“2014 was a continuation of one of what is certainly one of the golden eras of magazine cover design,” writes Robert Newman in Folio:
“Thanks to a talented batch of art directors and photo editors, an increasingly visually savvy set of editors and the fact that many magazines have been freed (not always by choice) from the necessity to sell big numbers on the newsstand, covers this past year were graphically forward and visually engaging,” Newman continues. “It helps, too, that magazines are increasingly chasing that coveted younger demographic, an audience who demands more instant, sophisticated visual gratification and less of the traditional (boring) design.”
It was a fantastic year for cover design, with some memorable designs in the spring and even a reimagined cover for the classic Reader’s digest. Bold, memorable, quirky and outspoken, cover designs are running the gamut and drawing readers in.
Newman has highlighted a number of magazines that knocked it out of the park not just once this year, but continually, issue after issue.
“Plenty of publications created one-hit wonder covers in 2014,” Newman writes. “Instead, we’re honoring those that produced top-notch covers throughout the year, issue after issue, and created graphically powerful brand visions and an ongoing conversations with readers, both on the newsstand and online.”
Folio:’s pick? The New York Times Magazine, says Newman.
“From the faux punk gig poster style of the August 10 Rand Paul cover to the Abortion By Mail package of August 31 to the classically elegant military justice photograph on the November 30 issue, the magazine has served notice that it’s breaking out of its traditional format.”
Another notable title this year is Bloomberg Business Week, which he declares this year’s runner-up, and Newman also gives a shout to Chris Dixon and his Vanity Fair covers, which set an undeniable and compelling tone for the brand.
“There’s nobody working today with such a mastery of typography, with its dense layers of information stuffed into every corner, while maintaining a sense of elegance and relaxed sophistication,” Newman says of Dixon. “This is one magazine that still depends on a lot of newsstand sales, so the marvel of Dixon’s work is that he mixes commerce with art so brilliantly, creating a cover image that pops off the racks, but still is rich with subtlety and artistry.”
It’s encouraging to see so much brilliant effort going into magazine covers; utilizing the awesome power of print and the newest technology of printing, the cover speaks in new ways that are incredibly powerful.
Hail the designers and creative teams; you leave us begging for more!