The Secret Life of a Magazine Cover

magazine-coverEver wonder how a magazine cover comes about? Take a look at one title’s process.

A good magazine cover is a work of creative beauty, but getting to that point involves a lot of trial and error. Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of those covers? Lucy Glover in Engage Content takes us on a tour behind the making of the most recent Vet Practice cover.

“The subject of the story is Dr. Elizabeth Arnott. It talks about how she is involved with the Farm Dog Project… and we wanted to get a sense of this on the cover,” Glover writes.

“The photographs [from the cover shoot] we got back were wonderful, and we had too many good ones to choose from. This isn’t always the case—quite often we only get one or two that are cover choices from a shoot.”

Glover explains that after the photo shoot, the six-step process begins:

  1. Narrowing the choice to the images that tell the story visually.
  2. Making the pictures talk to the text, through adding cut lines and colors.
  3. Selecting options with good composition, choosing only those that have the best combination of image, text, light, color and tone.
  4. Consulting the editor for his or her top choices, a step that can often narrow down the artist’s choice to one or two finalists.
  5. Testing your bias by running the finalists past a test group.
  6. Settling on the final one.

It’s an interesting way to look at the sometimes seemingly arbitrary process. Next time you’re working on a magazine cover, you might give this method a try.