Face Up: Women’s Running
Issue: August 2015
Editor: Jessica Sebor
Art Director: Erin Douglas
Publishing company: Competitor Group
Magazine covers are designed to make some kind of statement, whether it’s political, comedic, thought provoking or trendsetting. But sometimes, the statement a magazine cover makes isn’t necessarily one that was initially intended.
For Women’s Running, that was the case with its August cover. The brand has been applauded for featuring plus-sized model Ericka Schenk on its cover. Magazines have a deserved reputation for maintaining conventional norms as to what a cover model should look like. However, in this instance, Women’s Running rejected those norms to illustrate that running is an inclusive activity, and proper form is what really matters.
Editor-in-chief Jessica Sebor and art director Erin Douglas suggest that their intention wasn’t to make some sort of social statement by including Schenk on the cover. In fact, she ended up on the cover because she was commissioned to model attire for an inside feature, but both Sebor and Douglas were so impressed by her form and the proofs from the shoot that they decided she belonged on the cover.
Sebor says that it wasn’t until after they looked at the mock-ups that they realized they were stepping outside the box in a big way, which might get noticed.
“We wondered to ourselves if it could be something groundbreaking,” Sebor says. “We thought there could be negative or positive feedback. In the magazine industry if you step outside the box you might get criticized. But to our surprise, there was a lot of positive feedback.”
The August issue just radiates off of newsstands, having nothing to do with the cover’s color or type. I thought it was an amazing, potent reminder that runners come in all shapes and sizes.
Even better, it was done with nuance and subtlety, avoiding any gimmicky coverlines. The relevant teaser stays small on the bottom right of the page, presenting a norm rather than an exception. This could have been (and often is) handled with significantly less grace.
What would I have done differently? Not a damn thing. We need much more of this.
– Ivylise Simones / Creative Director /Mother Jones
The cover has a strong image and it’s clean and graphic. The logo color and the photo make it a cohesive design.
I like the hand-written typography approach, which stands out from the other cover lines. The size of the type grabs your attention and overlaying the type on the image creates interaction between the words and picture. I would like to have seen a smaller secondary line integrated in this type treatment to explain the story.
The top left yellow burst stands out and is placed in a strong newsstand position, but I would rather see less font variations happen on this device.
– Sean Johnston / Design Director / Bonnier Outdoor Group