Face Up: New York
Two covers evolved 'organically.'
Issue: January 21-28, 2008
Launched: April 1968
Editor: Adam Moss
Publishing Company: New York Media Holdings, LLC
Creative Director: Chris Dixon
The cover of New Yorkâ€™s January 21-29 double issueâ€”loosely themed around mind and body healthâ€”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. â€śWe thought it would have impact with its lack of impact,â€ť says Dixon. Then, the magazineâ€™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 â€śpeaceful, subduedâ€ť 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 effectâ€”for â€śreaders to have to explore the cover closely to read everything and have the closed eyes be the most powerful part of the cover.â€ť
Dixon, editor Adam Moss, and photography director Jody Quon were happy with the result but knew it wouldnâ€™t have much presence on the newsstand so they added solid elementsâ€”the full black logo, black type, and the womanâ€™s lips and noseâ€”so â€śit wasnâ€™t so abstract for a newsstand buyerâ€ť but kept the â€śvery restful, clean, minimal, and surprisingâ€ť feel.
â€śIt 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 arenâ€™t the only decision-makers at New York.â€ť
Robert Sugar | Creative Director | AURAS Design
â€śThey did well conveying a concept effectively, which is not easy. Itâ€™s creative and unusual, which is not always the most successful approach from a consumer standpoint. From a newsstand perspective I think theyâ€™d do better if the subhead was, â€śHow to Find Calm in the Urban Squall.â€ť Also, while the cover lines across the top harmonize well with the overall look, they arenâ€™t clear enough and donâ€™t convey the topics in as compelling way as they should.â€ť
Linda Ruth | President | Publishers Single Copy Sales Services (PSCS)
â€śThese 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.â€ť
Karen Player | Art Director | Harvard Business Review
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