Face Up: GamePro
Issue: May 2010
Publishing Company: GamePro Media Inc.
Art Director: Matt Ansoorian
The Cover of GamePro’s May 2010 issue started with an image of Sam Fisher, the main character of the Splinter Cell video game. But in discussions with editor-in-chief John Davison, it turned into something more, according to art director Matt Ansoorian. “We went over what the game was all about and various environments utilized typography” he says. “We wanted to communicate the idea of creating clarity out of chaos.”
Ansoorian turned to graphic designer Gui Borchert, who uses a special technology that can match words with the tones and highlights of a particular image. Ansoorian and his team then fine-tuned the composition.
The words used to create the image weren’t randomly chosen. GamePro went to UbiSoft, the creator of Splinter Cell, and worked with the company’s PR contact to come up with a list of keywords that were related to the game. The character of Sam Fisher is what Ansoorian describes as an “espionage-type contract killer,” so words like predator, treason, betrayal, attack and vengeance were used.
The colors chosen for the cover were also related to Fisher. “We wanted to do something darker,” Ansoorian says. “He’s the kind of person that comes out of the shadows, so we wanted to convey the idea that he was coming out of the darkness. The second version of the game uses a lot of red, so we added a hint of red to the cover.”
One of the biggest challenges in creating this cover, Ansoorian says, was trying to incorporate the main cover line without disrupting the image. “We wanted to make sure that it was a seamless marriage between the image and cover line,” he adds. “And we deliberated over how to do that. In the end, we decided to cut out a portion of his forehead in order to fit the cover line. And we kept the font small because if cover lines get too big, they can detract from the subtleties of the illustration.”
Ansoorian says that this cover proves that typography is still worth using. “A lot of people have moved away from it, but I think if it’s used correctly, it can work,” he adds. “Typography can create imagery and that’s the key. It’s a testament to the power of type.”
This cover displays a masterful use of the typographic portrait conceit; what lifts it from the ordinary is the intensity and power of the portrait used for reference, the skillful use of typographic scale and the monochromatic elegance of the entire composition, with its strategic splashes of red. Also notable: the well-placed “piercing” of the skull with the main cover line. Even the weights and sizes of the lines above the masthead feel carefully calibrated and customized with double backslash separating devices. Excellent all-around design job!
Ina Saltz, typographic arbiter, critic and author of Body Type 2: More Typographic Tattoos
The tech people have taken over again! The graphic design that dominates the cover is incredibly elaborate and its purpose is to impress with its technical prowess. Dozens upon dozens of words meant to dazzle by letting the face of a man emerge somehow from the chaos. Only problem is that it’s not a pretty image. It’s dark and depressing. On the other hand, the logo is clear, and so are the names of games above it. Next time, stick to the same structure, but look for a nice image. If you want to use words as art make sure that they create a
harmonious arrangement. You might also want to consider a larger repertoire instead of repeating the same words over and over again.
JC Suares, magazine designer and creative consultant
Have a unique “cover” story? Contact senior editor
Chandra Johnson-Greene at firstname.lastname@example.org.