From the SPD Archives: Publication Design 39 Cover, 2004

From the SPD Archives: Publication Design 39 Cover, 2004 SPD50.jpgOne of our favorite SPD book covers is this jacket from the SPD 39th Publication Design Annual, published in 2004. The cover originated as a photo shoot by Stephen Lewis for design director Debra Bishop at Martha Stewart Kids magazine. It was picked up and altered by Robert Priest, who designed the book with his team from Priest Media. The Pub 39 book features the best publication design from 2003, selected by a distinguished set of judges, and co-chaired by Carla Frank, design director of O, the Oprah Magazine, and Luke Hayman, design director of New York.

On the turn page, Debra Bishop and Robert Priest share their memories of the creation of this book cover.

Debra Bishop: This photograph was chosen from a Martha Stewart Kids story called "Give a Dog a Bone." It was a "how-to," story featuring homemade holiday gifts children could make for their pets.

I remember this shot well because we had asked Sharon Patrick, our CFO at the time, to bring in her dog Norman to model for the homemade dog bone part of of it. We usually used trained animals as models (this was one of the few exceptions). It also provided Sharon with a nice holiday photo to send out.

Stephen Lewis, the photographer, shot many of our stories for Kids. Jodi Levine was the editor-in-chief, and we had so much fun working together! At this magazine, art directors, style editors, and writers worked in teams to create each story and the content and visuals were created simultaneously. It was like being in art school all over again. In retrospect I will never have that much fun creating content and stories  and working with such talent.

The dog was a joy to shoot, though I think I remember having to retouch some drooling and extra crumbs. My hat's off to Robert who selected this photo, designed the cover and annual and did a great job with the bone title.

Debra Bishop was VP, design director at Martha Stewart Kids. She is currently creative director at More magazine.

Give a Dog a Bone.jpgThe cover photograph of SPD Publication 39 as it originally appeared in Martha Stewart Kids

Robert Priest: In 2004 then-SPD Executive Director Bride Whelan asked me to design the SPD Annual and its cover. I wanted to create a twist on one of the most memorable images in the book. My first notion was to adapt a glorious idea that Scott Dadich and Dan Winters had dreamed up for Texas Monthly. It was called "Cuts Above" and it featured framed "portraits" of slices of brisket, links of sausage, and racks of lamb among others. It was a no-brainer: we would create a wooden case with a glass door containing the letters SPD made out of some heavy looking sausages! Dan and Scott were on board to recreate the image and we all thought it would be brilliant. Unfortunately Bride deemed it too phallic for the gentle folk who buy the SPD Annual and we were forced to abandon the idea.

Revisiting the work in the annual I found a fabulous shot that Deb Bishop had art directed for Martha Stewart Kids. Deb had already done all the heavy lifting. She had hired Stephen Lewis, one of the most creative and precise photographers I know, and they, along with stylist Anna Beckman, had shot a beautiful yet intimidating bulldog with a large red ribbon around its neck. My job was easy. I simply hired the same team to shoot a baked pastry dog biscuit on which the letters SPD were embossed. We stripped it into Stephen's original shot, added thought bubbles and we had a cover. It was Bride Whelan's last as Executive Director of SPD...

Robert Priest is one of the co-founding partners of the Priest + Grace design firm, and is editor and co-founder of Eight by Eight magazine.

The SPD 39th Publication Design Annual
Book jacket creative directors: Debra Bishop and Robert Priest
Cover photograph: Stephen Lewis
Styling: Anna Beckman
Book design: Robert Priest, Remma Shapiro, and Ron Jones of Priest Media

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Related Stories:
From the SPD Archives: The 15th Call for Entries, 1979
From the SPD Archives: Publication Design 12, 1978

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