Art Directors' Corner

      May 2004
"This cover was illustrated by David Brinley, who is one of my favorite artists to work with.  The cover story was about Bush's foreign policy and how it is making the world less safe. We came up with a simple concept of Bush dropping a globe.  This was the first cover Brinley did for us, and his initial sketch was a very deformed, maniacal-looking Bush smashing the globe into the ground. I think he was giving us what he thought a political magazine would want: caricature.  But I thought that really undermined the gravity of the article and could make it look to some like just another liberal screed.  So I asked him to try it in his more traditional style, and I think it worked much more successfully.  It's a lot more subtle, and Bush's expression really communicates the point of the piece.  Some people on staff didn't think it was dynamic enough and that the color pallet was too somber, but it turned out to be one of our best-selling covers on the newsstand last year."
   -Aaron Morales, The American Prospect (Feb. 2, 2005 e-mail)              

      Nov. 22, 2004

This was the most nerve-wracking cover, not only because we were all apoplectic about the election but because the magazine would be going to press the day after election and we had to propose a separate solution for three likely scenarios: 1) Bush wins outright; 2) Kerry wins outright; 3) the winner is still unknown as of the drop-dead deadline.  We met in Katrina's office with all the players, I think it was Friday before the election, but all we really agreed upon then and there was that the feeling for a Bush victory scenario should be "dark."  But I had a reliable source at the DNC, whom we did some work for, and by Monday I was getting the same euphoric polling data that duped the Kerry folks into thinking they were going to win, and it duped me, too.  So as of Monday we were focusing mostly on the "Kerry wins" scenario.  ...Stephen's solution: Kerry as the bloodied, battered heavyweight survivor of a brutal 15-round decision.  And we loved it.  But the magazine didn't.  And anyway, of course, by midnight Tuesday we were back to the "Dark" scenario, which ran."
-Gene Case and Stephen Kling, The Nation (Feb. 3, 2005 e-mail)         

      March 22, 2004

People loved George & Jane.  The idea came from the magazine, maybe even from Tom Hayden, Jane's ex-husband of course, and a member of the Editorial Board.  (I hope he cleared it with her!)  We just sort of "followed the concept out the window," putting Ashcroft, Gingrich in Jane's arms, too, inside the magazine.
-Gene Case and Stephen Kling, The Nation (Feb. 3, 2005 e-mail)         

An authentic photo showing Fonda and Kerry sitting separately in the audience at an anti-war rally in Valley Forge, Penn. on Labor Day 1970 appeared on the website on Feb. 9, 2004.  Several days later a faked image, purportedly showing Kerry standing by while Fonda spoke at a rally, made the rounds on the Internet.  The faked image, which bore the caption "Actress And Anti-War Activist Jane Fonda Speaks to a crowd of Vietnam Veterans as Activist and Former Vietnam Vet John Kerry (LEFT) listens and prepares to speak next concerning the war in Vietnam  (AP Photo),"
consisted of two Corbis photos from different events merged together.      

      Jan. 26, 2004

At this point--the second week in January, 04--everyone was still expecting Howard Dean to win Iowa and New Hampshire.  The cover story postulated a sort f sexual-dynamic basis for his popularity: Dean was the only Democrat who was man enough to stand up to bully Bush.  Our instinct was to go back to childhood, to the old body-builder ads in which the skinny "girly man" (the Democratic Party) gets sand kicked in his face and then transforms himself into a real man.  The plot line fit nicely, with the admiring pin-up in the background cooing, "And Democrats used to be such sissies!"
-Gene Case and Stephen Kling, The Nation (Feb. 3, 2005 e-mail)         

      July 21, 2001
The cover of the three Bush's ("Faith of Our Fathers") attracted a lot of interest, where the layout helped reinforce the message.  The images were specifically selected to look as identical to one another as possible.  [Photos: U.S. Senate Historical Office; Richard A. Bloom; Reuters/Larry Downing]
-Jan Zimmeck, National Journal (Jan. 27, 2005 e-mail)                  

      Feb. 10, 2003
We knew we were obligated to use a wire photo because we wanted a shot of Bush from the '03 State of the Union.  Given that, newspapers everywhere, and possibly the news weeklies, would be drawing from the same pool, muddling any distinction for our coverage of the event.  In addition, file photos can be extremely dry on a cover.

