Before I started designing the covers I took a look at few of The Economist covers (of course). Whats similar about all of them is that they are really boring. A hot newsletter topic of the last 8 year is Barack Obama presidency term. A lot of politic magazines and newspapers speak about the recent president of the US and The Economist is no exception. Here is a cover of The Economist from Jan 2009 featuring Obama and the headline “Renewing America”.
While I think the photo is not so bad – Obama’s sign is caught in a good striking moment, I believe the tonality of the photo in combination with this strange background of vintage style writings in script typeface makes me want to fall asleep even before I’ve opened the newspaper. This is a tendency of almost all of The Economist editions, decent or mediocre photos presented quite boringly.
I took a different approach. First I changed the size of the newspaper from a non-standart smaller than A4 size to 21×29.7cm (A4) size. I think that the magazine will need more space for visuals and whitespace for the body copy to breath without making compromises on its size. My second approach was to minimize the content on the cover. The Economist is an icon, it doesn’t need a Month of the edition or information what articles we can find in. A simple identification number of the edition will make it even more icon and differentiate from the dozens of other magazines. I took a minimalistic approach to the design of the cover – no ugly backgrounds, no unnecessary content, lines or other elements.
This was the first cover I created:
After searching for photography of Barack Obama I stumbled upon the amazing photography of Pete Souza: http://www.petesouza.com/ and this image in particular: http://www.petesouza.com/gallery.html?gallery=The%20Rise%20of%20Barack%20Obama This image of Obama is so strong with the highlight in the form of circle supporting him from behind. It very much resembles his logo.
After some experimentation I thought I could minimize the cover even more by increasing the size of the photo.
In my final version which I think has most visual appeal to it, I took a riskier approach to change the icon colour of the economist giving it a transparent feel. Not sure if in real world that would be a better option instead of the solid red colour but for the purpose of this assignment I found this piece most striking with the headline in the center.