American Society of Magazine Editors

Best Cover Contest 2008 Winners & Finalists


Cover of the Year|Best Celebrity Cover|Best Concept Cover|Best Fashion Cover
Best Leisure Interest Cover|Best News Cover|Best Service Cover|Best Coverline

Cover of the Year

Winner
New York, March 24, 2008

One of the biggest stories in New York this year was the fall of Governor Eliot Spitzer, after the stunning revelation that he had patronized a prostitution ring. New York’s March 24, 2008 cover treated the scandal in a bold yet disarming way that managed to make news itself—telling the story of the governor’s fall with a wry and unflinching point of view. Looking for personal, opinionated perspectives on the topic, the magazine solicited visual commentary from artists, graphic designers, and advertising creatives, providing them with five photographs of Spitzer to work off. Artist Barbara Kruger’s graphic interpretation on Henry Leutwyler’s photograph—the word “BRAIN” in a bright-red box with an arrow pointing to the area of Spitzer’s anatomy that seemed to have been thinking for him—was quickly selected, thanks to its directness, humor, and simplicity. The cover required no headlines. The image succeeded powerfully all by itself.


Finalist
Interview, June/July 2008

The June/July cover of Interview was inspired by the fact that the issue was dedicated to the magazine’s founder, Andy Warhol, who would have been 80 years old in August of that year. The magazine chose designer Marc Jacobs as the cover subject because of what he represents: someone creative who, with his work, his collaborations, and his perpetual inventiveness has come to blur the boundaries of art and business in his field, much like Warhol. Co-editorial Director Fabien Baron, photographer Mikael Jansson and stylist Katie Grand worked to design a cover that would not only feel contemporary, but also articulate ideas about Andy’s influence on the culture in a visceral way. The results were poignantly, brilliantly—and appropriately—pop.

Finalist
The New Yorker, October 8, 2007

In “Short Stance,” artist Barry Blitt combined two headline-grabbing news stories to create a powerful satirical image. In Blitt’s illustration, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who declared “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country” during his controversial speech at Columbia University in late September, is pictured in a bathroom stall, receiving a “foot-tap” from his neighbor—an action that made headlines after Idaho Senator Larry Craig’s arrest in a Minneapolis airport bathroom in June 2007.
 


 

Best Celebrity Cover

Winner
Texas Monthly, May 2008

No celebrity in Texas is as iconic as Willie Nelson. This issue marked the seventh time Texas Monthly featured Nelson on the cover—more times than anyone else. Over the years, the covers watched him go from being a breakout country sensation in 1976, to a tax-evader in 1991, to a senior citizen in 1998, to a symbol of Texan humor in 2002 (he and Kinky Friedman posed for a riff on the painting “American Gothic”). When it came time to design the cover of this issue, which commemorates his 75th birthday with a massive oral history, Nelson’s longevity posed a challenge: What could be done that had not been done before? Ultimately, when photographer Platon came back from Nelson’s ranch with this incredible shot, the decision was made. Cover type seemed irrelevant: For the newsstand, a small “Willie at 75: The Oral History” was placed to the right of his face; subscribers received a cover with no type at all. This turned out to be unquestionably the most popular Nelson cover for the magazine. Within a week it was besieged with requests for posters or prints of the image, a sure sign that it had managed to capture the musician’s incomparable celebrity.

Finalist
Latina, March 2008

When Jessica Alba appeared on the cover of Latina, the Latino community was shocked. Before the issue hit the stands, most Latinas were convinced she was ashamed of her Mexican heritage. The Internet was rampant with alleged quotes from the Hollywood actress that included, “My grandfather tried to forget his Mexican roots” and “As a third-generation American, I feel as if I finally cut loose.” Gossip blogger Perez Hilton even nicknamed her Jessica “Don’t Call Me Latina” Alba. Latina offered Alba an open platform to address the rumors and discuss her experience growing up as a Mexican-American.

In the early months of her pregnancy, Alba worked to create phenomenal images with photographer Sheryl Nields. By using some of Alba’s quotes as coverlines, the magazine treated readers to a preview of her story. The sultry front cover, coupled with a reflective back cover, was an eye-catching, unexpected and provocative combination.

