Issue: February 14
: Under 25,000
1960; Re-launched in 2012
Publishing Company:
Backstage LLC
Senior Art Director:
Cristela Tschumy
Executive Editor: Daniel Holloway

For more than 53 years, Backstage has been one of the most trusted places for actors to find career advice and casting information. This b-to-b title is used by performers to get the information they need to succeed in the entertainment business—but in early February the title wanted to feature something a little more delicate instead of business as usual.

“Our editor came up with the idea of shooting high-profile couples,” says senior art director Cristela Tschumy. “The couple on the cover was down to do it. This was my first conceptual cover and I was in the middle of transitioning from our previous art director. While working on this cover, I also had to learn the process.”

Tschumy had to make the quick transition to producing for a weekly magazine—the art director had previously worked at a monthly title before joining the Backstage team.

“The main challenge was making sure it looked right because this was my first cover so I was unsure of the process of how to put it together on the production side,” she says. “Our photographer came up with the background for the photo shoot—the stripes in the background was his little touch. For the typographic element, I really wanted to play off of the whole romance novel idea. I wanted really pretty script and I couldn’t find it so I hand drew it. I practiced a few times and brought it in for our illustrator to trace it. In Photoshop we put on the finishing touches of the inner shadows.”


“The Backstage cover accomplishes an immediate message of Valentine’s-related content. The stripes, main font choice, wardrobe and pose encourage a sophisticated, yet fun, spin on the emotions that pink invokes. The slight lean of the couple complements the type and the overlap creates a nice package.

“The subjects command your attention, but are maybe too near the bottom corner exit of the page. The type is somewhat camouflaged and could have been bigger with more contrast for page balance and newsstand purposes, especially the ‘Performers…’ line, which I wasn’t initially sure went with the image.

“To a man, the cover is pleasing, and I’d imagine many women couldn’t pass it by unnoticed.”

Matthew Stallbaumer, Assistant Group Art Director, Ogden Publications

“I like the couple’s expressions—very sweet and sincere. Looks like a love story. The colors instantly read as a Valentine’s issue. I like the idea of the main cover line running behind the couple.

“The large cover line is easy to see, but the smaller lines are very difficult to read. The opacity of the masthead, in combination with its monochromatic scheme, makes it blend into the background. With so many secondary cover lines, it would be nice to have more of a size range.

“Overall, a very sweet and lighthearted cover—just wish more attention had been paid to the secondary cover lines.”

Cassidy Zobl, Art Director, Hour Detroit

“The typography in the center is very nice and well done, but I’m not terribly excited by this cover. The photograph of the couple seems a little stiff and isn’t that interesting. But the bold pink background and vertical stripes are attractive, however, and would catch my eye on a newsstand.”

Jim Cooke, Art Director for Gawker, Deadspin and Jezebel

Have a unique “cover” story? Contact associate editor T.J. Raphael at

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