Highbrow for Children

Two London kids’ magazines bring smart design to the 12-and-under set.

Your average eight-year-old probably doesn’t know who Olafur Eliasson is, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t enjoy creating his own miniature Eliasson installation out of folded paper and blobs of glue—a project detailed in the debut issue of London’s Maurice magazine, released last fall. Founded by artist Louise Stern and designed by Browns, one of the city’s leading design consultancies, Maurice is an unusual amalgam: a contemporary-art magazine for kids, distributed free to primary schools and sold at major galleries. The second issue, due out this summer, will include contributions by such disparate figures as artist Angus Fairhurst and comic Ricky Gervais of The Office fame.

Maurice is not the only unorthodox children’s magazine in London at the moment: Anorak, which releases its third issue in July, is designed by Rob Lowe, an illustrator who works under the alias Supermundane. But where Maurice focuses on interactive DIY projects presented in an eclectic cut-and-paste style, Anorak—whose tagline is “The Happy Mag for Kids”—is more like a surreal comic book, mixing vivid colors and loopy, almost psychedelic graphics. “Its look is the antithesis of the majority of children’s magazines on the market,” Lowe says. Of course, one wonders if the primary audience for these magazines is children or their design-savvy parents—but why not make a magazine that’ll impress at PTA meetings as well as playdates?

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