Illustration wasn't considered because it would not have had the immediacy and impact this topic required.  The magazine supports Bush's position on Iraq and knew that would be central to his speech and so the editors did not want to portray him negatively.  Time was another factor since the speech was Tuesday night and the magazine ships Wednesday night.  So finding a stylizing a strong file photo was clearly the solution.
-Joe Heroun, The New Republic (Feb. 6, 2003 e-mail)                  

      June 19, 2003
The artist for this week's cover is Zach Trenholm from San Francisco.  He gained notoriety doing caricatures for the defunct website and I've worked with him a number of times previously.  Over the past couple of years he's done a number of satirical portraits for the Books & Arts section of TNR.

The cover was intended to suggest that the Dems first big gathering of '04 candidates was a lightweight affiar and that they were pandering to their Southern hosts, hence the oldboy Seersucker suits and mint juleps.  Zach's style was perfect to set the sarcastic tone.  Nine figures were too much to cram onto the cover so we decided to edit out those candidates  considered less formidable and which didn't play prominently inside.  We included Sharpton for mainly comic value.

The piece ran as submitted on the first draft.
-Joe Heroun, The New Republic (May 2003 e-mail)                  

      November 2002

I came up with this concept after looking at how past leaders have been portrayed in the propaganda of their enemies.  In the first half of the twentieth century Napoleon was good shorthand for an out-of-control military leader, and while his image doesn't have quite the same resonance today, I still thought it would be a good way to show Bush's ambition for empire.

Andrea Ventura did the artwork - he's a wonderful artist whose work I first noticed years ago in Rolling Stone.  He has a knack for capturing people's personalities (especially in facial expression) and a real flare for color.  This was the first piece he did for our magazine - and its been  one of our most popular covers ever.
-Nick Jehlen, The Progressive (April 2, 2003 e-mail)                  

      April 2003

David Hollenbach, the artist, came up with this concept.  I felt it was a great idea - simple and clean, and getting the point across with a bit of a twist on the flag we're used to seeing in this situation.  David's art, a collage of photos and paint, always captures emotion and movement in an interesting way.

An interesting side note on this cover.  The same week it appeared a very similar concept came out on the cover of In These Times, the Chicago-based magazine.  Their cover was simply a UN flag burning.
-Nick Jehlen, The Progressive (April 2, 2003 e-mail)                  

      Oct. 30, 2004

The Oct. 30, 2004 cover of WORLD ("Clinch time") was an attempt to add a little levity in the midst of a heated presidential campaign season.  Plus we had been doing so much political coverage, with photo covers of both Bush and Kerry, that we really did not want to use another photo of either them.  (We also knew one of them would be pictured on the cover again in two weeks.)  So we turned to Krieg Barrie, our staff illustrator (he also does freelance work) who lives near Seattle.  Often we will give him complete freedom on illustrations, but this time the editors and I gave some direction concerning the elements we were looking for, namely a U.S. map with Bush and Kerry signs in areas of the country reflecting their support.  We suggested a few landmarks, but he took it from there, adding the creativity and cleverness.  After an initial rough draft, we nailed down the elements, then he emailed us a finished Illustrator file.  The likenesses of Kerry and Bush needed some refining, and after several tweaks he sent us the final version.
-David Freeland, WORLD (Feb. 4, 2005 e-mail)                  

The American Prospect-Aaron Morales
Aaron Morales graduated from the University of Missouri–Columbia in 2001 with degrees in journalism and French.  He started working at The American Prospect in November 2001 as production manager and was promoted to associate art director in early 2003.  Morales does all of the design and production of the entire book, and many of the covers; sometimes design consultants Point Five Design do the cover (they did about half of them last year), depending on workload.  Morales says he spends a great deal of his time "trying to keep donkeys, elephants, maps and gross caricatures off the cover of the magazine.He recently worked with Point Five Design on a redesign of the magazine, which launched with the January 2005 issue. 

