We’ve been hearing that print is dead for years now. It obviously isn’t true: look at the beautiful food magazine Lucky Peach, or any issue of McSweeney’s, or the excitement around reissues of old classics with fresh cover designs (Peter Mendelsund’s Kafka editions, anyone?), or any other print book with striking presentation (the paperbacks of Bolaño’s 2666 or Murakami’s 1Q84, to name just a couple). Yet the Web has grown into an equally great place for lovely presentation of lovely writing. Long-established journalism outlets have moved their book coverage online, or revamped it— check out the Slate Book Review, or the New Yorker’s renamed Page-Turner blog — but scores of literary magazines have been killing it online for years.
We’d like to present just a few that have particularly nice design online. Some of these are print magazines that also publish on the Web, while some are online-only. Alert: this is by no means a ranking of the best literary magazines! Nor are we evaluating the literary style of these publications. We just want to share a sampling of those with great-looking web sites. Still, sound off in the comments, litnerds, and let us know which is your favorite, and which ones we forgot.
There have been three print issues of Minneapolis-born Paper Darts, which also publishes fiction, nonfiction, and original art online. The design is full of drawings and illustrated text, but it is not messy or cluttered. We love the hip, strange, female Frankenstein/octopus thing that shows up on the left side of every page (the litmag says it has “a beer in one tentacle and a book in another”) and we love the colors—charcoal, teal, mustard—that bring the site to life.