Harvard Business Review and their Brilliant Throwback Cover

hbr-oct16“For people of a certain age and demographic, it evokes a sensory association that is without compare.” 

Lately we’ve been seeing some truly impressive covers coming from the business magazine category, according to one industry analyst.

“Look no further than Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune, Forbes and, of course, Harvard Business Review,” writes Casey Welton in MIN Online.  “All of these publications have their own distinct design approach, and aren’t afraid to make heady topics fun and irreverent.”

One standout is the October issue of the Harvard Business Review, and its CGI image based on the classic Revell modeling kit and its snap-apart pieces.

“For some, the CGI image may evoke nostalgic (or frustrating) memories of building models as a child,” Welton notes. “It’s both a well-executed image and a creative solution for visualizing a topic that doesn’t offer a clear design concept—‘Building A Workforce for the Future.’”

For the team at HBR, their primary focus is on the current subscriber rather than the newsstand buyer, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pay attention to the presentation, said HBR’s art director Matthew Guemple.

“Most of our readers are subscribers, so the newsstand is icing for HBR,” Guemple explains. “When we start crafting cover language and imagery, we have to balance what is useful and meaningful to the reader against what will appeal and communicate quickly on the stands.”

“But since we don’t have a Brangelina option,” he continues, “we have to put the most significant, vital—to the reader—and challenging—to the culture—ideas on the cover. Our readers are intelligent, are willing to pay for good content. They enjoy the visual presentation as well as the solid, well-researched, informed material we deliver. And newsstand sales are up 10% this year. Crazy.”

Not so crazy, really, when you realize importance of a good cover design when building newsstand sales. This kind of big cover concept is exactly what’s needed to stand out and drive sales. And the idea of a cover going viral on social media doesn’t sound bad to Guemple and his team either.

“Both art and editorial are very conscious of the importance of, and keep a regular eye on, the marketplace to make the most-effective newsstand cover we can,” Guemple continues.

From where we sit, it looks like they nailed it this time. Nice work.