The South Magazine

Type / Layout, Visual Design, Art Direction

Historic Complexities in Modern Culture

Project Overview

Our collective history and cultural past shape us in who we are today. A lot of history can seem dry — inaccessible to large swaths of the population. So, I asked how I might be able to present modern-day stories through a historical lens in a quarterly published magazine about the American South?

Table of Contents

This scene, captured by Roger May, has been seen a million times over by every Southerner. Its familiarity instantly creates a connection with the reader while creating a lovely backdrop and high contrast for the white copy. Brought over from Japan in 1876, Kudzu was used as an ornamental plant that also protected hillsides from erosion. The Department of Agriculture now estimates that this plant spreads at a rate of 150,000 acres a year.

Front of Book Article

In this inaugural, Paul Theroux writes about the genre of Southern Gothic and how the “grotesque” characters from authors such as Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, and Erskine Caldwell are used to help illuminate the inequality and injustices that are so interwoven into Southern culture. I wanted to create an opening spread that felt quieter in tone but also felt fairytale-like and dark.


"Salvation on Sand Mountain" comes from Dennis Covington's 1994 book by the same title. Covington explores the history and subculture of snake handling in the hills of northern Alabama, just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee. I wanted the opening spread to speak to this old, unusual tradition. This was accomplished by using a 1946 photo from Russell Lee while using expressive typography that felt religiously "cult'ish" to draw in the reader.