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The 20 best magazine covers of 2013

The art of print design and magazine covers is more important than ever. With cutbacks, iPads, and the internet, it's imperative that art directors, editors, and photographers get their magazine covers right.

Thankfully, celebrations such as the D&AD awards continue to support the art of magazine covers. And rightly so; just take a look at our pick of inspiring magazine covers and you could be surprised at the array of talent on offer.

01. W (US) (opens in new tab)

magazine covers of the year

We're going dotty over this magazine cover for W magazine

Yayoi Kusama (opens in new tab) is one of the masters of pointillism (opens in new tab) and a firm favourite here at Creative Bloq. This cover for W magazine features actor George Clooney, with a customised Armarni suit. Covered in an array of Kusama dots, it seems only fit that she was chosen to direct the cover for the 'Art Issue'.

02. Bloomberg Businessweek (opens in new tab)

magazine covers of the year

Taking influence of the internet onto print is an inventive approach to design

Creative Director Richard Turley (opens in new tab) took the reigns for this incredibly impressive Bloomberg Businessweek magazine cover. Taking the internet generation and transferring it to the 'dying breed' of print is a clever and inventive approach. Be sure to check out his blog (opens in new tab) for insights into his artistry.

03. New York Times Magazine (opens in new tab)

magazine covers of the year

Broccoli becomes the star for this magazine cover

Arem Duplessis (opens in new tab) was the design director and Gail Bichler (opens in new tab) the art director for this brilliant New York Times magazine cover. Personifying the broccoli along with the excellent choice of colours enables this one to really stand out on the shelf. The typography is also a winner!

04. Complex (opens in new tab)

Magazine covers of the year

Another incredible magazine cover design from Brent Rollins

Art director Brent Rollins (opens in new tab) worked on this bold and bright magazine cover for Complex magazine's June/July issue. It stars R&B singer Solange, with her red lipstick and blue background providing an incredible design aesthetic. Teaming the magazine's tag line 'Rise' with Solange looking up is also a super nice touch.

05. Novum

magazine covers of the year

Going from white to red - a clever use of ink on this cover

This is one of the most clever uses of ink we've ever come across. Barcelona studio Two Points (opens in new tab) transformed the cover into an interactive suncare reminder. It features a pasty, vest-wearing gentleman but place the cover in direct sunlight and the man is instantly sun burnt!

06. FT Weekend (opens in new tab)

magazine covers of the year

A special magazine cover for the Graphics Special issue

The Graphics Special issue aimed to showcase a rich and eclectic mix of visual culture from protest art of the Arab Spring to 3D printing buildings. We love the paper art aspect to this design - ensuring that the typography almost leaps from the page. The choice of colour is also perfect, with subtle pattern work to top things off.

07. Dear. (opens in new tab)

magazine covers of the year

We love that the patches are used to showcase the magazine's content

Dear Magazine focuses on the fashion production industry and small trader and enterprises in Korea. They explain, "we visit production sites (factories) and listen to the voices of the people who have quietly but diligently worked for the Korean fashion industry." All of their covers feature one striking garment - we love the use of the patches here.

08. NME (opens in new tab)

magazine covers of the year

A clever use of colour for the NME's redesigned covers

This year saw the redesign of iconic music magazine NME. "You could call the changes to NME a redesign but we prefer to think of it as a reinvention," says editor Mike Williams. It was taken care of by art director Mark Neil and we particularly love the font colours matching MIA's make-up, side-by-side.

09. Huck (opens in new tab)

magazine covers of the year

This photograph speaks for itself and creates an inspiring magazine cover

Huck is a bi-monthly lifestyle magazine rooted in surf, skate and snowboarding. Designed by the ever-inspiring and Creative Bloq favourite Church of London, this issue wants you to 'dive into' the other Syria. It's an image that absolutely speaks for itself.

10. Suddeutsche Zeitung Magazin (opens in new tab)

magazine covers of the year

We're big fans of artist David Shrigley here at Creative Bloq

Artist David Shrigley stars on this cover of German magazine Suddeutsche Zeitung Magazin. Art-director Thomas Kartsolis took the reigns for this one, whilst David Henne, Birthe Steinbeck, Daniel Schnitterbaum and Anna Meyer completed the overall design.

11. The New Yorker (opens in new tab)

best magazine covers 2013

This cover caused a lot of controversy when it was first released

Causing a flurry of controversy when it was first released, this cover aimed to highlight the news surrounding gay rights last month. Designed by Jack Hunter (opens in new tab), the cover is instantly striking thanks to its clever use of iconic characters. "It’s amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime," says Hunter.

