Issue #: Volume 19, Number 9
Circulation: 85,000
Launched: 1993
Publisher: 5280 Publishing
Art Director:
Dave McKenna
Editor-in-Chief: Dan Brogan

For its annual spring Best New Restaurants issue, regional Denver magazine 5280 went to the seaside. “Worth noting is how Denver’s food scene is thriving: Up-to-the-minute on national trends rather than lagging. So to showcase a seafood meal on the cover of a magazine in a landlocked state got us all on the art, photo and editorial team excited. This is a departure for 5280’s food covers and truly celebrates all that is ‘new’ in Denver,” says 5280 art director Dave McKenna.

5280’s bright March cover is meant to balance the publication’s darker Best Restaurants fall issue. Contrasting the dark wood and textures from the October 2011 edition is a Carrera marble bar table displaying bouillabaisse from Denver’s Le Grand Bistro. McKenna kept the font color palette simple with black and white font, save for the word “New”. Logo hue changes monthly.

As for font, “Eloquent is a typeface in our stable of fonts that makes a cover appearance now and again, and it had the right sensibility for this image: Elegant and a bit voluptuous. And the hits of green and orange also bring some warmth and texture,” says McKenna. “I wanted to give ‘The Ghosts of Mesa Verde’ snipe a literary feeling with an all-cap Benton Modern on a tailored black snipe.”

The snipe is a diversion from the roofline text typically utilized for 5280 cover art. The treatment was also chosen to offset the white-on-white of the logo against the marble counter. Since the majority of the cover is occupied by the main headline and bouillabaisse, McKenna says it was necessary to “get some real reader service hits along the bottom of the cover.”


“The food is well presented: Easily recognizable, inviting and with impact. Appreciate the simplicity of the image styling with a minimalist color palette. The main blurb reads well and is a strong blurb.

Not sure the green text reads easily and may be one color too many; begins to detract from the food. The bowl of food could be larger and cropped into. Might also consider a white background rather than the grey to really draw attention to the food. The green text could then be a 70 percent grey and logo red.”

David Weaver, art director, Saveur Magazine

“I would like any ‘best new restaurant’ to give me great, mouth-watering food, a welcoming, inclusive environment, and just an enjoyable experience overall. So it makes sense that I would look for the same things in cover hailing the best new places to dine. 

“The logo, main sell and image are similar sizes and weights without any interaction between them, so the cover ends up divided up into four very deliberate sectors rather than working as one cohesive unit. I really want the food to be the star here and carry the cover but it gets overshadowed by the logo and main sell line above it.

“It would be useful to include a small caption, maybe with a playful arrow, which could let the reader know exactly what’s in the bowl and more importantly, the restaurant it’s from. The choice of green for some of the type is bold but not one that necessarily plays nice with the image. Maybe ‘The Denver Magazine’ becomes a nice little finishing touch in green, if it needs to be used at all. Reds, rusts, and oranges could work better overall and help pull all elements together into one unit.”

Kory Kennedy, design director, Runner’s World


Have a unique “cover” story? Contact associate editor Stefanie Botelho at

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