Happy 20th Birthday Entertainment Weekly

Happy 20th Birthday Entertainment Weekly

February 16 marks the 20th anniversary of the first publication date of Entertainment Weekly. For two decades EW has been the home of great illustration, photography, and design, and the training ground for successive generations of talented art directors. In its first four years, under founding design director Michael Grossman and art director Mark Michaelson, EW featured stunning, ground-breaking covers and brilliant cover photography. Here are 15 of the greatest covers from those first four years. Now, 20 years later, under the direction of design director Amid Capeci, EW is still the home for amazing visuals and creative graphics. Over the course of 2010 SPD will be featuring collections of covers from all six of the EW design directors.

The Entertainment Weekly issue archive is here.

(Above): Debut cover, February 16, 1990, K.D. Lang.

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(Left to right): Vietnam, February 23, 1990; CBS, March 9, 1990; Morning Shows, April 20, 1990.

Early issues of Entertainment Weekly featured a jaunty tilted logo and a strip of secondary headlines and images on the left-hand side. The logo would change a number of times in the next few years.

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(Left to right): Dick Tracy, June 15, 1990; Lucy, July 20, 1990; Rock & Roll, November 9, 1990.

By the middle of EW's first year, the logo righted itself and the side panel disappeared. A drop shadow was added to the logo that remained in some form for many years.

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(Left to right): Madonna, December 14, 1990; Steve Martin, February 22, 1991; Movie IQ, May 10, 1991.

As EW entered its second year it began to feature striking cover graphics and photography.

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(Left to right): Julia Roberts, November 22, 1991; Arsenio Hall, April 17, 1992; John Goodman,May 1, 1992.

Under the photo direction of Mary Dunn and Doris Brautigan, EW began to frequently feature black and white photographs of celebrities on the cover.

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(Left to right): Batman, June 19, 1992; Jack Nicholson, January 8, 1993; Seinfeld, April 9, 1993.

By the time the magazine celebrated its third birthday, the first letter of the logo had been upper-cased, and the type had been compressed and made taller. Covers were often black and white with simple, boldly elegant headlines and minimal color.

Related stories:
The First Issue (first issues of various entertainment magazines)

  • Nancy Stamatopoulos

    I remember the [subtle] change in the logo to initial cap "E" and more condensed overall. The results were not-so-subtle — they were spectacular. A little can go a long way, right?

  • Mike Solita

    Crazy how a typeface can stir up memories ... Bureau Grotesque was my favorite, favorite, FAVORITE in college. Everyone in my dorm would devour EW. It even got name-checked in one of the Scream movies, no?


  • Grant Glas

    John Korpics was a magician for EW back in the day. His spreads were killer. Circa 1996-99


  • Jeremy LaCroix

    Great stuff.

    I think the vertical secondary headline convention is interesting...in the sense that it's interesting the trends that come and go in magazine making.

    I remember that trick was also later used in Business week and we did it over at the Industry Standard back in the day too.

    Did EW start that whole trend? Who was first? Was it People magazine?

    Nowadays it seems that everybody's secondary lines are horizontal across the top in an effort to catch the reader on the stands, makes more sense really and leaves the playing field below the logo much clearer and in the end a nicer rectangular space to work with.

  • Michael Grossman

    Josh: I'm verkempt.

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