12. The New York Times magazine (opens in new tab)

best magazine covers

The ultimate veggie burger is created for the cover

Created by art director Gail Bichler (opens in new tab), with design director Arem Duplessis (opens in new tab), director of photography Kathy Ryan (opens in new tab) and designers Hilary Greenbaum (opens in new tab), Sara Cywnar (opens in new tab), and Drea Zlanabitnig (opens in new tab), this cover was all about a new crop of restaurant chains selling healthful, vegan or vegetarian versions of traditional fast-food items like burgers.

"Getting the right mix of vegetables was a process of trial and error," explains Bichler. "The sandwich was held together using bendable wires and toothpicks so we could add and subtract items as we built. By the time we had a configuration that we were happy with, many of the vegetables had wilted under the lights and needed to be replaced."

best magazine covers

"Getting the right mix of vegetables was a process of trial and error," explains Bichler

best magazine covers

The sandwich was held together using bendable wires

13. POP (opens in new tab)

best magazine covers 2013

Kate Moss goes all sci-fi for the cover of POP magazine

Being touted as a "super glossy", with an established reputation for visual innovation and splendour, POP magazine is striving to be different and celebrate the world's creatives. This recent cover, starring supermodel Kate Moss, is instantly striking and reminscent of some of the best designs in sci-fi movies (opens in new tab).

14. Complex (opens in new tab)

best magazine covers 2013

Art director Brent Rollins has created movie logos for the likes of Boyz N The Hood

Complex magazine is known for its bold and bright covers. This issue starring Rn'B superstar The Weeknd was shot and directed by art director Brent Rollins (opens in new tab). Rollins has also created album artwork for BlackStar, Spank Rock, and Gang Starr and crafted movie logos for Boyz N The Hood and Dead President.

15. ESPN (opens in new tab)

best magazine covers 2013

ESPN produce a range of covers for their 'The Body Issue' series

The Body Issue is a yearly tradition at ESPN magazine and often produces some of the best magazine covers of the year. 2013 saw the likes of basketball player Kenneth Faried and Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings starring but it's this beautiful shot of 77-year-old golfer Gary Player that really caught our eye. Art direction was taken care of by Jason Lancaster (opens in new tab).

16. Little White Lies (opens in new tab)

best magazine covers 2013

Little White Lies produce yet another unforgettable magazine cover

There's no denying our love affair with movie magazine Little White Lies. Enlisting the help of different illustrators and graphic designers for every bi-monthly issue, their outputs are never short of spectacular. This cover for the Man of Steel issue was overseen by Little White Lies' former creative director Paul Willoughby (opens in new tab) and created by illustrator Magnus Voll Mathiassen (opens in new tab).

17. Lucky Peach (opens in new tab)

best magazine covers 2013

Lucky Charms for the Lucky Peach magazine cover

This adorable take on Lucky Peach's 'Travel' issue had us falling in love instantly. Editors Chris Ying, David Chang, and Peter Meehan explain that 'the aim of Lucky Peach is to create a publication that appeals to diehard foodies as well as fans of good writing and art in general.' This cover was overseen by art director Walter Green (opens in new tab).

18. Texas Monthly (opens in new tab)

best magazine covers 2013

Designer TJ Tucker tucks in to all of Texas' favourite foods for this cover

Design director TJ Tucker (opens in new tab) created this delicious foodie cover for the Texas Monthly magazine that quite frankly screams all things Southern. Packing plenty of Texans' favourite foods, the clever execution makes this a magazine cover that deserves a double-take.

19. Boston (opens in new tab)

best magazine covers 2013

An iconic cover that will surely go down in magazine design history

After the horrific bombings during the Boston marathon, the Boston magazine gathered up all the sneakers worn and created this gorgeous heart shape. Design Director Brian Struble (opens in new tab) was responsible for the brilliant execution, with Mitch Feinberg (opens in new tab) taking care of the photography.

20. The Big Issue (opens in new tab)

best magazine covers 2013

The Big Issue have produced some of their best covers ever this year

2013 has seen The Big Issue produce some of their best covers in the history of the magazine. This brilliant Johnny Depp-focused design was illustrated by Peter Strain (opens in new tab), with art direction taken care of by Scott Maclean (opens in new tab). We love the mix of bold colours and handwriting fonts (opens in new tab).

Words: Sammy Maine (opens in new tab)

Sammy Maine is the reporter at Creative Bloq and has also written for the likes of Computer Arts, HUCK magazine and Drowned in Sound.

See more amazing examples of magazine covers on Cover Junkie (opens in new tab).

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What's been your favourite magazine cover of the year so far? Let us know in the comments box below!

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The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of six full-time members of staff: Editor Kerrie Hughes, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Deals Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Digital Arts and Design Editor Ian Dean, and Staff Writer Amelia Bamsey, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq.