Madames et monsieurs, drum roll, please!

May we present HA, our new magazine on Icelandic design and architecture, published by yours truly.


The biannual magazine, published both in Icelandic and English, brings together articles and columns by leading experts and professionals, foreign and domestic, with analysis, overviews and updates.

HA aims to brings the discussion on design in Iceland to a new level, offering in-depth analysis on all aspects of good design.

HA_4The cover (shot by Axel Sigurðarson) is an interpretation of the Icelandic design industry (read more about the state of affairs in Arnar’s editors’ letter), we are a little like a teenager just starting out, a little confused perhaps, naive and inexperienced, but full of energy.

We asked the editorial team to tell us a bit more about the design of the magazine.

What are the key features of the layout design of the magazine, graphic designer Hrefna Sigurðardóttir?

Since this was a magazine about design I thought it wouldn’t make much sense that the design of the magazine would take away attention from the content. I wanted the content and its readability to be numbers 1, 2 and 3, so the whole magazine layout is fairly minimal, or the layout structure at least. 

I allowed myself to play around with colours throughout and the typography at the beginning at each article, to separate each article a little from one and other.

The overall goal was to make the content even more accessible and engaging through design, without adding that much. That’s what I tried to achieve at least haha! 


What makes for great magazine design in general?

HS: Oof. umm… I think great layout for a magazine is when you see what the magazine is about and you get the editorial direction without reading anything, you get it just by looking. You understand what kind of people would read it and it catches the eye of those people. That obviously comes in very various forms and fits a lot of magazines weather it’s about art, yachts or celebrity gossip.

For my personal tastes, I think that great layout has that element that i describe above, but also does everything right for readability (typography-wise), and the layout is interesting and cutting-edge without overshadowing the content. That is a very delicate balance.

Editor-in-Chief Arnar Fells, what is the importance of design when making a magazine? 

Books are slow, magazines are fast. Most people flip through magazines without reading more than pull-quotes and headlines. There, graphic design and image control is everything. They need to express the content in a visual way and adjust the mood of its reader and eventually pull them in.

And how does the graphic design portray the overall goals set for HA magazine? 

In the case of HA the overall goal was to slow down and go a little bit deeper.

Graphically speaking it can be tricky to design something that thinks like a book but appears as a magazine and then add the second language to the equation, but I think our graphic designer Hrefna attained the clear and subtle look we needed to express the content.


Finally, here is what the editorial team reads – hopefully some inspiration for you to this Monday!

AD Arnar Ingi:

Eye Magazine, Creative Review, Communication Arts, Article, IDpure and of course Time

Graphic designer Hrefna Sigurðardóttir:

I mainly read and buy Fantastic Man and The Gentlewoman. Secondary: Kaleidoscope, Apartamento, Dazed and i-D for my fashion dose and Andrésblöð (Donald Duck) for the jokes on the back. But i collect magazines too and whenever I’m abroad and see magazines that Ive read about online or magazines that just look hella nice, I buy them. 

Editor-in-Chief Arnar Fells:

Elephant Magazine is highest on my list. There was also a copy of the Some Things magazine lying around at the office, fantastic! I also read FORM by our co-workers in Sweden, and Kinfolk is great, as well.

Thank you Arnar, Arnar and Hrefna! Read more subscribe to HA here.

Images Courtesy of HA