Maghero

The Nigella Lawson Stylist cover (detail)

Work / Graphic Design

Looking at the 15 front covers on this year’s PPA awards shortlist

Like a lot of mass-market design, magazine covers straddle an interesting line in terms of how they are perceived by design purists and how much they appeal to the average shelf-browser. The Professional Publishers Association (PPA) has just unveiled the nominations for its respected awards scheme and it’s interesting to see which 15 front pages the judges chose for the shortlist.

The panel were looking for a high standard of imaginative design, photography and/or illustration, how the cover fits with the overall brand positioning, cover lines that brilliantly sell the content and how the cover appeals to both new and core readers, but even given the mainstream nature of the awards, the traditionalism of much of the work is noteworthy.

There are some interesting efforts though – for my money the Paul Gascoigne cover of Sport stands out with a stark portrait of the troubled star, it’s good to see David Shrigley’s anti-cover for Shortlist there while the caramel-covered Nigella Lawson cover for Stylist is undeniably eye-catching.

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: Sport

There’s some interesting entries from Wallpaper* and Wired and the Peter Griffin twist on the usual Men’s Health torso packs a playful punch. Elsewhere the terrific competence in copy and layout has to be admired among big beasts like GQ, Tatler and Elle.

Interestingly this week Shortlist have just revealed that their next cover is being designed by the legendary George Lois. The man responsible for Esquire’s iconic covers in the 1960s and 70s said the project reminded him of how designing should work.
“Get the idea, and bada-bing-bada-boom! Fresh, memorable, exciting. No group grope. No analysis paralysis. That’s the epitome of the creative process."

The winners will be announced on Wednesday June 20 with the front cover award selected by a public vote.

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: Men’s Health

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: ShortList

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George Lois’ ShortList cover

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: Wired

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination:

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: Harper’s Bazaar

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: Stylist

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: Tatler

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: Elle

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: Wallpaper*

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: Good Food

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: John Lewis Edition

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: GQ

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: Cosmopolitan

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PPA Front Cover of the Year Nomination: Hello!