Martin Fox

2004 AIGA Medal
1931, Bronx, New York

Through his editorship of Print Martin Fox created one of the visual communication industry's most reliably high-quality, accessible, and well-respected magazines. Its wide distribution, combined with its intellectually and visually fulfilling content, means that Print more than earns its tagline billing as “America's Graphic Design Magazine.”

When Fox was growing up in the Bronx he wanted to be a playwright, and he studied the art at Queen's Collage under the theater critic and scholar John Gassner. In 1955, however, after having served in the Korean War, Fox was sidetracked into the world of publishing. He found his way to Print by chance, became editor two years later, and stayed in that role for the next 40 years.

Despite his fascination with graphic design, Fox never completely abandoned his earlier ambition, and has written several plays. One of them, “Office Murders,” was produced Off-Broadway in the late 1970's. Now that he is semi-retired and works for Print only three days a week, in the role of Editor-at-Large, he is able to devote more time to writing plays once again.

Over his four-decade-long association with Print, Fox's editorial mission has focused on some primary objectives. One is to counter the characterization prevalent in society at large that graphic designers are decorative artists. Another goal is to communicate important developments—not simply trends but transforming changes in the design field that have been the result of transforming changes in the culture. An admirable demonstration of this last mission, is an issue of Print devoted to “The Designer and the Computer,” published in 1966.

In addition to these content-driven goals, the 64-year-old Print has developed some very high standards in the way it presents itself. Editorially the magazine's voice is authoritative and at times provocative, thanks to the involvement of some of the most critically astute minds in the design community—Steven Heller, Julie Lasky, and Rick Poynor among them. Visually the publication emphasizes clear and quiet presentation of the featured work and high quality production values over design excess.

The consistency of this approach and the accessibility it affords means that the magazine is just as well respected beyond the design community as it is within it. During Fox's tenure as its editor, Print won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence twice, in 1994 and 2002, and was nominated a further five times in the category for small circulation magazines.

“Yes, it is beautiful, a visual celebration of the graphic arts. A rich evocation of design, photography, advertising, and poster art. But the stories make good reading too-provocative and unpredictable. In all, the magazine delivers political, social, cultural and historical insights about human culture here and abroad. Print entertains us as it educates us.”

—Jurors of 1994 National Magazine Award

PRINT is the ultimate authority on all things graphic. It presents what's new and good in visual communication, from high-style to mass-market, plus commentary by the industry's best minds. Print's design is just as it should be: boldly handsome.”

—Jurors of 2002 National Magazine Award