Creative Review Turns 40!

The latest issue of CR celebrates our 40th birthday. We talk to some of the creatives that have made the magazine what it is today, and profile four creative heroes who we believe are shaping culture now, including our cover designer, Annie Atkins



Creative Review is officially middle-aged. While for humans, turning 40 doesn’t quite have the potency it once did, it is still undoubtedly a significant age, and one that can sometimes feel hard to truly celebrate.

For a magazine, though, particularly within the turbulent media environment we are in, making it into our fifth decade feels like something wonderful. It also gives us a chance to reflect on the massive changes that have taken place in the creative industries over the past 40 years and look back at CR’s journey, which is what the latest issue of the magazine is all about.

Included is an interview with five of the mag’s editors, past and present, who talk about how the publication has evolved from being produced by typewriter to encompassing print, social, web, and podcast.

The issue wouldn’t be complete without a list and we’ve got a fun one, looking back at 40 significant moments since 1980 that have shaped our culture today. Prepare to disagree with our choices! And we also talk to some of the alumni of our Creative Futures scheme, which ran for almost 30 years, and ask them to look back on their own career journeys.

It’s not all about the past, though – we’ve interviewed four people working today who we feel are shaping the future of creativity. These include musician FKA twigs, designer Annie Atkins, photographer and filmmaker Tyler Mitchell, and artist Jeremy Deller.

We were also lucky enough to have Atkins, whose work for films – including Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel – has proved enormously influential for graphic designers, design our cover for this issue.

Of her inspiration for the cover, Atkins says: “I wanted to draw up a selection of packaging in the style of the contents of a desk drawer from 1980. I chose to make a selection of props that included camera film, map pins, pencils, an eraser, tape, lighter fluid, Letraset, matchsticks, scalpel blades … all the little things we’ve all used over the years.

“I say ‘props’ because my everyday practice is in graphic design for filmmaking, but designing this cover was a different kettle of fish for me. On a normal day, I’d be drawing up super-realistic historic documents, but this felt like a chance to have some fun, maybe do something more retro than period.

“I was born in 1980,” she continues, “and I have rose-tinted glasses about that decade flaunting a lot of primary colours and rainbow stripes, so I went with it. I guess it looks like the contents of a desk drawer only if the contents had all got together for an 80s-themed birthday party.”