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The AJ is still recovering from the excitement of having picked up an unprecedented crop of honours at this year's Magazine Design Awards.

As well as winning prizes for the Best Business to Business Magazine and Best Redesign/Relaunch, we also won the main Magazine of the Year Award, beating all the other category winners, including consumer magazines such as Grazia, New Scientist and GQ.

Credit, and thanks, for this extraordinary achievement are due to design partnership Apfel and to our own art editor, Sarah Douglas, who worked with Apfel to produce the original design and ensures that it is able to flourish and evolve every week. But thanks are also due to our subscribers. We are constantly struck by the extent to which criticism, both positive and negative, is couched in terms that could just as easily be applied to an architectural critique:

clarity, legibility, rhythm, structure, style. While it is common practice for reader research to form the basis of any magazine relaunch, it is not often that the readers are able to engage so intelligently and explicitly with issues relating to design.

Even the most vitriolic responses have, for the main part, been both eloquent and considered, if at times a little harsh ('breaking rules is for geniuses, not for journeymen' and 'lots of things get awards; the Turner Prize goes to all sorts of rubbish' are among the more cutting - and the more printable - of the latest spate of complaints). Thankfully, the positive reactions far outnumber the negative ones and we are enormously grateful to those of you who have taken the time to voice your appreciation and support. But our critics also play a vital role in forcing us to continually question what we do.

Without such a discerning and visually literate readership, we would never be able to justify investing so much time and money in design.

In the end, you get the magazine you deserve.

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