Finalist
T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Spring 2008

An image of George Clooney dressed in a pristine white cotton and linen suit and splattered in mud is not one that immediately comes to mind when one thinks of a sophisticated fashion magazine image. But it is precisely this element of surprise that makes this cover succeed so well. It is always difficult to turn a well-known face into a totally new one that reflects a magazine’s identity. But this cover does exactly that, thanks to the collaboration between the creative team—the photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino, stylist Bill Mullen, and the subject, George Clooney, whose mud-soaked film Leatherheads was about to be released. It is the perfect union between magazine and celebrity.

Best Concept Cover

Winner
The New Yorker, February 11 & 18, 2008

For this year’s anniversary issue of The New Yorker, artist Seth reinterpreted Rea Irvin’s classic Eustace Tilley image to produce “Eustace Tillarobama,” a two-headed playing card image that featured the leading Democratic presidential candidates dressed as the New Yorker icon, sharing his famous monocle. Half of the run featured Obama on top and Clinton on the bottom; in the other half, Clinton had the upper hand.

 

 

 

Finalist
TIME, April 2008

TIME’s Special Environment Issue features an image so ingrained in the collective consciousness of Americans—the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima, taken on February 23, 1945, by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal—that any alteration of that photo would be provocative. But what TIME Art Director Arthur Hochstein created was something entirely new: by replacing the black-and-white American flag with a colorful trees, and by emphasizing TIME’s commitment to the fight against global warming with a bold coverline and the first-ever green TIME logo and border, Hochstein and his team gave the image a more contemporary, urgent meaning while also emphasizing the importance of our current war on global warming. The TIME image outraged some veteran’s groups, but it got the country talking about the historical implications of the environmental crisis and gave new immediacy to the issue.

Finalist
Vanity Fair, May 2008

For the cover of Vanity Fair’s third annual Green Issue, Madonna—who has been involved in ecological causes and runs the charity Raising Malawi (a volunteer organization helping orphans of the poorest nations)—portrayed a 21st century Atlas, embodying the notion that the fate of the fragile Earth is, quite literally, in our hands. The inspiration for the image came to Editor Graydon Carter from a mid-century fashion magazine cover. Vanity Fair’s Fashion and Style Director Michale Roberts began with several sketches, channeling the fashion cover as well as the 1920s work of Czech photographer Frantisek Dritkol. Then Roberts commissioned London-based set designer Robbie Doig to construct the globe, which was made from polystyrene, resin and plaster, and finished with paint and marble dust; it weighed just under 80 pounds and took 10 days to complete. The globe was suspended from the photo studio ceiling, enabling Madonna to maneuver herself around its entire circumference, and photographer Steven Meisel to shoot his subject from all angles.

Finalist
Wired, November 2007

Wired spared no expense in their effort for authenticity for the November 2007 issue on the influence of Japanese comics in America. The magazine sent its art director to Japan to seek out the hottest manga artist to provide an illustration. Yoichiro Ono produced a striking image for the cover, the background of which was tinted with a special ink to provide a genuine newsprint look to the final product.
 

 


 

Best Fashion Cover

Winner (2-Way Tie)
New York Look, Spring 2008

New York Look, the semi-annual fashion magazine from the editors of New York, announced itself with a bold, graphic, black-and-white cover for its inaugural issue. In an age of instantly available and ubiquitous runway photos, the cover presents a catwalk photo readers have never seen before, shot by Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin. Pellegrin captured the beauty, chaos, and drama of Fashion Week with the fresh eye of an outsider. Fashion covers are usually staged, highly produced affairs. This cover was unmistakably fashionable but used documentary photography to tell its story—and the stunning artistry of the picture perfectly captures what was special about New York Look’s singular approach, covering the collections rather than the clothes—looking at the fashion shows as a phenomenon, rather than a simple showcase for a product.

Winner (2-Way Tie)
Vanity Fair, September 2007

For Vanity Fair’s fashion cover, world-renowned fashion photographer and portraitist Mario Testino shot supermodel Gisele Bündchen wearing a flashy Robert Cavalli dress for a feature on Brazil. Styled by Michael Roberts, the cover of Vanity Fair’s annual Style Issue conveys luxurious electricity. The integration of type into the contours of the limousine draws the reader, in an almost tactile way, into the cover itself.

