Worth Magazine's Illustrated Covers

Worth Magazine's Illustrated Covers For the past year, Worth magazine design director Dean Sebring and illustrator Brian Stauffer have collaborated on a stunning series of illustrated covers. The magazine won a gold medal for redesign at this year's SPD Gala, and for good reason. Sebring has given the interior a major overhaul that is by turns smart, elegant, classic, and highly engaging. But it's the covers, illustrated by Stauffer, that are the signature look of the magazine, "the product of a partnering of design and illustration," as he puts it.

Sebring and Stauffer are both former art directors of alt weekly newspaper Miami New Times, where they met when Brian started doing illustrations for Dean. Their ongoing work at Worth, which Stauffer describes as "organic, collaborative, and experimental," are as close as anyone can get these days to the classic Fortune illustrated covers of the 1930s-50s.

Dean Sebring: For issue #2 we asked Brian to illustrate the magazine's tagline, "The Evolution of Financial Intelligence." We really want Worth to feel and look special, something that feels collectible, so we experiment with a lot of spot varnishes and metallic inks to create a rich, layered effect. 

Brian Stauffer: The classic/retro thing we're doing represents an admiration of the inventiveness and originality that used to be commonplace on covers of bygone eras. Publications like Fortune and Arts & Architecture thought a great deal of their readers' appetite for stimulating visuals. The folks at Worth target every piece of information to a very tight audience, and have a deep connection with their readers, who identify themselves with the Worth brand.

Brian Stauffer: For Issue #3, Dean wanted to revisit the colors and general theme from the previous issue. He wanted the visual voice of the publication to be clear and consistent, in order to define the new Worth brand. He also started to incorporate text into the covers on this one.

Dean Sebring: We wanted this issue to be a little more inviting than the previous issue. I'm a believer in letting the art dictate the design, which is what we did here.

Brian Stauffer: We were pressed for time on this one so we skipped the sketch phase. I originally created the image with the emblematic textures in the background that are found in most of my work. Dean proposed replacing the background with a solid metallic, which gave it a unique effect unlike any other financial magazine out there. This one is to me, a cousin of the early Fortune covers of the 30s and 40s.

Brian Stauffer: Dean and I felt it would be nice to start going beyond illustrating the tagline and have an image that illustrated an overall thread within the issue's content. This issue dealt with the idea of wealth being a source of freedom and change in developing countries. I envisioned a "hopeful propaganda," illustrated in an organic nature that made it stand out from previous covers.

Brian Stauffer: This was the toughest illustration of the bunch. Dean suggested paring the bull image town to its basic form, rendering the forest in shades of greay and gloss varnish to make it different from the preceding issue. The bull is printed in metallic gold ink. We hoped this image would help build a sense of the magazine's appreciation for what its readers are going through during the financial crisis.

Brian Stauffer: This issue deals with the mind of the entrepreneur--what it takes to look beyond the programmatic assumptions of the business world to find new opportunities. Of the series, this cover leans the most heavily on colors and forms from the past. I like this one because it feels like an object to me, something to be collected and preserved.

Related links:
Brian Stauffer website.
Brian Stauffer blog on Drawger.
Dean Sebring website (includes work from Worth, Miami New Times, and more)

Related stories:
The Creative Power of Miami New Times (features work from current art director Pam Shavalier)
New Look for Fortune

  • Sean DallasKidd

    When I first saw this magazine on newsstand it practically screamed off the shelf. Great job guys, i'm really looking forward to see where you take it from here.

  • ivylise

    What a duo. Amazing work!

  • Josh Klenert

    Smart work for a smart pub. Their focused, poster-like clarity have great pop at the cluttered newsstand. Great work!

  • Neil Jamieson

    These covers are timeless. As much at home hung in a gallery as sitting on the coffee table of a powerful CEO. Beautiful work, can't wait to see how collaboration will evolve!

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