Screaming out from the stack of newsprint was a cover that has, in the course of this week, turned into what may be my favorite magazine cover of the year. It's so simple, Matt Bai's piece on Obama and "black politics" illustrated in Din, set in all caps, screaming out the headline in 144pt type. It's just the headline. That's it. No illustration. No graphics. No clever inside-baseball political gag. Just type, but so expertly set, with just enough tension, sliding under the logo, kissing the trim, just a tremendous execution.
It reminds me a bit of two other famous covers--both from 1966--also all-black, also all about the type, all about the content. Why tart up a cover with meaningless design or photography, when really, you're trading in ideas?
Which is all to say, I'm finding great insiration from these covers. Sometimes, it's really amazing how off course we designers can get when tackling a complex problem. I'm currently working on my October WIRED cover and it's been a tough go the past three weeks. My editor, Chris Anderson, has a very clear idea of what he doesn't want to see, which is where I'm supposed to come in, trying to offer him a brilliant visual solution that threads what has turned into an increasingly small needle. I've literally gone through 40+ designs, 6 different illustrators, 8 or 9 typefaces, and still nothing that either of us is thrilled with.
Which is why I've got Rem's cover sitting across from me now, reminding me to K.I.S.S., Keep It Simple, Stupid.
I'll let you know how it turns out.