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About SPD

SPD. Shaping Visual Culture.


The Society of Publication Designers (SPD) powers the future of visual storytelling, setting the standard for editorial excellence. We bring together and support the most talented designers, working across all platforms and disciplines, to learn, inspire, and collaborate. SPD includes anyone contributing to the creation of visual stories, from art directors to coders and data miners, from major publications to independent zines, from seasoned professionals to students. 

Visual storytelling today is ever more dynamic, immersive, and crucial. While the media in which we publish constantly evolves, the ambition to create exceptional work remains constant. Since 1965, SPD has stood for excellence in visual culture, empowering its membership to create the future. Our members are united in their pursuit to publish the most compelling stories, across platforms and disciplines. 


The Society of Publication Designers (SPD) is a vital resource serving our expansive network of creative professionals, strengthening the editorial design community and shaping the future of visual culture.

Society Activities

Annual Design Competition At the end of each year, the Society invites leading design professionals to judge the work of their peers. During three days of judging, top art directors, designers, photo editors, and editors view and discuss over 6,000 entries in over 100 separate categories. This rigorous process produces a show composed of less than ten percent of the entries, representing a unique yearly overview of the quality and direction of editorial design.

Awards Gala A highlight of the Society's year is the annual black-tie awards gala. The work of the competition's winners is shown and the Magazine of the Year, Gold and Silver medals are awarded. Guests attend an evening dinner and dance, meeting old friends and making new acquaintances within this select group of honorees.

Publication Design Annual A full-color, beautifully printed hardcover book reproduces the winning pieces in the show, and is an invaluable resource for anyone working in editorial design. The Annual is perhaps the most widely used creative reference tool in the industry, displaying the outstanding work of editorial photographers and illustrators along with art directors and designers.

Herb Lubalin Award To acknowledge continuing excellence in publication design, the SPD presents an award named for the late, great typographic innovator and designer Herb Lubalin. Recipients of this prestigious award have included:

  • Art Paul, 2006
  • George Lois, 2004
  • Ruth Ansel, 1993
  • Leo Lionni, 1992
  • Rochelle Udell, 1991
  • Milton Glaser, 1990
  • Henry Wolf, 1988
  • Frank Zachary, 1987
  • Will Hopkins, 1986
  • Bradbury Thompson, 1985
  • Cipe Pineles, 1984
  • Lou Silverstein/Jack Golden, 1983

Speaker Series -  Throughout the year, the Society highlights different aspects of the design profession for our members and interested guests; recent seasons have covered everything from typography to illustration and photography, and even sneak peeks behind the scenes at magazine startups and redesigns, and a panel discussions.