Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, August 15, 2021

before and after
Last year, I lodged my complaint about Esquire’s tendency to overload the magazine cover with words:

[I]t’s become a turnoff. In fact, I recently canceled my subscription to [former Esquire cover-art designer George] Lois’ old periodical stomping grounds, in large part because I was finding that those text-gorged covers were constantly turning me off each month. Far from enticing me to open the cover and dive in, the instant in-your-face design seems a bit too desperate for attention.

Since then, I’ve re-upped my subscription. But I’m still less than pleased with that same cover-design aesthetic, which hasn’t abated. The George Clooney cover pictured above is from April 2008, but to me, it’s practically indistinguishable from this month’s issue: Same central photo being crowded out by far too many blurbs, making it a visual jumble. It’s a case of too many editorial thumbs insisting on a sliver of the front-cover real estate, instead of presenting a clear, distinctive image. I’m sure next month’s issue will be just as much of a clone.

Maybe that’s the trouble — the covers look too similar from month to month, and consequently, I subconsciously presume that the contents will be just as similar each month. I know that they won’t be, but the cover does become a mental barrier, instead of the enticement it’s supposed to be. Maybe I’m atypical in that reaction, but if not, I can’t believe this is helping newsstand sales.

Good thing the preferred subscription rate I got for Esquire was nominal. Otherwise, I’d just cancel it again. As it is, I can’t see why I’d re-up once this one ends.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/15/2009 02:02:45 PM
Category: Creative, Publishing
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2 Feedbacks »
  1. It’s not just Esquire covers that look the same every month - almost all mag covers do now. They don’t distinguish themselves from each other outside of a different wordmark. The generic celeb poses are quite a yawn.

    Comment by David — 08/17/2009 @ 01:02:44 PM

  2. True enough. Someone needs to create an InDesign/Quark virus that wipes out those overused templates, just so designers are forced to cook up something new…

    I still say that Esquire’s blurbage is more jumbled and crowded than most mags’.

    Comment by CT — 08/17/2009 @ 01:14:54 PM

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