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Magazine Designs chosen by a Cover Junkie

Jaap Biemans is Art Director at Volkskrant Magazine and the founder of CoverJunkie. Previously a judge on the Magazine & Newspaper Design Jury at the D&AD Professional Awards, we asked him to pick out some of the award-winning magazine design front cover examples that he holds dearest. 

Each week there’s a reason to get excited about new published magazine covers. Ace covers that shout “pick me up, adore me, lick me!” Shining magazine cover examples to be worshipped and revered.

But to be honest it happens only a few times a year an epic cover reaches the newsstand. These epic ones contain: news, guts and creativity all in one- so it's no wonder the award-winning design front cover images below have won a place in my heart. Prepare to be inspireed...

What about this one from Boston magazine? This is an instant classic; oh do I wish I’d designed that! The heart is made of shoes worn during the Boston Marathon. And please take a look at their back page; this is a lot of extra points if you ask me.

Another ace one is called Bert and Ernie’s “moment of joy” from The New Yorker. The momentum was pretty good, published during the peak of the gay-rights discussions of the Supreme Court.

What I like best is that everybody can get his or her artwork on front of The New Yorker. The artist behind this one, Jack Hunter, originally submitted his image unsolicited via Tumblr. It has to be good, but it can be done. 

Each week, art director Rodrigo Sanchez from Metropoli magazine (Spain) turns me into a jealous designer. He grabs the absolute freedom to design covers and is doing this on a subtle way with a lot of flair. Take a look at this one about the movie Nymphomaniac. No explanation needed.

Most Wired covers are stacked with headlines, arrows, captions, colour boxes, small lettering etc. etc. Rarely do they design something completely different, but when they do, it’s so ace it hurts.

What about this poster-like approach? This could be a protest, sprayed somewhere on the streets of San Francisco. Please, I would love to see more of this.

When every popular mag was bringing the photos of future king George, Private Eye came up with this gonzo-like design. This is epic – putting it into perspective, and doing it with humour too.

Talking of humour, I rarely break out laughing about a cover design but it happened last July. Can you imagine making a cover about hedge funds? Probably the dullest subject ever. These guys at Bloomberg Businessweek are some best around, being able to turn this into something hilarious. 

This one keeps getting back to me; I think it’s a genius approach. I’ve seen lots of Michelangelo’s finger covers, but never with a mirror involved. I love the fact that Adbusters is confronting the reader with himself or herself.

This cover from Novum (Germany) you have to feel in your fingers; it feels organic. It’s a deformable cover, but it’s too bad mags rarely use the texture of paper.

Time Out London asked artist Tracey Emin to create art for their cover. This is something that happens fairly often – but you rarely see the logo adjusted like they did here. That’s a pretty brave decision.

Another example from Time Out London, but this time not so brave, because they pulled this cover from page one. For crying out loud, why? It does not get any better than this, but unfortunately the advertiser did not like this artwork by Noma Bar.

I recently ran into this cover from Brand Eins in Germany, 'Papp' from designers Hilde & Bard Tordal. Simple elements for an aesthetic and fun cover design.

'The lives they lived' is an annual issue of New York Magazine at New Years. This one features a perfect cover by showing the ’68 Cadillac belonging to James Gandolfini. Silent shot, sweet small headline, what else do you need? I want to own this!

Now, I have to finish with the best cover design ever coming out of the Netherlands. I know it’s from 2006 but its time this designer gets a well-deserved shout-out. This cover is about the influence from Berlusconi in the Italian media. Watch closely: the logo "Vpro" is created out of different Italian newspapers and each folded paper shows a piece of Berlusconi. Very smart.

Again, this is simply the best cover out of Holland - in my humble opinion of course! Designed by the fab Piet Schreuders!

If you think you have a campaign that deserves a Pencil, enter your work into the D&AD Professional Awards and see if our judges agree. When it comes to awards, nothing matters more.

For more creative inspiration and the opportunity to get up close and personal with the world’s best design and advertising, join us at D&AD Festival.
 

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