The Nation-Gene Case and Stephen Kling/Avenging Angels

Gene Case and Stephen Kling/Avenging Angels have done covers for the Nation since the Sept. 29, 2003 issue ("Blood in the Water").  Avenging Angels is an advertising agency founded by Case in 2001; it was "born out of the explosion of 'Liberal Road Rage' that followed the Florida coup of 2000."  Case has extensive experience in advertising; in 1969, with legendary art director Helmut Krone, he founded Case & Krone, an advertising agency that evolved over the decades into a $400-million enterprise.  Kling is a graphic designer who has worked with some of the best advertising minds in America, though he may not have appreciated that fact at the time.  He attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

Case and Kling's  work with the Nation actually started four years ago with in-house advertising and then other circulation building concepts.  For example, they came up with the celebrity ads that feature photos of famous people reading the magazine.  (More recently they have also done TV ads run late at night on cable, "cheap stuff."  These were run initially run around the conventions and Election Day). 
Case felt the covers should be approached as high-impact ads for the editorial content.  He referenced the Esquire covers done by George Lois in the 1960s.  The folks at the magazine were intrigued and eventually decided to proceed.  Case noted there were some concerns about how well the magazine's newsprint would work with dark colors.  While some people at the magazine want to go glossy, he likes the newsprint as "more serious."

National Journal-Jan Foerster Zimmeck, Design Consultant
"Once the cover story is determined, the editor often has some ideas, sometimes very specific, about possibilities for an image that works with the story.  He, the photo editors, the editor of the story, and I look for images from our photographers' files, the wire, and stock.  We look at news-related images, conceptual images, or as needed, commission illustration or shoot original photography.  At times, we get together prior to the image-selection process to discuss concepts for the image."
"Since 911, we have been using photography more than illustration.  This came about not intentionally, but because of the nature of the news events.  The topics generally called for a photographic solution."

Jan Foerster Zimmeck, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, holds a BFA from Wittenberg University and The School of Visual Arts, and specializes in publication and identity design. She began her career as an art director in Cleveland with Nelson Stern Advertising, then relocated to Washington, D.C. area in 1980.  She served as Publications Director for George Mason University, where she established their visual identity program; and design consultant for Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, Government Executive Magazine, Common Cause Magazine, and U.S. News and World Report.  She received numerous awards for magazine design and visual identity from the Society of Illustrators Annual National Exhibition, the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington, Print Design Annual, The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and The University and College Designers' Association.  For National Journal Magazine, where she is responsible for art direction and design of its cover and features, she received first and second place for cover design from the National Headliner Awards.

Editor is Charles Green, the senior photo editor is Richard A. Bloom, and photo editor is Liz Lynch.

The New Republic-Joe Heroun

Q: General observations/philosophy when it comes to designing covers for TNR...

Most things I could say about this would sound cliché.  My most important concern is to rise above pedantic solutions and avoid over-explaining a story.  I don't always succeed.  The TNR editors and writers are a terrific group of people, collectively an awe-inspiring brain trust.  However, as word-people and policy wonks they tend to default toward overly literal visual interpretations.  Oddly, though they avoid spoon-feeding readers within the magazine's pages, with imagery and metaphor they sometimes feel the need to over-explain, which can result in less than stellar results.  Case in point: the August 9, 2004 cover, with Kerry and Edwards looking out over the conventioneers toward the larger world.  It was not a provocative or engaging solution.  It might have clarity going for it if one stays with it long enough to get it.  But a little mystery is often better, and I like to let the words carry the more of the freight in many instances.

