Face Up: PDN Photo Annual
Issue: June 2013
Editor: Holly Stuart Hughes
Creative Director: Darren Ching
Photo Editor: Amy Wolff
Publishing Company: Emerald Expositions
Designing a cover is never an easy proposition and that is especially true when itâs your most important issue of the year. Whatâs more, if your audience is comprised of professional photographers then the cover image has to be flawless. PDN understands that, and labored to find a near-perfect image for its Photo Annual issue.
The Photo Annual runs every June, and offers an eclectic mix of the best photos of the year fromÂ several categories. This year Nadav Kanderâs portrait of actor Bertie Carvel, from The New York Times Magazine adorns PDNâs franchise issue.
A lot of questions go into planning the Photo Annual. Editor Holly Stuart Hughes says, âWe canât we repeat ourselves, so we have to ask: When did we last have a portrait on the cover? When did we last run a black and white image? We also have to ask: Is it surprising?â
PDN takes a democratic approach in selecting its covers. For the 2013 Photo Annual creative director Darren Ching says, âWe worked from a list of 18 potential cover images. In a dialogue between the editorial, photo, art departments and our publisher we discussed the merits and problematics of the images until there was a strong consensus.â
PDN has another unique challengeâtrim size and its square format. Photo editor, Amy Wolff suggests this helped narrow the selection some because some images wouldnât work if they were framed in a square perspective. âWe initially look for images that can be cropped without changing them too much,â she says.
PDN also credits its audience as inspiration for the cover. âThey are visually sophisticated and more interested in a beautiful image than a famous face,â Wolff says.
âBeautiful photo choice from a stunning New York Times Magazine photo essay, and photographer Nadav Kander is a perfect choice for a âbest ofâ (creative year 2012) issue. I think this particular photo even tapped into the zeitgeist of 2012âa year when The Artist won the Academy Award for Best Picture.â
âThe composition, typefaces and understated color used for cover lines feel both modern and elegant, complementing the photograph perfectly.â
âMaybe no color band or taglines at the top? Part of PDNâs large size and excellent paper quality is the drama they can offer printed photography and the bar slightly impedes this effect.â
âOne âwish listâ item: I wonder if subscribers could get a version with no secondary cover lines? I know Iâd love to see that in my mailbox!â
-Dave McKenna, Art Director, 5280
âThis is a perfect magazine cover image: Surprising, stylish, fun, engaging and artfulâall at the same time. And the image works well with the PDN logo and surrounding coverlines. I love the way they used different shades of grey to play off the black and white photo. And the cover typography is restrained, so it accents the photograph instead of competing with it.â
âThere are some things about the typography and the use of color that I think could have been done differently. The type size and the use of blue seems somewhat random to me. I think they could have gone all grey with the type, or else used more color, or used the blue on one of the left-hand headlines.â
-Robert Newman, Creative Consultant, Robert Newman Design
Have a unique âcoverâ story? Contact associate editor Casey Welton at email@example.com