American Society of Magazine Editors

Best Cover Contest 2007 Winners & Finalists

Cover of the Year|Best News Cover|Best Celebrity Cover|Best Concept Cover
Best Fashion Cover|Best Service Cover

Cover of the Year

The New Yorker, September 11, 2006

For the five-year 9/11 anniversary cover, John Mavroudi's concept was to stay away from the surfeit of images that recall the horror and remember the wonder of Philippe Petit's 1974 tight-rope walk between the towers.  The result in Owen Smith's painting is magical: the walker, in the absence of towers and rope, remains suspended in the white space of a blank page. The two-part cover (a first for The New Yorker) is a memorial to the spirit of humanity and those who died there, and especially to the man who did a perfect dive as he plunged to his death.



Esquire, December 2006

For its Best & Brightest or Genius Issue, Esquire asked illustrator Marion Deuchars to draw the coverline, which is one complete sentence.  With George Clooney holding a pencil, the implication is that Clooney hand wrote those coverlines.  The cover garnered attention not only on the newsstand but from designers and artists everywhere.  It also is a twist on what has become known as the signature Esquire cover of crowding the cover with lines while keeping the message clear.



Vanity Fair, July 2007

Editor Graydon Carter and Guest Editor Bono published Vanity Fair's special Africa Issue with an unprecedented 20 covers featuring Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Warren Buffet, George W. Bush, Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Bill and Melinda Gates, Djimon Hounsou, Iman, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Queen Rania of Jordan, Condoleezza Rice, Chris Rock, Desmond Tutu, Oprah Winfrey, and Bono, all shot by Annie Leibovitz. 

Muhammad Ali and Barack Obama were both chosen to appear on the cover for their commitment to African affairs. 

"Each visit [to Africa] has proven to be a rare opportunity to discover just how magnificent and culturally rich the African people are," said Ali, who has been a messenger for peace for the U.S. government and the United Nations. It is true, Africa has endured famine, drought, and the AIDS epidemic, but what is more important is that the people have enduredwith dignity and hope.  It is their home and mine that this rich and magnificent land will one day be restored to the majesty of its ancestors.

Obama, who believes in Africa's promise, observed, "I can still remember my first trip to Africa, two decades ago, when my sisters Volkswagen Beetle broke down.  While that first trip was about discovering my past, my recent trip was about Africas future.  And it filled me with hope."

Best News Cover

The New Yorker, April 9, 2007

In the wake of President Bush's announcement of a troop surge and with the frustrations of Tax Day close at hand, Christoph Niemann's New Yorker cover was particularly timely.  His depiction of 1040 tax forms converted into military equipment pinpointed the American publics' growing resentment toward the Iraq War.





D Magazine, September 2006

The September 2006 cover was actually a surprise.  Originally, D's cover story was supposed to be its annual Dallas Shops issue, covering the newest stores and most fashionable boutiques in the city.  However, when the editors saw the amazing image from staff photographer Elizabeth Lavin, they knew that they had to change covers.  The accompanying story was on the drought that plagued North Texas throughout 2006, and the photo captured the dire situation.  (Lake Lavon is not only a big water source for the area but also a popular recreational lake.  The stark photography was unsettling and jarring on one level and strangely beautiful on anotherexactly what was needed to get Dallas attention.)  Switching covers at the last minute was controversial, especially for a city magazine that thrives on reader service pieces.  Those covers sell the best.  Journalism normally tanks on the newsstand.  And D's circulation and advertising sales departments were not happy with the decision.  That is, until the final numbers came in and the Parched cover wound up being one of the best sellers of 2006.  It was a risky and bold decision that paid off on many levels.

New York, June 25, 2007

On the eve of the launch of the iPhone, New York's  cover looks at the man responsible, asking whether the mighty Steve Jobs is due for a fall.  Taking visual cues from the famous and inescapable iPod advertising campaign, the cover uses color to cast a harsh light on Jobs (a man known for his somber black mock turtlenecks), while acknowledging his icon status.  The pop-art graphics of the cover capture the (ostensibly) revolutionary 1960's spirit of Jobs and Apple, while holding it up to scrutiny.


Best Celebrity Cover

Wired, August 2006

Stephen Colbert, who plays a TV show host who knows about everything, was the perfect fact to grace the cover of Wired's annual How To issue. During the shoot, to illustrate the notion of hacking—tinkering with and improving—everyday life, creative director Scott Dadich suggested Colbert saw an iPod in two with a hack saw. Dadich then promptly supplied his own iPod for the task. (The device still works by the way.). The magazine cover—a first for Colbert—was shot by celebrity photographer Jill Greenberg. The August 2006 issue was Wired's best-selling issue ever.


Condé Nast Traveler, September 2006

Naomi Watts, in a diaphanous Roberto Cavalli gown, stands 665 feet above Lexington Avenue on one of the Chrysler Buildings five-foot-wide gargoyles.  The primary cover line promotes the 32-page Insider's Guide to New York City, and readers open the cover gatefold to see the rest of the Midtown panorama, captured in a shoot that presented unprecedented challenges to the magazine's photography and fashion staffs.  Taking pictures atop the Manhattan icon had been verboten for a decade; only after the Photo Editors dogged lobbying was the magazine able to secure permission.  On the morning of the big event, four magazine staffers, photographer Jonas Karlsson and his two assistants, riggers who have worked for Cirque du Soleil, and cover girl Naomi Watts and her entourage ascended to the skyscraper's sixty-first floor. Then, during a 25-minute session, Watts—tethered to the Chrysler Building by only a thin cable—braved a stiff breeze as Karlsson snapped away.

