Amid Capeci, 1961-2012

Amid Capeci, 1961-2012
We received the very sad news today that one of our own, art director Amid Capeci passed away. He was an award-winning art director for Rolling Stone, Newsweek, and Entertainment Weekly, and SPD Board member who worked with so many SPD members. He will be missed.

Jeff Giles shared this letter from Amid's wife, Amy via the Newsweek alumni Facebook page this morning: 

See some of Amid's covers after the jump...

Dear friends, 

Amid passed away tonight. He was comfortable and surrounded by family. 

He has been very weak these past few days in the hospital. But he let us know with a few words or a nod or a name that he was listening and could feel the love of all the people who were important to him. We spent much of today reading aloud the dozens of extraordinary emails we were receiving. We had been working on a slideshow of photographs and decided to watch it this evening. With the computer at the foot of the bed and us gathered around Amid, we watched the pictures, laughing and crying as we described them to him. We believe he was still listening and sharing the experience with us in his final minutes. In its own way, it was as joyous and beautiful as the life he lived. 

We are so grateful for all of your thoughts, prayers, and messages of love and support in recent days. They are such a comfort to us.

Plans for a service are being made and will be shared. 

I'm sure this email is missing many people. Feel free to pass it on. 

With love, 

Amy and family

Newsweek, 2008. illustration by Lorenzo Petrantoni

Newsweek, illustration by Peter Max

Newsweek, October 20, 2006

Newsweek, illustration: Gluekit

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Beloved magazine designer Amid Capeci, who died of melanoma Tuesday, was only a boyish 50. Jeff Giles at Entertainment Weekly remembers his colleague.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Rolling Stone, May 4, 2006

Rolling Stone, December 29, 2005

Rolling Stone, August 19, 2004

Rolling Stone, May 18, 2006

Entertainment Weekly, June 3, 2011

Entertainment Weekly, July 30, 2010

Entertainment Weekly, December 10, 2010

Entertainment Weekly, November 4, 2011

Thanks to Joe Hutchinson, Bruce Ramsay, and the folks at Entertainment Weekly for collecting these covers.

Update:  A standing-room-only crowd filled Holy Cross Church in New York City Saturday for the funeral of Amid Capeci, Art Director of Entertainment Weekly. Three eulogies were presented, from his sister, his best friend, and Jon Meacham, his former editor at Newsweek and the current executive editor of Random House. The text of Meacham's eulogy follows:

He loved breaking news, great photography, bold typography, pop culture, fad diets, presidential politics, cashews, Oreos, the New Frontier, classic comic books, Barney's, Balthazar, his many colleagues--and, though he denied it later, Cosmopolitans.
Most of all, of course, Amid adored Amy and their two beautiful children, Virginia and Luca. His love for them--his joy in them and in their lives together--was infectious and transporting.

Amid and I came to Newsweek about the same time, in the middle of the Clinton years. From Diana to Bush v. Gore to September 11, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Obama, Amid was an unflagging anddevoted journalist and artist, capturing history as it happened with verve and style. At Newsweek, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and Entertainment Weekly, he chronicled the life and times of his life and times. He did it all with grace and wit and an honesty and clarity of character that won him that rarest of professional combinations: respect and affection.

Through those same years there were marriages and babies; first birthdays and accumulating wedding anniversaries. You could have no better friend than Amid in times of crisis or of celebration. If you were down, Amid lifted you up. If you were happy, Amid was the first to raise a glass. He knew who he was. He was comfortable in his own skin. He neither posed nor preened.

And he was proud--in the best sense of the term--of the world in which he worked. For Amid, magazine-making was nothing short of magical. He was bewitched by the romance of publishing, by the glamour, however faded, of it all--the late nights, the last-minute changes, the crashed covers. Many designers hate chaos. Amid loved chaos. There were deadlines and mad scrambles, near-misses and hard-fought triumphs.

Amid had a storyteller's sensibility, a knack for seeing the world in the way a painter or a novelist does. For him life was a grand, character-driven epic in which all of our virtues and vices and hopes and fears and egos and insecurities were on vivid display. Yet in a world given to intrigue and to gossip, Amid was a gentleman with a bottomless capacity for friendship.

He had his own vernacular, of course. Layouts that were not quite viewable were "in the soup."

If he said pages were coming "after lunch," you knew you'd see them about dinnertime.

At Entertainment Weekly, a decision best deferred? That, in Amid-speak, was "a Monday problem." At Newsweek, it was "a Friday night problem." At Rolling Stone, it was a "week-2 problem." 

Amid had the best jobs in a business he loved, but let's be honest: his natural habitat, the place where he would truly have been happiest, was Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce--the agency in "Mad Men." In a profound way, he was Don Draper without the adultery or the cigarettes.