 



 

Finalist
Departures, March/April 2008

The image selected for Departures’ March/April 2008 International Style cover tries to do things a little differently: embracing the good, the never bad, and the always beautiful world of fashion with a whoosh, in a blur, with style and sophistication.

 


 

 

Finalist
GQ, March 2008

Eric Bana was photographed for GQ’s March 2008 issue by Michael Thompson. He’s wearing a suit by John Varvatos with a shirt and tie by Jill Sander. Bana looks stylish, confident, and every inch a GQ man. But what’s also noteworthy is how relaxed and comfortable he looks. It’s hard to imagine a better way for a man to appear on the cover of GQ. And isn’t that the ultimate fashion secret?
 


 

 

Best Leisure Interest Cover

Winner
New York, June 30, 2008

The cover of New York magazine’s 2008 Summer Issue, with presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama seemingly relaxing on the beach and fist-bumping, falls in the magazine’s tradition of humorous covers to capture the carefree spirit of summer. The power of the cover comes both from having two candidates in the unlikeliest of places doing the unlikeliest thing, and from the seamless, painting-like execution. Photographer Andrew Eccles shot two body doubles on a studio set, then chose the perfect head shots of the candidates, with meticulous attention to lighting, expression, and angle, to complete the photo-illustration. Like all successful leisure covers, the Summer Issue makes readers smile, and makes them want to have fun.

Finalist
The New Yorker, April 21, 2008

For the “Journeys” issue, Jacques de Loustal created an innovative three-part layered cover. In “On the Move,” his adventuring couple is inappropriately dressed for each location (for example, they wear parkas and ski hats while crossing a sandy beach), but they tread through each environment with a spirit of adventure. De Loustal’s cover nicely complemented the varied pieces within the magazine, which told stories of journeys ranging from a scare in a Manhattan elevator to a voyage through a wildlife preserve for tigers in an Indian mangrove swamp.

 

 

Finalist
T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Winter 2007

The goal of this cover was to transport the reader into another world by conveying a strong sense of place (in this case, Lake Tazawa, Japan) and establishing a definite mood (the dreamy romance of Japan in winter), while at the same time creating an image that is graphic and sophisticated in keeping with T’s brand identity. The photographer Raymond Meier shot the Japanese model Anne Watanabe at the Gozanoishi Shrine at the edge of Lake Tazawa in Japan’s northern Akita prefecture, dressed in a vintage kimono and dramatically styled hair. The result is a marriage of travel and style that inspires readers to experience a world outside their own.

Best News Cover

Winner
New York, March 24, 2008

One of the biggest stories in New York this year was the fall of Governor Eliot Spitzer, after the stunning revelation that he had patronized a prostitution ring. New York’s March 24, 2008 cover treated the scandal in a bold yet disarming way that managed to make news itself—telling the story of the governor’s fall with a wry and unflinching point of view. Looking for personal, opinionated perspectives on the topic, the magazine solicited visual commentary from artists, graphic designers, and advertising creatives, providing them with five photographs of Spitzer to work off. Artist Barbara Kruger’s graphic interpretation on Henry Leutwyler’s photograph—the word “BRAIN” in a bright-red box with an arrow pointing to the area of Spitzer’s anatomy that seemed to have been thinking for him—was quickly selected, thanks to its directness, humor, and simplicity. The cover required no headlines. The image succeeded powerfully all by itself.

Finalist
The New York Times Magazine, July 27, 2008

This cover is a fine example of documentary photography—something that few magazines give space to these days. It introduces a photo essay about the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the controversial religious sect currently under investigation for child sexual abuse. The image showing a little girl pushing back her damp hair as she stands in an open doorway, while an older girl hovers in the background, gives readers a portal to a secluded and secretive world. It is a powerful entry into the riveting photo essay by Stephanie Sinclair that unfolds inside the magazine. Sinclair, a documentarian in the humanist tradition who is deeply committed to women’s issues, particularly those involving child marriage, has so far been the only photographer to witness the daily lives of these women and girls. This access was granted as a result of Sinclair’s determination; the photos pull back a curtain on the lives of people reluctantly thrust into the public spotlight.

