First published in 1981, AA Files is the Architectural Association’s journal of record. It contains essays and articles on architectural history and criticism, work by contemporary practitioners and designers, photography and art. It was redesigned by John Morgan studio in 2008, from issue 57 onwards.
“There are two ways of looking at graphic design. You can over value technological change. The technological-revolution-that-is-changing-everything is all that matters. You would then consider only the very latest innovations in design as being meaningful. The ipad magazine app that came out last week that “shows us the future of magazines”. The phone coming out next week with a swizzy new screen that displays text with unparalleled clarity. With this view, any design that is not about exploiting technology is regarded as pretty much passé. Irrelevant. Another way of looking at design is that you can see it as a continuum. That the challenges of making magazines, for example, are essentially the same today as they were twenty or forty or sixty years ago. This argument says that although the media that deliver us the reading experience are changing by the hour – our eyes and brain are not changing, and that the experience of reading and looking are pretty much the same as they always have been.
AA Files is produced using some of the latest technology, but produced as old technology. A magazine, printed with ink on paper. But, in its old-fashioned way, I think AA Files is a fabulous example of both design and content. A perfect marriage of the two. Magazines need to be attractive, clear, powerful, coherent and identifiable, and yet full of incident and change. Magazine the word is derived from the Arabic for a store-house (transliterated as makhzan). AA files is a magical store-house. For what is ostensibly a magazine about architecture – the house magazine for members of the Architectural Association – the content is the freest possible definition of architecture and its concerns.” — Quentin Newark, 2011
The magazine uses Big Caslon for masthead and numbering on the otherwise empty front page. Inside, Arnhem is complemented by its finer self for headlines.