Tim de Lisle, former editor, Intelligent Life


The most influential mag of all is probably one most of us have never picked up, something that set a lasting template early on, like Time or Fortune. It’s a lot easier to pin down the mag that most influenced you, and for me it was Time Out in 1977-78. The content was a candy store that, to a teenager at boarding school, was mostly out of reach. The covers, designed by Pearce Marchbank, were superb – visual, witty, uncluttered, making one memorable point. The layout, all Franklin Gothic, could make a grey page glow. The politics were appealing, left but not loony, sending me on Anti-Nazi League marches (shades of today). The listings were definitive, and every serious newspaper today bears their stamp – The Guide, in the Saturday Guardian, is more of a Time Out than Time Out itself. The editor then was Richard Williams, who later gave me jobs at The Times and The Independent on Sunday. A great boss, so good at spotting talent that, as well as promoting many young writers and editors, he discovered Roxy Music.

Gaby Huddart, Editor-in-Chief, Good Housekeeping


For me personally, growing up in the 70s, Jackie magazine (which ran 1964-1993) was a massive influence in me wanting to become a journalist. A weekly magazine for girls, it was essential reading for all school girls of the latest 60s, 70s and 80s and was where we learnt about fashion, beauty, celeb gossip and love. The Cathy and Claire problem pages were where we all learnt about romance and boyfriends. (They received more than 400 letters a week!)

Apparently the biggest selling issue was in 1972 – a special edition to coincide with David Cassidy’s UK tour.


Sinead McIntyre, Editor, Fabulous


It is no surprise that this ground breaking magazine has had not just a documentary made about it, but has also inspired a musical. Growing up in Northern Ireland in the eighties, Jackie was my must-read weekly pleasure and the reason I fell in love with women's magazines. It was the blueprint for teen mags and one of the first publications to give young women a voice. While I never wrote to its infamous Cathy and Claire problem page, I learnt a lot about life through it!


Charlotte Moore, Digital Content Director, Fashion & Beauty, Time Inc. UK


30 years old this year, Marie Claire was the first women's glossy to tackle fashion and feminism. With its mix of global reportage, real life stories about ordinary women with extraordinary stories it celebrated the fact that women are interested in so much more than just fashion, beauty and their homes. The first magazine to interview everyone from women who lived in caves to Syrian refugees to the first lesbian married couple in the UK to transgender men and women, as well as covering Chanel couture, interviewing everyone from Vivienne Westwood and Christopher Kane and featuring everyone from JLo to JLaw  on its covers.


Russell Parsons, Editor, Marketing Week


The content of Marketing Week, the business title I am lucky enough to edit, is a long way from that covered by Smash Hits but it is the fortnightly "party on paper" that is the reason I am a journalist. I was obsessed with Smash Hits in the 80s. Its total irreverence, its seeming disregard for the status of the pop stars it relied upon for copy and sales and the vaguely psychedelic language it created to the exclusion of all those outside its world and the befuddlement of the pop stars it interviewed. Most of all, it was the writers that inspired me to take up journalism. Neil Tennant, David Hepworth, Chris Heath, Mike Soutar, Miranda Sawyer just a few examples of writers and editors that passed through Smash Hits on their way to leaving a significant mark elsewhere in publishing. I might not be interviewing pop stars but I will be forever grateful to Smash Hits for planting a seed.


Maria Pieri, Editorial Director, APL Media


An eight-issue limited series ‘comic’, written by Frank Miller and illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz. Utterly beautiful, mind blowingly epic mini-series, channelling my inner geek. I was a Marvel comic fan by default, largely thanks to older brothers who were fans, and then later through choice. From Dare Devil to Swamp Thing and The Uncanny X-men this volume appeared during the hey day of the comic renaissance and the emergence of the graphic novel, pairing up the highly talented Miller and Sienkiewicz. Featuring excellent storytelling and outstanding artwork, it also had a kick–ass heroine. Worth a read for any non–comic fan.


Dickon Ross, Editor-in-Chief, E&T


In a time when the newspaper pictures were a bit grey and grainy, and television was fuzzy and flickering, Life magazine bought images of the world into people’s homes for a few cents each week, from the Great Depression and the Hindenberg disaster to Pearl Harbour and footprints on the Moon. In its best years Life was a magazine built around photographers who took pictures that demanded an emotional response, from the harrowing pictures of concentration camps to the happy and playful Kennedy family relaxing at home. The variety was amazing, from celebrities and fashion to science and wildlife. And the quality was always top notch – photography good enough for a gallery like Alfred Eisenstaedt’s V-J kiss in New York, Joe Rosenthal’s flag over Iwo Jima or Ronald Case’s three queens in mourning. By grouping pictures together Life also made the picture essay into a new art form. The unflinching lenses of Donald McCullin, Robert Capa and Eugene Smith served to bring home the pain and tragedy of war and conflict in more than words could. Yet there was a more playful side to Life too: mad cap stunts, children at play and snapshots of social movements to make you smile and to document ordinary people’s extraordinary lives.


John L. Walters, Editor, Eye Magazine


My choice would be Architectural Review, which was founded in 1896 – highly influential in general, and one that has influenced me, too – I worked there in the 1990s.

The AR established a template – almost a DNA – for a business magazine with a cultural heart, concerned with beauty and aesthetics, but also fighting a corner for its readers: architects at different stages of their careers. As a magazine that is both aspirational and practical, the AR has provided an inspirational antecedent to many of the architecture and design magazines (including Eye) that have followed in its wake, and it has been a nurturing ground for many editors and writers – including me.


Catherine Westwood, Editor-in-Chief, Woman, Woman's Own, Woman's Weekly, Now


Put simply, this title made me the person I am today. 

The rough and ready design, the anarchic typography combined with pioneering street style photography reflected where my head was at as a rebellious teen.

At a time when Vogue was only featuring Glamazons in full-length furs, cinched waists and shoulder pads, i-D took me in a direction that was the antithesis of high fashion – to a sub culture of off-beat icons who became my heroes.

The founder of the title, Terry Jones, was the visionary behind the stellar careers of Nick Knight, Edward Enninful, John Galliano and Kate Moss. i-D gave Madonna her first cover. 

i-D may now be nearing its 40th anniversary, but it is still setting the agenda today and the covers stars are still winking – and long may they continue.



Terri White, Editor-in-Chief, Empire


We met when I wasn’t yet 17. I was 11, in fact. Seventeen, with its boys and (by god) boobs, wasn’t even a speck on the horizon. Yet when I waited outside the corner shop before school every Wednesday – one hand clutching a handful of coins, the other protecting my perm from the wind – I had never felt more like a woman in waiting. Once a week I got to fly away from my council estate on the pages of Just Seventeen and there was a staggeringly honest world of bad haircuts, good friends and mediocre sex. So long a gang of one, I now belonged to a gang of many – the thread woven from smart-arse jokes, random quizzes and rib-cracking problem pages. They told me that I didn’t have to give Peter Levers a kiss if I didn’t want to (I didn’t) and could be the clever one in class if I did want to (I did). This isn’t just my story though. It’s the story of all the girls like me: the outsiders, the ones who lingered around the edges, who never wanted to belong to any gang. Until they discovered the best gang of all, in the pages of their favourite magazine. And like all the best gangs, I’m in for life.