Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Rolling Stone, July 10, 2008

"Less is More!" is the battle cry of modernists and modernist designers the world over. In magazine land, especially on covers, art directors are constantly trying to convince editors to use less, or smaller, type — and for good reason. A cover at its best speaks through the power of imagery. Magazines usually reserve this treatment for monumental occasions, or for the death of icons. This Rolling Stone cover, with a charming photo of Obama by Peter Yang, speaks through pure imagery to announce several things: The magazine unabashedly supports Barack (duh!) and, since it has already made clear its support, is going to give the reader a more personal side of the candidate. The carefully selected image, likely an outtake, tells the reader he's not just The One, he's one of us as well. Obama is responding to something, so there's a conversation going on, and his unguarded demeanor invites us in for a closer look. The cover also breaks the conventional wisdom that the best cover pictures must have eye contact with the reader. So can cover designers drop the type, pick an unusual image and be completely successful? Yes, we can.