Issue: March 2013
Frequency: 10 Issues a Year; 3 SIPs
Launched: September 2000
Circ: 325,000
Editor: Amanda Dameron
Creative Director: Alejandro Chavetta
Publishing Company: Dwell Media LLC

“We’re in the shelter category, and this is our interiors issue—we wanted to show something different that still fit within the category in the newsstand but felt very Dwell,” says creative director Alejandro Chavetta. “We wanted to show the competition an image that is very different from what you would find other shelter publications. It’s darker and has a warmer feeling. Other magazines do a lot of white, but we run heavier, colorful covers.”

While Dwell is based in California, the inspiration for this image came from a story that sits within the pages of Dwell and started a world away in Belgium.

“This home is also a gallery space,” says Chavetta. “The woman who owns it, she runs the gallery and lives there. It’s inspiring to see how you can live with art, but still make it feel like a home. It’s a modern take and feels very homey.”

The Dwell team conceives of cover images together, and Chavetta typically works directly with the editor to formulate the visual elements. A Dwell editor traveled to Belgium to do this story, and Chavetta examined scouting shots and worked with a photographer to capture the cover image.

“I was very excited about this cover because of the angle of the lamp—it provided me with a really interesting place to put a cover line,” he says. “We tried to change the way we use our cover lines every issue, not doing the same thing often. This particular cover with this lamp provided me with this extra little space to play with. It allowed for so much lively feeling on the cover.”


“I usually enjoy the covers Dwell produces. This one disappointed.

“I liked: the woman’s styling, the font selection, the photo itself. But the staging of the products needs improvement. The placement of the vertical wall lighting creates an awkward ‘A’ shape that’s a tough design problem to solve. Do you put copy inside the triangle, drawing your eye to that shape? Or leave it empty? Could that have been solved by closing the light together? A better color combination for the flag and headline may have helped the poor staging.”

-Andrea Vagas, Creative Director, Golf Course Industry Magazine

“The image expresses a modern take on architecture and décor. The major spaces in the image are of similar values and so almost create a monochromatic background that allows for key objects to jump out of the image.

“The many straight lines and angles created by the ceiling, walls and floor draw the viewer into the space, where the irregular shape of the coffee table sets the viewer a bit off kilter. The typography on the cover is very modern in both its typeface and bright color selection. Overall, I think the cover is very successful and representative of the publication’s design sensibility.”

-Bridgid McCarren, Design Community Content Director, HOW, HOW INTERACTIVE and PRINT, F+W Media

“Typically, I would have said, ‘Dwell, cool!’

“When I saw this cover, though, I wondered what happened. The logo and secondary type next to it make complete sense, but the image and the accompanying smattering of seemingly disjointed type do not seem well thought out. The type around it is unfocused and difficult to read, especially the secondary line on the brick floor.

“All of that said, I think this cover is atypical. The cover designs are usually well thought out, and I look forward to the magazine when I see it.”

-Michael Mrak, Design Director, Scientific American

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

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