Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

The New Yorker, Nov. 17, 2008

The legendary illustrator and designer Milton Glaser often refers to the readers of a magazine as a "tribe." Certainly few magazines demonstrate this idea better than The New Yorker, which tailors its content and editorial posture for readers of a certain mindset, regardless of where they live. This self-awareness gives The New Yorker great freedom on its covers, allowing them to speak in code to the members of the tribe. It leverages that freedom beautifully, and this list could easily be filled with just its covers. But I'll stick to one: the cover that ran immediately after the presidential election. The illustration by Bob Staake shows the moon cleverly hollowed out to form the O in the magazine's name — and in the president-elect's — casting its glow over the Lincoln Memorial. (I'm not sure the columns would reflect like that, but, hey, it's artistic license.) Why is the cover great? It doesn't do a victory dance. Rather, it whispers to the reader (the tribe): "Everything's okay now — we have our country back." It's set at night, a time when creepy things happen, but also a time when people sleep, safe and sound. It is beautifully rendered. Simply spectacular.