Finalist
The New Yorker, March 17, 2008

As the long Democratic primary race for President dragged into the spring months, Barry Blitt captured the ambition and eagerness of candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to be the next Commander-in-Chief. “I’ll Get It!” plays on the commercial released by the Clinton campaign in late February, intended to cast doubt on Obama’s national security credentials, which asked the question: if the famed red crisis phone at the White house rings at 3:00a.m., who do you want on the other end of the line?

 

 

Finalist
TIME, May 19, 2008

During one of the most drawn-out and tense Democratic primary races in history, TIME published the cover story “And The Winner* Is…,” essentially declaring Senator Barack Obama the winner following his commanding victory in the North Carolina primary on May 6, 2008. With the race not yet over and with Senator Hillary Clinton’s advisers giving no indication that Clinton would drop out, this declarative cover ignited the press and drove the political conversation while it was on the newsstands: During an appearance on the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams showed Barack Obama the cover and asked him his thoughts on it, and on CNN, Wolf Blitzer displayed the cover to Hillary Clinton and asked her about it. Pundits on both sides had already essentially declared Obama the winner, but it wasn’t until TIME unveiled this cover that a mainstream outlet deemed the race effectively over in such a bold way—and the media listened.

Best Service Cover

Winner
Texas Monthly, June 2008

Every five years Texas Monthly goes out on a limb and proclaims the 50 best barbecue joints in Texas. The BBQ issue is the magazine’s most popular (and controversial) service franchise. This year it rocked the boat by picking a little known restaurant for the number one spot. The boldness of that decision led the magazine to make equally bold moves on the cover. Last time out it had featured the portly pitmaster at one of the state’s most venerable restaurants, grinning as he sliced a sausage. This time, TM elected to use something even simpler—a pile of smoked meats on a butcher’s block with a carving knife plunged in a brisket. The coverline is presented as an iconic BBQ joint neon light and hung on a beat-up wall; the sign’s electrical cord shows behind the magazine’s logo to capture the down-to-earth feel of barbecue. The spatial dynamics of the room created a perfect hierarchy of type, with the secondary coverlines sitting in the shadowy area on the front of the meat block. Not surprisingly, this is on track to be the magazine’s best-selling BBQ cover ever.

Finalist
New York, November 12, 2007

New York’s overcrowded airports have become a national crisis, but they are also a local crisis every time New Yorkers have to travel. New York’s November 12, 2007 “Airport Hell” cover, with dozens of jets seemingly taking off at the same time in Ho-Yeol Ryu’s brilliant photo montage, at once humorous and frightening, perfectly captures the idea of our troubled skies (and the accompanying chaos on the ground).

 

 

 

Finalist
Wired, June 2008

By taking the notion of service to its extreme, Wired’s June 2008 cover on environmental heresies goes to the lengths of informing readers and environmentalists how to better serve the cause of preventing global warming. In sober signage typography, this cover provided a rare opportunity in the name of service, informing the public not what we’re doing right, but what we’re doing wrong.

 

 

 

Best Coverline

Winner
New York, March 24, 2008

One of the biggest stories in New York this year was the fall of Governor Eliot Spitzer, after the stunning revelation that he had patronized a prostitution ring. New York’s March 24, 2008 cover treated the scandal in a bold yet disarming way that managed to make news itself—telling the story of the governor’s fall with a wry and unflinching point of view. Looking for personal, opinionated perspectives on the topic, the magazine solicited visual commentary from artists, graphic designers, and advertising creatives, providing them with five photographs of Spitzer to work off. Artist Barbara Kruger’s graphic interpretation on Henry Leutwyler’s photograph—the word “BRAIN” in a bright-red box with an arrow pointing to the area of Spitzer’s anatomy that seemed to have been thinking for him—was quickly selected, thanks to its directness, humor, and simplicity. The cover required no headlines. The image succeeded powerfully all by itself.

Finalist
The New York Times Magazine, June 1, 2008

"Martha. Oprah. Tyra.*"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finalist
Wired, April 2008

"Evil/Genius"
 


 

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