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Face Up: New York

Two covers evolved 'organically.'



By Joanna Pettas
03/04/2008

Issue: January 21-28, 2008
Frequency: Weekly
Launched: April 1968
Circ: 425,000
Editor: Adam Moss
Publishing Company: New York Media Holdings, LLC
Creative Director: Chris Dixon

The cover of New York’s January 21-29 double issue—loosely themed around mind and body health—evolved organically among the art and editorial teams, according to design director Chris Dixon. The first idea was to make it all white, with just a faint logo and headline. “We thought it would have impact with its lack of impact,” says Dixon. Then, the magazine’s photo editor Leana Alagia came up with a stock image of a woman with her eyes closed and suggested using it blown-out and graphic. But the team decided to stick with the limited color palette to keep with the “peaceful, subdued” concept so they cropped the image, changed it to black and white, cleared out the background, and elevated the contrast.

The subscriber cover was created first, in what Dixon calls a stressful process. The production department worked closely with the printer to find a comfortable balance between having enough black for legibility but not so much that the cover looked like an unsaturated print job. The solution they found was to send a Kodak approval that worked on paper and let the printer test and adjust the digital file until it achieved the intended effect—for “readers to have to explore the cover closely to read everything and have the closed eyes be the most powerful part of the cover.”

Dixon, editor Adam Moss, and photography director Jody Quon were happy with the result but knew it wouldn’t have much presence on the newsstand so they added solid elements—the full black logo, black type, and the woman’s lips and nose—so “it wasn’t so abstract for a newsstand buyer” but kept the “very restful, clean, minimal, and surprising” feel.

 

DESIGNERS' COMMENTS

“It is great to see a cover that fights the visual cacophony of the newsstand and more
fun to see the even more sophisticated subscriber cover that carries the idea further.
The cover lines above the nameplate are a bit hard to follow in their vertical presentation and some vertical hairlines would have improved legibility, but the simplicity of the cover in the face of demanding promotional urgency proves that the marketing people aren’t the only decision-makers at New York.”

Robert Sugar | Creative Director | AURAS Design

“They did well conveying a concept effectively, which is not easy. It’s creative and unusual, which is not always the most successful approach from a consumer standpoint. From a newsstand perspective I think they’d do better if the subhead was, “How to Find Calm in the Urban Squall.” Also, while the cover lines across the top harmonize well with the overall look, they aren’t clear enough and don’t convey the topics in as compelling way as they should.”

Linda Ruth | President | Publishers Single Copy Sales Services (PSCS)

“These both look great. The image perfectly describes the topic. The newsstand version will stand out without sacrificing the serenity of the image. The color palette is refined but exciting. The subscriber version is surprising and beautiful. The typography on both is elegant and active without looking busy.”

Karen Player | Art Director | Harvard Business Review

What do you think? Take the Face Up Survey, powered by Nxtbook.

By Joanna Pettas
03/04/2008




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