One of Amid's favorite places in the world to be was his downstairs study at home--a cheerful, eclectic room that offers us a window on his mind and his heart. There are original posters from "Star Wars," "Jaws," and "The Sweet Smell of Success." Bound editions of Fortune from the 1930s. A vintage matchbook from "21." Photographs of backstage moments at a 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate and the final episode of "Seinfeld." Original strips of "Blondie," featuring, naturally, Dagwood Bumstead. Ashtrays from the Stork Club, the Copa, and the 1939 World's Fair. A set of DVDs from the 1980s--"Footloose," "Pretty in Pink," "Some Kind of Wonderful," and "Top Gun" sits easily alongside "Casablanca," "The Little Rascals" and "The Best of Jack Benny."

Most important, there is a carefully crafted Pinewood Derby racecar Luca made in carpentry, mounted with paternal pride on a small stand. And there is a wonderful handmade penguin pencil cup Virginia gave to Amid for the shelf behind his desk.

There, among the things he loved, you can almost hear that laugh even still--God, how Amid laughed so easily and so thoroughly. There was something redemptive about that laugh, and about his talent for love. His smile lit up our lives. His grace made rough passages smooth. In life he gave us great gifts, and in death he has left us with a great obligation: to strive to be as a good a man, as good a spouse, as good a parent, and as good a friend as he was.

Amid designed many things; he was an artist, a passionate one and a great one. And his truest masterpiece was the love he shared and the life he led.

May light perpetual shine upon him. 

  • Traci Churchill

    I am so deeply saddened by this news. This is way too young. What a bright and shining star. I did not know Amid but I am moved by the outpouring of love and support for him.

  • Claibourn Hamilton


    Sadly, I learned just now that Amid Capeci, Design Director of Entertainment Weekly has passed. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have interviewed with him for a design position back in the Summer of 2011. Mr. Capeci was full of charm, wit and grace. I know that if given the chance, his years of magazine design and talent would influenced me enormously. His legacy continues to affect me and always will...

    Claibourn Hamilton, Designer

  • Mike Schnaidt

    Amid had a tough challenge when he came to EW in 2009. Art directing a weekly magazine is easy; he did it for years at Newsweek. The bigger hurdle was winning over such a tightly knit art department.

    We had been through a lot of change in a short period of time. Worry for our jobs was always percolating in the background. New managers, dwindling advertising. The last thing we wanted was a new Design Director. I didn't know Amid, so I was prepared for a man armored in a black power suit who was ready to clear out the art department.

    But then I met him. Amid was a cartoon character. If I asked my friends from Long Island to draw a caricature of an art director, they would pencil a man with thick framed glasses, a checkered shirt and a blazer. (Or they would just draw some dude with a beret.)

    When Amid joined our art department, he accepted the challenge like a man. He didn't make things easy on himself and bring in his own people. He wanted to be part of our family. And he did so without us even realizing.

    That was Amid's charm. He operated with such grace that you never felt like you were working FOR him.

    I can recall multiple times when Amid would fire out of a meeting on rocket skates, propel past my office, hit the brakes and reverse himself into the chair next to me. This would often occur when we were closing the magazine, so this routine meant that he was bearing some last minute changes. While breaking the bad news, he would eat my almonds, tell me about movies that came out on laserdisc before i even existed, and wrap it all up by drumming a Led Zeppelin song on my desk. Somehow, during this time, I made those design changes. And they were painless.

    Working for the man taught me a thing or two about design, but more so, he taught me about BEING a man. How to never crack under pressure. How to work hard, and how to treat your loved ones. If anyone ever has the lapse of judgment to hire me as Design Director, I hope to do the job with half the grace and charm as Amid did.

    I'll miss you buddy.



  • Roberto

    This sad news breaks my heart. It has taken me a while to process since I first heard. What little comfort I can offer to Amy and the family are personal and private remembrances I plan to share just that way, in private.

    What I can say is that I feel privileged to have gotten to know Amid, especially his younger self, when he was my Deputy at Travel-Holiday and later at SPY. We all knew then that he was a world-class talent and a great-guy, qualities that do not necessarily (and rarely) go hand-in-hand. What is so wonderful is that he remained true to that as a generous and funny gentleman, who always greeted an old friend who'd been out-of-touch as warmly as if we had just talked the day before. Consistently. Every time. I will miss that.

    Ciao Amid. RIP

  • I only met Amid once, when EW hosted a Pub Crawl tour in April of 2010, and when his shining spirit was evident. He generously spoke to us for a good 20 minutes while he was waiting to be called into Martha Nelson's office to show her several options for the next issue's cover. He spread out his designs and invited the students to comment on them, creating a robust dialogue, and giving them what, sadly, has turned out to be their once in a lifetime chance to learn from him. When he got the call that Martha was ready for him, he promised that if we were still there when he came back, he would let us know which cover was the winner. We were, and he did. That morning, he gave those lucky young designers a real world look into our industry that surely influenced them, and I am grateful to have shared in the experience. Rest in peace, Amid, and my deepest sympathies to your family and friends.

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