LIFE, January 12, 2007

This was a miracle cover—the product of a once-in-a-million confluence of events (right photographer, right subjects, right day, right magazine) that led to one of the most widely circulated covers in LIFE history.  Putting Grey's Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey on the cover on the eve of the birth of his twins—a monster news event for all McDreamy fans—was something LIFE had been planning for months.  Even the notion that the magazine would wink to its sister publication People's  famous Sexiest Man Alive covers, for which Dempsey is a perennial candidate, had been discussed beforehand.  But some things you just cant plan: Dempsey's wife took an immediate liking to photographer Matt Jones—and Jones did what any good photographer would: he kept asking for more.  The result was an intimate, sexy, sensual, unexpected, graphically gorgeous cover that portrayed the beginning of a family.

Best Concept Cover

TIME, October 16, 2006

The provocative and much-discussed cover image of an elephant's backside appeared the week after the scandal set off by Representative Mark Foley's inappropriate relationships with Congressional pages revealed an alleged multi-layered cover-up by the House Republicans.  Less than one month from the mid-term elections, the Grand Old Party found itself vulnerable to multiple accusations of scandals that only compounded its other problems. The back of an elephant, the symbol of the GOP, on a black background lit only by TIME's trademark red border and logo, highlighted the waning of the Republican Revolution, as well as the fact that voters were turning against the party as a result of its members perceived hubris.  One month later, Democrats took back the House and Senate.

GQ, May 2007

Stephen Colbert was wonderful but the baby had all sorts of diva-like demands—a full trailer with a plasma screen tuned to "Teletubbies," a Dior Homme diaper, and at least one of Pamela Anderson's breasts. It wasn't easy, but it's what we had to work with. Colbert was photographed by Mark Seliger.





The American Lawyer, December 2006

The original oil painting of the killing of the goose that laid the golden egg, by Krista Brauckmann-Towns, illustrates how tort reformers, business interests and plaintiffs lawyers themselves have helped kill the mass torts bonanza, and its not coming back.





Best Fashion Cover

Harper's Bazaar, February 2007

Drew Barrymore stands atop a skyscraper wearing a dramatic pale rose dress in a cover image that is, quite literally, the height of fashion. Posing on the roof of Rockefeller Center, Drew is the focal point against the silver Manhattan skylinea perfect mix of town and gown. Combining great fashion (Carolina Herrera) and photography (Peter Lindbergh), the cover fuels the fantasy that glamour is the ultimate escape.



Vanity Fair, September 2006

More than a decade after she first set foot on a runway, Kate Moss has become one of the most iconic faces of fashion on the planet.  For that reason, she graced the cover of Vanity Fair's first-ever Style Issue. Fashion and Style Director Michael Roberts said Moss had to be on the cover of the Style Issue because she is the most followed style icon of our time.  And when he looked at the tally of votes for the International Best-Dressed List, which also appeared in the issue, she got the most among womenand since this was her fourth time, she was elevated to the Hall of Fame.  Channeling Marlene Dietrich, Mosss cover shoot took place in London by esteemed photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot.

W, November 2006

This was the magazine's first annual Art Issue, and its brightly hued, delightfully ethereal cover brings fashion to life against an eye-popping backdrop.  A collaboration between world-class artist Richard Tuttle and photographer Mario Sorrenti, the postminimalist image depicts a model striking a graceful pose in a goddess-worthy Miu Miu dress layered unexpectedly over one of the label's sporty T-shirts.  There has been much lip service given to the art-fashion connection in recent years, but this cover represents a true convergence of the two visual realms.  Taken from a 30-page portfolio inside the magazine entitled Eden, the cover was inspired in part by the documentary Ballets Russes.

Best Service Cover

O at Home, Winter 2006

A captivating image of a beautiful interior is the standard for shelter-book covers, so O at Home took a risk when it featured a disaster of a den on the front of its Winter 2006 issue.  But it was a risk that paid off in several ways: The inventive barn-door construction drew people to the newsstand; the before-and-after shots (first of a ramshackle room and then of its amazing transformation) immediately told readers of advice they could find inside; and, as a result, the issue was O at Home's best-selling of the year by far.


Babytalk, August 2006

The public was given its first look at the August issue of Babytalk when Susan Kane appeared on Good Morning America on July 18, 2006. GMA was exploring public reactions to breastfeeding, and in an interview with anchor Kate Snow, Susan discussed the cover as well as the findings from the issues special report, Why Women Don't Nurse Longer. The response was overwhelming. After the segment aired, viewers flooded the GMA message boards, prompting the GMA hosts to continue the conversation on the next day's show. The following week, the Associated Press ran an article on the controversy surrounding the cover, sparking a national conversation about public attitudes towards breastfeeding. Hundreds of media outlets and websites around the countryand around the worldpicked up the story, with many opening up their message boards and asking readers to share their opinion on the cover image and the nursing-in-public debate. Even The Colbert Report on Comedy Central weighed in when Stephen Colbert wagged a finger at the cover.
Many online forums encouraged their members to applaud the Babytalk editors for their decision to put the image on its cover. One such post: "So many people in our society have lost sight of the reason women have breasts. It is extremely rare to see a breast in the media that isnt being used to sell beer, cars, or male enhancement. Thank you for that reminder that breastfeeding is normal and not to be hidden in shame."  To date, the magazine has received more than 8,000 letters.

Skiing, January 2007

Powder skiing ranks #1 among Skiing's readers for service.  This was the magazine's new way of packaging it.