My Favo(u)rite Magazine – Nova

Recently one of my favourite magaholic sites, magCulture produced My Favo(u)rite Magazine, a publication in support of the great magazine designer and commentator Bob Newman. It’s one of those great ideas that I wish I’d found the time to contribute to, especially once I got the printed version and found my favourite missing: Nova.

The original Nova was published from March 1965 to October 1975 (there was a terrible and failed attempt to revive it in 1999). Though ultimately an economic failure, it continues to shape magazine design and editorial to this day. There would be no Monocle, Port or Plastique without it.

I first came across Nova in a second hand bookstore in the small Australian town of Newcastle, in my first year of University there and what a revelation it was. I new nothing about it when I bought the three issues pictured here but knew they would shape my career, and my idea of what a magazine could be, forever.

Nova February 1966

Nova February 1966 cover.

The February 1966 issue is such a shock cover, I can’t imagine anyone attempting something as provocative today (though this recent Rolling Stone comes close). Tackling the big civil rights’ issue of the time in Britain, it challenged readers presumptions and ignorance about race (They included a quiz with questions about immigrants and ended it with the “You may now realize that you’re prejudiced. If you face up to those prejudices, they will weaken. That way lies progress.”

Nova February 1966

“Well, would you live next door to her mummy and daddy?” Big type, great huge question mark, one large block of body copy and an amazing crop to the photograph.

First designer was Harri Peccinotti, followed by Peter Crookston who took over in 1969 with David Hillman joining him as art director. Nova’s monochrome pages, powerful huge type and innovative photography were like nothing that had been done before. And with contributors like Jean-Paul Sartre, Susan Sontag, Graham Greene and Helmut Newton fashion shoots, Nova reflected the changing times while most women’s magazines were largely about housekeeping.

Issues now command up to £90 on eBay but I would struggle to part with mine. As a very few great magazines can do with their readers, they have become part of my life story as well as part of the story of publishing.

• Contribute to Bob Newman’s fund at donationto.com/friendsofbobnewman and follow his progress on this Facebook page.

Nova February 1966

A short story by Katherine Anne Porter. Big type, no image…

Nova February 1966

…followed by a full double page spread of pure text. At nearly A3, it’s almost like a newspaper.

Nova February 1966

Great type treatment.

Nova July 1965

Nova July 1965 cover

Nova June 1965

Nova June 1965 cover

Nova July 1965

Bold type treatment.

 

Nova June 1965

Existentialism by Jean-Paul Sartre

Nova June 1965

Nova June 1965. “Love: Is this day the beginning of the end? 1. What a bride should wear… and 2. Why the magic isn’t likely to last.”

Nova February 1966

Nova February 1966 fashion shoot.

Nova February 1966

Nova February 1966. Women behind the president.

Nova June 1965

Nova June 1965

Nova June 1965

Nova June 1965. “What you need to know about space.”

2 Responses to “My Favo(u)rite Magazine – Nova”

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