The 1930s and 1940s were characterised by considerable interest in research on literary magazines. Relevant studies were undertaken by A.M. Uys (1933, UCT), P.J.J. Dry (1939, UOFS) and W.G. Combrinck (1945, UW). This interest dwindled until J.H. Venter registered a doctorate at UNISA (1991), which he never completed. Today there is a vast gap in the field of research on Afrikaans literary magazines in general. Since no other research has yet been undertaken on the document design of literary magazines in particular, this study may be regarded as groundbreaking. Document design focuses on the utilisation of design elements to purposely create a document for optimal use by the reader. Renkema’s CCC model was chosen to serve as a generic, theoretically founded model for document analysis. In accordance with this model, texts were analysed and reviewed with regard to genre, content, structure, style and layout. Renkema’s model was adapted in order to fine-tune it for reviewing the document design of literary magazines in particular. In this study the choice of genre fell on literary magazines and little magazines of the 1960s (Sestiger, Wurm, Kol and Standpunte), the 1980s (Spado, Graffier, Stet and Standpunte) and the era of 2000 (Driepootpot, PENorent, seepdoos, Tydskrif vir Letterkunde and Spilpunt). The object of this study was to determine whether the parameters governing the document design of literary magazines changed over a period of forty years. The content of these magazines was analysed by classifying it in various subgenres and then comparing the number of writers who contributed to every subgenre in every magazine; the internal and external structure of the various magazines were defined and compared; the style of the various magazines was established and compared; and, lastly, the layout of the twelve magazines was explored and similarities, differences and progression were established. The results indicated that some of the parameters of document design have indeed changed over the past forty years, but that a large number of principles also remained unchanged. The content expanded significantly as a result of the addition of new subgenres. The internal structure remained consistent. The quality of the external structure and layout improved in such a way that it supports the internal structure much better. The style of the content remained unchanged for those magazines that belong to the same era, but changed through the decades to reflect the actualities and struggles of the day. Layout is the area in which the greatest measure of progression was recorded, mainly as a result of the expansion of knowledge in the field of document design, the evolution of technology in the form of the Internet, the layout process, the printing process, et cetera. These developments have, in the course of time, made it substantially easier to design documents for a specific purpose and target audience.