How I work: Oliver Munday
The Atlantic's senior art director discusses the discovery of book design, how he brought a literary sensibility into the redesign of one of America's oldest magazines, and what the end of the Trump era means for political design in the broader sense
Founded in Washington in 1857, the Archives of the Atlantic reads like an appeal to American history, with everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Virginia Woolf contributing to its publication over the years. Adopting its literary and visual history would be a daunting prospect for any designer, but Oliver Munday enjoyed the opportunity to redesign the magazine's design with his partner Peter Mendelsund.
At the same time as the paywall was introduced in 2019, the redesign has helped to consolidate the Atlantic's place in the country's political discourse and to increase its subscriber numbers by more than 325,000 last year. Here we talk to Munday about establishing himself in the world of books, the unfortunate magazine project that prepared him to appear in the Atlantic, and what he learned from the Trump era about the role of design as a political tool.