Design Brief: Subscription for 2021


These days there aren’t a lot of things you can safely hold in your hands. Our Design Brief is a quarterly, 16-page journal that comes straight to you (safely) and is about all sorts of things too good for the Internet. Subscribe today and every three or so months, you’ll receive in the mail a short, easily-digestible, single-topic issue about a designer you’ve never heard of, an unknown body of work from a designer you might know of, or some collection of oddball things you’ve never thought about. Come wind, rain, sleet, shine, or global pandemic, our goal is to deliver to your mailbox (not your inbox) good and surprising work you can learn about and safely hold in your hand.

The first year of Design Brief was announced in February 2020 P.M. (pre-mask) and somehow managed to survive the year. Issues were written up by Steve Heller in Print (here) and by Nina MacLaughlin in the Boston Globe (here and here). Subscribers seemed pleased, too. First-year issues are available individually, or you can buy the entirety of Year One in one shot.

Back Issues from Year Two
No. 5: Hearts Are OK
No. 6: Fifteen Rejected Designs for a Tote Bag
No. 7: Víctor Viano: Diseño de portada
Note: We’re way behind schedule but we’re working on it. Don’t give up on us.


Why are you doing this?
We’ve got a bookstore, a gallery, and a lecture series, all dedicated to graphic design and typography. Or, that was true when we started the journal before a global pandemic kicked in. While we still have a bookstore and gallery, nobody comes. And our lecture series has been on hiatus since late-February 2020. Our Design Brief is now a way to bring the gallery straight to you. No mask required.

Why should I subscribe?
If you live in the United States, you’ll save a little money. If you buy individual issues, you’ll have to pay for postage and Massachusetts sales tax—and that adds up. By subscribing, you’re essentially getting your copies shipped for free and Massachusetts doesn’t collect sales tax on subscriptions. And who doesn’t like free shipping? Some people pay Amazon $100/year for free shipping—so that’s not really free. (And Amazon ruins small businesses and local communities. A kitten dies every time you buy a book from them.)

What if I subscribe after the first issue is published?
Subscriptions are by calendar year, not rolling like most subscriptions. So, if you subscribe in, say, October of 2021 (by which point there will be three issues) we’ll send you all the back issues and whatever comes out before December 31.

Will my subscription renew automatically?
No. We’re too low-tech to figure out how to arrange that.

Where do I enter the shipping address?
By default, your billing address will be used for shipping—but can be changed to a different address by contacting us or responding to the order confirmation email.

Can I give someone a gift subscription?
Sure. Just fill out all the info as if it’s for yourself, and then respond to the order confirmation to update the name and address of the giftee. We’ll let them know how generous you are.

Does the journal have anything to do with postage stamps?
No. It’s possible some might sneak in. In general, Design Brief has nothing to do with stamps.

Author: Various
Size: 6 × 9 inches
Pages: 16 
Binding: Pamphlet 
Publisher: Katherine Small Gallery, 2021