The Face (magazine)

The Face was a British music, fashion and culture monthly magazine started in May 1980 by Nick Logan.



Face Magazine


Face Magazine


Face Magazine


Face Magazine


Logan had previously created the teen pop magazine Smash Hits, and had been an editor at the New Musical Express in the 1970s before launching The Face in 1980.

The magazine was influential in showcasing a number of fashion, music, and style trends of youth culture including New Romantic, and the "Hard Times" look of the early 1980s.

From 1981 to 1986, Neville Brody was typographer, graphic designer, and art director of the magazine.


In 1992, the magazine ran an article which contained a reference to the supposed sexual orientation of the Australian actor and pop star Jason Donovan. Donovan sued the magazine for libel in 1992 and won the case. Subsequently, the magazine requested donations from readers to pay the substantial libel damages and court costs which came to £300,000.

The magazine set up the "Lemon Aid" fund—supposedly so-called because the original article on Donovan had stated that he treated his hair with lemon juice to make it blonder. Donovan reached a settlement with the magazine which allowed it to stay in business.


Face Magazine


Face Magazine


Its best selling period was in the mid-1990s, when editor Richard Benson brought in a team that included art director Lee Swillingham. Benson ensured the magazine's written content reflected developments in music, art and fashion whilst Swillingham changed the visual direction of the magazine to showcase new photography, commissioning work by Stéphane Sednaoui, Inez Van Lamsweerde, Steven Klein, David LaChapelle, Norbert Schoerner, Glen Luchford, Henry Bond, Craig McDean and Elaine Constantine.

In 1999, Wagadon was sold the title to the publishing company EMAP.

Notable names associated with the magazine were designer & typographer Neville Brody (Art Director, 1981–86), creative director Lee Swillingham (Art Director 1993–1999), Craig Tilford (Art Directior 1999–2002), Graham Rounthwaite (Art Director 2002–2003), Julie Burchill, Tony Parsons, photographers Juergen Teller, David Sims and writers including Jon Savage, Fiona Russell Powell and James Truman, subsequently editor of Details in the US and editorial director for Condé Nast in the US.



Face Magazine


By the time of its May 2004 closure, monthly sales had declined and advertising revenues had consequently reduced. Publishers EMAP closed the title to concentrate resources on its more successful magazines. In an ironic twist, Jason Donovan led a consortium that made an abortive approach to EMAP to save the title prior to its closure.


In 2011 The Face was added to the permanent collection of the Design Museum, London, and featured in the Postmodernism exhibition and the 2013 "Club to Catwalk" exhibition at the V&A.

Thames & Hudson is to publish a history of The Face 1980-1999 by Paul Gorman in 2015.




The Story of The Face: The Magazine that Changed Culture

The Story of The Face: The Magazine that Changed Culture//

A landmark publication offering a definitive overview of one of the most influential transatlantic magazines produced in the 1980s and 1990s

Launched by NME editor and Smash Hits creator Nick Logan in 1980, The Face became an icon of “style culture,” the benchmark for the latest trends in art, design, fashion, photography, film, and music being defined by a thriving youth culture.

The Story of The Face tracks the exciting highs and calamitous lows of the life of the magazine in two parts. Part one focuses on the rise of the magazine in the 1980s, highlighting its striking visual identity―embodied by Neville Brody’s era-defining graphic designs, Nick Knight’s dramatic fashion photography, and the “Buffalo” styling of Ray Petr― and its unflinching approach to journalism. Contributors included a host of writers who subsequently made their impact in the wider world, from Julie Burchill, Robert Elms, Tony Parsons, and James Truman to Jon Savage, Richard Benson, and Sheryl Garratt.

Part two shows how in the 1990s, after surviving a disastrous Jason Donovan libel suit, the magazine heralded the post-acid house era of Britpop and Brit Art. However, after the magazine had become the engine of the booming British magazine industry, the end of this decade also saw the eventual demise of The Face. Including an introduction by Dylan Jones, The Story of The Face is an engaging behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of one of the 80s and 90s’ most influential music and style publications.

440+ illustrations in color and black and white

2018 History Graphic Design

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