Great covers burn themselves into your brain and sell magazines by the truckload. Here, some of the industry’s best people reveal what makes a magazine fly.
Great covers come from great content,” says Gill Hudson, editor of Radio Times, which shifts 1.1million copies a month. “Stop obsessing about covers right now. Covers are scary. Rules make everyone feel safe – but playing it safe is the most dangerous thing you can do.”
At a talk given to the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) in May 2004, Hudson argued that cover design ‘rules’ have led to a “tidal wave of homogenous covers.” She added: “We are being market researched to death – define yourself by your difference”.
We weren’t responsible for dyeing her hair red but we did style her in a way that we think the Glamour reader would like to look. It was all about very feminine dresses, and soft, sophisticated make-up. Christina loved the dress so much she wore it home from the shoot and straight out to a party that night.
“I also like how, while there’s a lot of type on this cover, there are still plenty of points of ‘breathing space’ so while it looks very commercial, I think it retains some sophistication.
The coverlines represent some of the major subjects that prompt our readers to buy – they’re fascinated with plastic surgery these days.
Lastly, this was a commemorative issue, celebrating our first Women of the Year Awards. It was fantastically successful. So I feel a special sense of achievement whenever I look at this cover.”