[Landon Jones, former managing editor of Money and People - hat tip to Andy Nulman]
What makes a magazine stand out? Take a look at any rack at a bookstore and you will know - its cover. Of course, it's not about the image itself, it's about the story the image (and layout) convey.
I've given you a selection of covers to provide some diversity here. You may grab more at the site of the American Society of Magazine Editors, and Time for starters. There are so many narrative tools one can employ to design a conversation with an image - illustration, photographic treatment, optical illusion. The most memorable covers sum up the story inside by connecting with you at the emotional level:
- evoking memories
- presenting the unexpected
- painting a scenario
- zeroing in a subject
- doing the opposite
- provoking a visceral reaction
- surprising, etc.
These covers are designed to tell a very specific story, yet they leave themselves open to your interpretation and participation. The simpler, the more complex the narrative they symbolize. If I had to take an educated guess, I'd say that the most powerful covers (and narratives) are the brainchild of one visionary, or the collaboration of a team of specialized professionals each complementing and building upon - and not stifling - the other.
This also applies to your corporate brochures, Web sites, tech sheets, presentations, speeches, memos, letters. Do you want to stand out? Then stand up and make a bold move. Outstanding is the opposite of conforming.