Face Up Online: Report Card Edition, July 2015
Big stars and big news shine in July.
July might be a slow month for magazines, but they had plenty of fodder for cover concepts this year. Timeliness and impact were common themes amongst publishers. Here, Folio: looks at a handful of standout covers that dropped in July and our critics weigh in on whether or not they made the grade.
Publishing Company: Condé Nast
Editor: Jim Nelson
Design Director: Jim Moore
Why It Matters: Amy Schumer is having a meteoric rise in 2015 and this cover coincided with the release of her film, Trainwreck. What’s more, this cover gained a lot of attention with some applauding and others—mostly Star Wars fans—less impressed.
The Good: GQ was smart to feature Schumer at what might be the peak of her popularity. Most of the critics agree that this is a fun cover, and well positioned for the newsstand.
The Bad: While the image is “cheeky” (as one designer stated), the coverlines aren’t doing it any favors. With such a bold and fun image, the coverlines should add a figurative exclamation point.
Title: Bloomberg Businessweek
Publishing Company: Bloomberg Media
Issue: July 13-19
Editor: Josh Tyrangiel
Creative Director: Rob Vargas
Why It Matters: Harper Lee’s long anticipated second book is surrounded by controversy and questions about the author’s cognitive state. The cover dropped in tandem with the book release, which is flying off the shelves—more than a million copies have already sold.
The Good: It was a creative choice to play on “To Kill a Mockingbird’s” original book jacket. Very nuanced illustration tweaks make it original while also keeping it close to the very familiar artwork.
The Bad: One critic referred to it as “almost brilliant,” but indicating that it missed the mark by not fully delivering on the concept—specifically, the critics point out that the brand’s logo is out of place and doesn’t feel as though it’s part of the overall design.
Publishing Company: Condé Nast
Editor: Scott Dadich
Design Head: Billy Sorrentino
Why It Matters: Wired is staying true to its roots and also showing its evolution as a brand with this cover—editorially and from a design perspective.
The Good: Wired took a risk going way outside the box with this cover. Its layout is untraditional and the cover can’t help but grab your attention. One designer actually questioned, “Why do I love this?”
The Bad: The riskiness of this design didn’t play well with all the critics. In fact, it left some scratching their heads (not in a good way).
Title: Rolling Stone
Publishing Company: Wenner Media
Issue: July 16-30
Editor: Will Dana (at publication date)
Design Director: Joseph Hutchinson
Why It Matters: It doesn’t really matter, but anytime you have Kim Kardashian on the cover you can expect some hype. In that sense, this cover didn’t disappoint. It grabbed the headlines Rolling Stone probably banked on.
The Good: There’s a cleanliness to this design, despite some of the more… ahem, obvious distractions.
The Bad: The critics were not shy about pointing out the gratuitous nature of this cover, one stating that it’s “more about cleavage than it is about the subject.” That raises an interesting point; the image is totally incongruous to the headline. And what’s up with the almost-nautical theme?
Publishing Company: IBT Media
Issue: July 24
Editor: Jim Impocco
Art Director: Mike Friel
Why It Matters: There probably isn’t a more polarizing issue in the U.S. right now than gun control. Newsweek was smart to go there, and didn’t hold back from making a provocative statement.
The Good: The magazine didn’t hold back on crafting a strong headline, but things go mostly south after that.
The Bad: The pencil art is strange and seems unnecessarily out of place. One critic says it reminded them of a college art project (ouch!). Some critics felt that it totally lacked focus, and was disappointing in contrast to some of Newsweek’s covers since it came back to print.