"Namaste" to Tim J Luddy of Mother Jones

When the editors of Mother Jones recently announced that longtime creative director Tim J Luddy was leaving the magazine "to build his yoga-teaching practice," it sounded to some like the West Coast equivalent of "spending more time with his family" or "pursuing other interests." In this case, though, the story is true. Luddy, who has been creative director for six years, is a longtime yoga practitioner and an RYT-200 certified teacher, even leading the Mother Jones staff in Down Dogs in the magazine's conference room.

That may explain the sense of zen calmness that Luddy has brought to the magazine's design and production. He has continued the Mother Jones tradition as a showcase of smart, provocative illustration, while giving the design a look of grace and elegance. His cover designs remind me a lot of the first years of Mother Jones, when it was art directed by Louise Kollenbaum. The covers lean heavily on illustration, but tend to be understated, often humorous, provocative without being off-putting, and always smart and engaging.

For more on Luddy at Mother Jones, see this SPD Three Questions With interview (it also gives you a sense of Luddy's personal style).

The good news is that as Luddy builds his new yoga teaching website and prepares for a yoga retreat in Hawaii, the new creative director of Mother Jones will be Ivylise Simones, former art director of The Village Voice and Rides magazine, among others. Meanwhile, I can think of a few magazine staffs who could benefit from some of Luddy's calming yoga practice! We here at SPD say "namaste" to Tim, and wish him the best in his new career.

Here are 10 of our favorite Mother Jones covers created by Luddy, plus a hilarious "47 percent" wine label designed in honor of a Mother Jones custom blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. (According to Luddy, the wine is much better than the Presidential candidate who inspired it!)

(Above): July / August 2013, illustration: Tim O'Brien

  • March / April 2013, illustration: Bill Mayer.
    March / April 2013, illustration: Bill Mayer.
  • February 2009, illustration: Dale Stephanos.
    February 2009, illustration: Dale Stephanos.
  • May / June 2011, illustration: Eddie Guy.
    May / June 2011, illustration: Eddie Guy.
  • May / June 2012, illustration: Gary Taxali.
    May / June 2012, illustration: Gary Taxali.
  • November / December 2010, illustration: Zina Saunders.
    November / December 2010, illustration: Zina Saunders.
  • November / December 2011, illustration: Tomer Hanuka.
    November / December 2011, illustration: Tomer Hanuka.
  • November / December 2012, illustration: Tim O'Brien.
    November / December 2012, illustration: Tim O'Brien.
  • March / April 2011, illustration: Tim O'Brien.
    March / April 2011, illustration: Tim O'Brien.
  • September / October 2008. Illustration: Tim O'Brien.
    September / October 2008. Illustration: Tim O'Brien.
  • 47 percent wine label. Illustration of Mitt Romney by Steve Brodner.
    47 percent wine label. Illustration of Mitt Romney by Steve Brodner.


The Mother Jones visual team:
Tim J Luddy: creative director
Carolyn Perot: art director
Mark Murrmann: photo editor
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