Travel + Leisure’s June cover design had to come from the magazine’s 2008 “It List,” says editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod. The magazine’s third annual “It List,” which features the editors’ picks of the best new hotels and resorts, captures the romance and high design values that have become a hallmark of Travel + Leisure’s properties.
Nora Sheehan, the magazine’s creative director since April 2006, has been an integral part of guiding the magazine through cover designs, as well as its redesign. Novogrod believes that T+L has evolved to evoke both the decorative sophistication of interior design, as well as the internal logic of architecture, showcasing style, glamour, and luxury without sacrificing accessibility or service information. Sheehan has handled all aspects of the magazine’s recent redesign, which, she says, became official with its Ozzie-winning June 2008 issue cover.
All of Travel + Leisure’s covers are “intended to seduce and delight,” says Novogrod. And as for the June 2008 issue, “We wanted a location that seemed particularly inviting,” she says. “Our readers love Mexico, so this wasn’t a hard decision.”
A Shot in the Dark
Once the Mexican location was decided upon, Travel + Leisure sent photographer Thomas Loof to the cover shoot. Despite this being his first cover shoot for the magazine, his previous experience included shooting covers for Condé Nast Traveler and Architectural Digest, as well as working on T+L feature articles where he showcased his specialty in architectural photography.
Loof’s instructions, via e-mail, were to shoot a cover for the magazine keeping the following in mind: the hotel had to come from the June 2008 “It List”; it needed to work well with cover lines; the image had to include water, be it a beach or a pool; and it had to be bright. However, unlike most normal cover shoots, Loof wasn’t given a specific hotel to photograph.
Although there was “less certainty about the spot than there normally is,” Novogrod says that the objective was more about capturing a mood than a specific location.
Travel + Leisure asked Loof to experiment with the guidelines provided on a variety of “It List” hotels and find the image that would give the cover the best design impact.
What Loof submitted was an artistic outdoor shot of Mexico’s Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya hotel. Not only did Loof meet all of Novogrod’s requirements, but managed to give the photograph, taken at dusk, a bright, light quality that the T+L staff felt effectively captured the essence of the Mexican resort for the magazine’s readers.
Experiential Design Impact
In keeping with the magazine’s mission of discovery and new experiences, Novogrod hopes that the June 2008 Mandarin Oriental cover will not only show readers what Mexico looks like, but convey to them what it feels like to be there through its serene design and angular architecture.
Travel + Leisure also captured several other FOLIO: Awards, including a Gold for its June 2008 Full Issue and for its January 2008 feature, “Into the Wild,” as well as a Bronze for Best Consumer Redesign in June 2008.