Face Up: Field & Stream
Field & Stream
Circ: 1.25 million
Editor: Anthony Licata
Design Director: Sean Johnston
Publishing Company: Bonnier
There aren’t a lot of magazines that feature “regular people” on their covers, but for Field & Stream, that’s business as usual. Still, for its June issue, the magazine skewed that concept younger—much younger.
The June cover feature “How to Raise a Hunter, and An Angler, Woodsman and Naturalist,” was more than just an educational piece on introducing kids to outdoor sports, it also profiled what a young sportsman looks like in 2015.
Design director Sean Johnston says that before they landed on Paul Obrecht as the cover star (photograph by Dylan Coulter), they literally had dozens of choices. “We wanted to get a new generation excited about hunting, fishing and the outdoors,” he says. “We were trying to find our cover star so we reached out on Facebook and to hunting and fishing groups. We got a tremendous response.” In fact, Johnston says the response was so strong they decided to feature several of the young sportsmen inside the feature piece, and even played around with groupings of individuals for the cover.
But ultimately, Johnston says his goal for the cover was to create something clean and modern that would “pop” on newsstands—an important piece of the pie for F&S. “The photography plays such a significant role with our brand,” he says, “Our readers understand who we are and that allows us to move around and take someone like Paul and put him in a studio and take him out of his environment.”
Johnston also says that because of the brand’s graphical approach, typographic treatment is an essential newsstand tool he concentrates on. “The condensed font allowed for bigger type size, so I was able to emphasize the word hunter while still keeping it clean and geometric,” he says. “And I wanted the dig-ins to point out the fun pieces of the package.”
I love the simple composition of the cover with the soft gray background and nice lighting. The boy is appealing and the styling struck me as upscale. A girl would be fun to see, too.
I like the overall typographic approach and hierarchy, except for the “special issue” at the top. That feels a little disconnected with the rest of the cover to me, possibly because it is the only thing that is letter spaced out. Also, it is not immediately clear why it is a special issue. I get that it is an issue devoted to kids, but maybe that could have been more explicitly defined somehow.
– Dean Abatemarco / Design Director / Reader’s Digest
The shot of the lad is good. He makes me at least consider the idea of killing ducks, even though I have nothing against ducks personally.
The typography is very well executed. The arrow pointing at the bottom is probably an over-played move that we should all try to reinvent at this point.
What I do miss here is the background. There’s potential to bring in more of a scene. I’m reminded of the fantastic dioramas in natural history museums. That type of set dressing could be very effective. The grey backdrop seems a little too modern and clinical for what’s going on in the photo.
– Jack Dylan / Creative Director / Corporate Knights