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)
Yayoi Kusama is one of the masters of pointillism 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'.
Creative Director Richard Turley 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 for insights into his artistry.
Arem Duplessis was the design director and Gail Bichler 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!
Art director Brent Rollins 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.
This is one of the most clever uses of ink we've ever come across. Barcelona studio Two Points 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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, 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.
Created by art director Gail Bichler, with design director Arem Duplessis, director of photography Kathy Ryan and designers Hilary Greenbaum, Sara Cywnar, and Drea Zlanabitnig, 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."
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.
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. 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.
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.
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 and created by illustrator Magnus Voll Mathiassen.
17. Lucky Peach
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.
18. Texas Monthly
Design director TJ Tucker 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.
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 was responsible for the brilliant execution, with Mitch Feinberg taking care of the photography.
20. The Big Issue
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, with art direction taken care of by Scott Maclean. We love the mix of bold colours and handwriting fonts.
Words: Sammy Maine
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.
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What's been your favourite magazine cover of the year so far? Let us know in the comments box below!