so buying a DVD full of material published largely in the 1990s and early 2000s might seem weird, but it you’re serious about not being a cookie-cutter designer this material is a good balance between the “here’s a graphic approach” and “here’s how to think about communicating using visual elements”.