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Wednesday, 16 March 2016 00:00

The Evolution of Magazine Cover Design

A look at how magazine cover designs have changed in the past 100 years ...


Cosmopolitan 1939–2015


Cosmopolitan covers started out with women dressed conservatively. Then they started showing some skin. Then more skin. Finally, they started posing in sexy positions.
As women have earned more rights throughout the years, they’ve also earned the right to wear whatever they damn well please. Or maybe that just sells more magazines?


Vogue 1950–2015

Vogue has had some gorgeous covers throughout the years. Like every other magazine, they’ve added more text on their covers to lure the readers in. But they’ve done a good job of keeping the design classy and uncluttered.


National Geographic 1896–2015

National Geographic’s covers were so text-heavy for most of its existence. This is a magazine that is perhaps best known for its beautiful full-bleed photography — yet they didn’t adopt this style until the 1960's. In contrast, magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan were were way ahead of the curve, featuring full-page illustrations as early as the 1900s.


The New Yorker 1925–2015

Pick out any cover at random, and it isn’t immediately obvious what time period it belongs to. With everything else that’s changed around us, The New Yorker has been remarkably consistent.



Article by Karen X. Cheng


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