Well, they really nailed the title -- cause magazine covers are exactly what you get with this coffee-table book. Namely, scads of nice reproductions (around 300 or so) of magazine covers from the last hundred years. These are arranged into five sections, four of which are thematic (magazines which cover design, news, popular culture, and lifestyle), and one on illustrated covers. Given the mostly thematic arrangement, it seems strange to segregate the illustrated covers into their own chapter, especially as all the other chapters include illustrated examples as well.... In any event, each spread has about 3-5 images along with a brief blurb which doesn't generally say anything particularly illuminating. About halfway through the book I started concentrating on the images and skipping the text. Most of the images are from the U.S. and U.K. from the 1950s onward, although there are a smattering of examples from Germany, Poland, the USSR, and a few other places. Similarly, most of the examples are of mainstream consumer magazines, with a few nods here and there to the counterculture (a spread on punk 'zines, feminist mag "Spare Rib", "Adbusters" et al). Overall, it's good overview of the evolution of mainstream magazine cover design.
on April 12, 2005
I thought this was a fascinating overview of essentially American and English covers, from past decades and especially from the Fifties onwards. Divided into five chapters and covering a whole range of consumer titles with over three hundred covers shown. Each one has a caption and frequently there are several covers from one title, National Geographic or Ray Gun for instance. The author supplies a short overview of the various genres but it is the actual images that held my interest, frequently whole page or two, three or four to a page but all large enough to appreciate what the various art editors were trying to achieve.
Nearly all the magazines shown are examples of editorial design rather than just cover elements thrown together, like the 1962 'Confidential' (though even this is credited to Len Kabatsky) or the English title 'Hello' from 2000. There are three covers from my favorite, the German magazine 'Twen' (1963 to 1967) but I was disappointed not to see some examples of Henry Wolf's 'Show' and nothing from Herb Lubalin.
If you work on a magazine or collect them I think this book is worth getting and if you want to know more have a look at my Listmania: 'A few books about magazines: covers and contents'.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.