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Is Time magazine's new cover its boldest ever?

Time magazine cover
Time magazine's 'Vote' cover (Image credit: Time)

Time magazine is known for its striking and sometimes controversial cover designs, and the latest might be the boldest in its 100 year history. For the first time ever, the magazine's title has been replaced entirely.

The cover features a woman wearing a bandana as a face covering, printed on which is a ballot box. But the most striking aspect is the white text where the magazine's title usually sits at the top of the design, now simply imploring readers: VOTE. Like many of the best print ads of all time, this is bound to earn a few double-takes.

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Designed by Shepard Fairey (famous for the Obama 'Hope' poster – one of our landmark graphic design events of the past 25 years), the illustration is striking in its depiction of current events. "Even though the subject in the portrait knows there are additional challenges to democracy during a pandemic," Fairey says (opens in new tab), the person is determined to use their "voice and power by voting."

"Few events will shape the world to come more than the result of the upcoming US presidential election," TIME editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote in a blog post on Time magazine's website (opens in new tab). "To mark this historic moment, arguably as consequential a decision as any of us has ever made at the ballot box, we have for the first time in our nearly 100-year history replaced our logo on the cover of our US edition with the imperative for all of us to exercise the right to vote."

Replacing the title of the magazine is a bold move, but it's a testament to its strong design history that the cover is pretty much instantly recognisable (hello, red border). Like all Time magazine covers, the 'Vote' design is available to buy as a print (opens in new tab) from the magazine's website. 

But while it's certainly striking, we wouldn't quite call this one of the most controversial magazine covers of all time – indeed, it's simply imploring readers to exercise a fundamental right. But when it comes to bold, timely covers, Time magazine has certainly had form in this strangest of years – we were blown away by July's climate issue design

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Daniel Piper
Daniel Piper

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).