As more and more people choose to do their reading on smartphones, tablets, and computers, literary journals are following the trend. Most of the established, reputable literary journals have either completely switched to online publication or added it as an option. Publishing online is more affordable, more accessible for readers, and better for the environment! At Web Design Relief, our techs constantly review websites to stay ahead of the design curve, so we know which online literary journals have websites that function well and look great. Take a look at these online literary journals that are also eye-catching reads—any writer would be thrilled to have their work featured here!
The Best-Looking, Most Readable Online Literary Journal Websites
The Paper Darts website is fun and colorful without being overwhelming. Plus, the graphics and art used for the links to each new piece are totally awesome! We love that whatever writing they publish gets its own little space, art, and link on the homepage.
The Believer website may be the coolest online literary journal we’ve seen. The artwork on the home page is fun and interesting without being campy. And the pages that are home to the actual writing—while keeping in the spirit of the overall site design—are still understated enough to not distract from the work itself. Definitely an impressive place to see your writing published!
Make no mistake: the PANK website is beautiful. The header alone is swoon-worthy (that art!), and we love the way the writers’ works are displayed. Bonus: PANK also features audio of some of the writers reading their work!
Zyzzyva is the last word in the dictionary—and this online journal is certainly the last word on clean, beautiful, easy-to-navigate websites. From the white background and simple design, to the striking menu bar, to the font choices, everything about this literary website is pleasing to the eye.
Another online journal that focuses on simple and striking design, Adroit uses a beautiful, calming blue to highlight their menu bar so readers can give their attention to the artwork and images accompanying the writing. We love the rotating bar of links to older issues too—the movement makes the page dynamic and fun while still retaining an air of sophistication.
Waxwing does things a bit differently than most online literary journals—and it works. The home page is simple, but the layout is unique and we’re smitten with the seamless way readers can scroll down to look at the contents of the new issues. Each item is linked right in the table of contents, and easy access is always a big plus for visitors.
The home page of Hunger Mountain features a big, fun, bright bar of past issue covers—and they move as you hover over them! At first you only see a sliver of each cover, but when you hover your mouse over each one, the entire cover is displayed. The effect is a bit like flipping through a stack of magazines. It’s so much fun to play with, and it’s definitely engaging to look at.
This online literary journal’s website is clean, bold, and classic. Oxford American knows what their brand is, and they present it properly and consistently. The header is iconic—it’s the same one that you’d see on the print issue in a bookstore. The page is easy to navigate, and every piece of writing looks absolutely amazing on their virtual pages.
The print covers for Phoebe are always eye-catching, so it’s no surprise that the art on their website is amazing too. The page design overall is pretty simple, which leaves room for a big, ever-changing display of graphics that lead to new posts.
Did we already say we have a favorite? If we did, well—now we’re adding another one. Every time we visit The Pinch online journal, it becomes our new favorite website. The landing page is always bold and striking, and we love looking at it! Once inside, the website doesn’t disappoint; the menu on the home page offers stunning, beautiful artwork, and the navigation presents the issues’ titles (in a great font) with read more buttons to get to the work itself.
The Sun website is similar to Oxford American’s in that it’s completely classic and perfectly represents their brand. With the bold but simple black-and-white design featuring flashes of bright yellow, there’s no denying this online journal’s website is a looker!
Hobart is a fun online journal website to visit. The graphics, the layout, the font choices—it’s all playful without going overboard, and readers will eagerly return again and again.
The neutral colors in the header and the images at the top and bottom of this online journal are calming, and their rotation of links to new work in the middle of the page always offers superb artwork and images.
Shenandoah knows how to do BIG and BOLD! This website has a gorgeous, color-blocked header right above the journal name, which is presented in a strong, effective font. We love how this website is simple and effortless without fading into the background.
Online Journal Website Design Honorable Mentions
Question: Which online journal website design is your favorite? Why?
I’m partial (and biased!) to the online magazine for which I serve as features editor. Parhelion Literary Review features gorgeous photography from our photography editor, Leeta Harding, as well as past guest photogs.