Because the cover is also packaging for the brand—which the public
forms its perceptions around—the most dead-on solutions are not necessarily best in the long view.  It's important to signal the magazine's unique perspective and brand of intellect, which a dopey image quickly undermines.

Like everyone in my business, I strive for simplicity and, with photography in particular, an emotional connection, best evidenced with the November 15, 2004 cover of the tearful and dejected Kerry supporter.  Totally free of artifice or cleverness, few things could have better expressed the mood of 49% percent of the voting electorate at that moment in time."

As much as I enjoy illustration, some of the most effective covers have used newswire photography. Like finding a diamond in the rough, it can require tediously wading through dozens and dozens of images until one speaks to you.  Other times you find them quickly.  But it's gratifying to discover unflattering outtakes that pair with a headline to make a convincing case for or against your subject.  These are photos not likely to be featured in mainstream publications for fear of appearing partisan, (though the New York Times got away with it for a while under Howell Raines).  Covers like March 10, 2003 and the sheepish "What, Me Worry?" Bush expression is an example. The immediacy and truth contained in a subjectively edited photograph can perform like a Judo move by leveraging a subject's image against themselves. "He's Still Lying," June 2, 2003, uses an image that conveys the inadvertent, telltale twitchiness associated with a person in the act of telling a whopper.  The "Bush Hatred" cover, September 29, 2003, puts Bush's maddening cocksure smirk front and center to elucidate how his seemingly phony self-confidence and swagger enrages so many people. On the June 3, 2002 cover, John Kerry's likeability problem, displayed an uncharacteristic 'awshucks' cocked head and goofy smile, which underscored his determined, albeit unconvincing drive to be perceived as a nice guy.  There is an emotional and cognitive resonance with these types of covers that illustration cannot match. While they are no less subjective than a caricature they are much more powerful.  I personally like the simple elegance of this type of solution despite the fact that the hand of the art director is subtle compared to an illustrated cover.

Did the redesign affect the space you have to work with on the cover?

A: Yes, one of the primary objectives was to return the banner to one line since the former logo occupied too much real estate and was difficult to work around.  The secondary cover lines were particularly awkward to manage.  The canvas was substantially improved with the redesign and it also now requires far less fussing and silhouetting over the logo.

Joe Heroun has specialized in magazines and publication development for more than 15 years, beginning as art director of Sportswear International.  He redesigned Sports Illustrated in 1990 and was part of the original Mirabella design team, among other projects, including the Gucci ad campaign.  He was pivotal in the ascent of men’s service journalism through his packaging of the Men’s Health brand in the early 90’s and reinvigorated the title a second time in 2001, ushering in a period of remarkable advertising growth and buzz as one of the publishing industry’s hottest magazines according to Adweek and other media watchers.  He was also on the team that conceived and launched Best Life, the Men’s Health brand extension.  Heroun was instrumental in its content and editorial mix as well as leading the design and photo direction.  Similarly, he was interim editor-in-chief of Boston magazine, in addition to serving as that publication’s award-winning design director for four years.

Heroun has been art director for The New Republic since two weeks before 9/11, an auspicious beginning.  His subsequent redesign of TNR successfully re-established magazine’s visual identity, and introduced the remarkable David Cowles as its sole weekly contributing caricaturist. Heroun, along with his wife Christine Car, has produced a consistent and unifying vision for the magazine’s cover concepts utilizing a wide range of innovative illustrators, news photography, and graphic design.

Among other publications, Heroun has been involved with New York magazine, Newsweek, the Boston Globe, The Village Voice, House Beautiful, Self, Modern Bride, Design News, Bicycling, The Improper Bostonian, and Natural Health. He has been awarded by The Society of Publication Designers and the City and Regional Magazine Association, and others. Heroun studied graphic art at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit and figurative art at The Art Students League and The New York Academy of Art.

