Spring 2018

The cover

Great magazine covers are built on a sense of fearlessness, says Ian Birch

Part one of the eight-part feature ‘Anatomy of a magazine’.

The old industry adage is correct: there is no such thing as a good magazine with a bad cover. A good cover should distil the title’s voice, look and purpose. It should entice, inform, surprise and entertain. It should flatter, making the reader feel part of a clever community.


Top: Illustration by Jason Ford.

Ian Birch is the former Director of Editorial Development at Hearst in London and New York. His book UNCOVERED: Revolutionary Magazine Covers, The Inside Stories Told By The People Who Made Them will be published on 4 October 2018 (Octopus, £30)

Read the full version in Eye no. 96 vol. 24, 2018


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues. You can see what Eye 96 looks like at Eye Before You Buy on Vimeo.

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