The 20 best magazine covers of 2016

11. Computer Arts 

Scratch and reveal the top UK studios with this cover from Computer Arts

Computer Arts doesn't like to unveil things by halves. They’ve produced scratch-and-sniff covers, held competitions for the best new talent and added glittering foil to illustrative feats. This cover showcases the top 30 UK studios of 2016, with a clever scratch and reveal process. Art Editor Jo Gulliver triumphs with another inspiring output.

12. 3D World

A vivid and colourful stance from the team at 3D World

This issue explores animation FX with Blizzard and DreamWorks, allowing readers to discover how Houdini helped Blizzard bring a dense forest to life in The Last Bastion. The rich forestry is brought to life on the cover with gorgeous colours that produce a vivid artistry. 

13. Imagine FX

Imagine FX bring its cover character into the real world

Focusing on book illustration, this Imagine FX cover cleverly inserts an inspiring character illustration into the magazine’s title, as a woman is seen clutching onto one of the letters. Providing a sense of depth, it offers more than just meets the eye as the viewer is able to find new and interesting aspects upon each sighting.

14. net

A futuristic and wholly inspiring illustrative effort from NET magazine

This issue focusing on the future of CSS certainly focused on futuristic illustrative stylings, providing an eye-popping and gorgeous execution. Framing the main feature of the issue, it’s the small details in this cover that really bring it alive; the tiny characters you might not notice upon first glance or an ode to a particularly well-known sci-fi film.

15. Billboard

A fitting ode to a man all about creative freedom

The death of David Bowie shook the musical and cultural world to its core. His face graced the covers of newspapers and music magazines across the globe but it was this subtle but sweet tribute from Billboard that offered up something different. Bowing out the only way he knows how, Billboard’s use of a singular image makes this one of the more poignant offerings.

16. The Gourmand

The Gourmand tries to crack a smile with their cover design

Contemporary food, art and culture magazine The Gourmand switched up their art direction in 2015, taking out bright colours and instead replacing their output with sleek and artistic photography. Although simple in its execution, this particular cover design is undeniably eye-catching with the perfect kind of humour. 

17. New Philosopher

Illustration is used to tackle a serious social commentary

Describing the issue’s theme, New Philosopher writes: “Each day, children from Iceland to Japan learn the formal and informal rules of the society into which they are born. But when it comes to teaching them how to live and who to be, schools are sub- ordinate to screens: each year 900 hours are spent at school, while 2,500 hours are devoted to the ‘media curriculum’.” A haunting and thought-provoking illustrative cover.

18. Weapons of Reason

Human After All produce another stellar cover for their creative magazine

Tackling the issue of ageing, this issue of Weapons of Reason combines gorgeous illustrations that provide existential thought. “We worked with dozens of illustrators to create intelligent, original artwork that captured the essence of each article,” Human After All explains. “Commissioning compelling, on-the-ground stories, we showed that independent magazines aren’t just beautifully designed, but contain some of the best contemporary journalism.”

19. Ladybeard

A fittingly mind-bending cover design for a compelling issue

Only launching this year, Ladybeard describe themselves as “taking the form and format of the glossy magazine but revolutionises the content”. This is shown in their eclectic and brilliant cover for their ‘Mind’ issue; eye-popping colours and weirdly wonderful shapes ensure this catches the eye from the shelf.

20. Perdiz

Perdiz push every day photography to the forefront

With art direction from Querida Studio, Perdiz take every day photography and craft it into something entirely new. The pale shade of pink acts as the perfect border, inviting the eye to discover something special about the image facing them. Complete with their usual glittering font, it’s one of Perdiz’s best.

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