-Bruce Ramsay, Director of Covers
Bruce Ramsay joined Newsweek in June 1997 as director of covers.
Prior to joining Newsweek, Ramsay was art director of  Spin magazine for three and a half years. Ramsay was instrumental in increasing the magazine’s visual punch and broadening its appeal. Prior to joining Spin, he had been art director of Lear’s and Saturday Night, and his career has included stints at Esquire and Murdoch Magazine Development. He was art director for “The Art of Fashion Photography” for Aperture and Naomi Campbell’s book “Naomi” for Universe.
Ramsay attended the Ontario College for Art and Design in Toronto, Canada from 1979-1981.

The Progressive-Nick Jehlen, Art Director
"I pick cover artists by looking at their past work - specifically seeing how they get the emotional tone of a political argument across.  But once I choose someone I try to give them as wide a berth as possible - I have a hand in guiding the overall look of the magazine but I count on artists to bring their own aesthetic and voice to the pages, especially the cover."

Nick Jehlen has been the Art Director at The Progressive magazine since 1999.  Before that, he was Art Director of the Boston Review and a designer at WGBHHe  has worked as a designer since college and gained experience on the job and through informal mentorships.  Since 1992 Nick has done work for a wide variety of political and non-profit groups.  He was the Creative Director and co-founder of Turn Your Back on Bush ( and designed the logo and website for Billionaires for Bush (  His work has been recognized by PRINT magazine, HOW magazine, Communication Arts and the Society of Publication Designers.

Time-Arthur Hochstein, Art Director
Final decisions on TIME covers are made by Managing Editor Jim Kelly, who was named to the position in January 2001.  Kelly started at TIME as a writer in the Nation section; served as foreign editor during Gulf War I and the fall of the Soviet Union, and became deputy managing editor in 1996.

Arthur Hochstein, 48, is the Art Director of Time Magazine. He oversees a staff of 20, including an informational graphics department. His role combines his appreciation of the written word with his love of the visual image.

Each week Arthur conceptualizes and designs TIME's cover and oversees the design of all of its pages.

After studying journalism at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Hochstein held a number of editing and design jobs at small publications in his native St. Louis. From 1982-1985 he was Graphics Director and Sunday Magazine Editor  of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Leaving the soon-to-be-bankrupt newspaper, he landed a freelance stint at time.  Shortly thereafter he was added to the permanent staff as the Art Director of TIME International.

Moving to the domestic magazine, he worked in a variety of roles prior to being named Art Director in January of 1994.  The rest is a sordid tale of late nights, rich food and much professional fun.

Hochstein's work has been cited by The Society of Publications Designers, The Art Directors Club of New York, Communications Arts, Print, and other organizations.

He lives in New York City with his wife and esteemed colleague Linda Freeman.

USN&WR-Design Director Ken Newbaker
"At U.S.News & World Report, a cover story is normally set by Monday of the publishing week, although it may change depending on the news of the week.  The cover story is established by consensus of the senior editors, although the final call rests with Editor Brian Duffy.  By the end of the week and certainly by Friday afternoon, Design Director Ken Newbaker will have produced several versions of the cover, and Duffy selects the one the magazine will use." -Peter Cary,
Managing Editor.

World-David Freeland, Art Director
David Freeland holds a BA degree in Mass Communications from the University of South Florida and has been Art Director for WORLD Magazine since 1995.  He began his career laying out ads at a small-town newspaper in Florida, then took a job at Ligonier Ministries in Orlando overseeing printing and production.  Within two years he was designing a monthly magazine, book covers, brochures and eventually brought all design in-house.  He was there seven years before coming to WORLD, where he has won several design awards, including a 2002 Ozzie for best redesign.  He lives in Asheville, NC, with wife Sheri, and they are expecting their first child in May 2005.

magazine, book covers, brochures and eventually brought all design in-house.  He was there seven years before coming to WORLD, where he has won several design awards, including a 2002 Ozzie for best redesign.  He lives in Asheville, NC, with wife Sheri, and they are expecting their first child in May 2005.