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Esquire Magazine Cover Design

Esquire Magazine has a tradition of featuring inventive cover design (where did George Lois find a soup can big enough to hold Warhol?) In 2011, invited by an editor at Esquire to submit a cover proposal or two, I jumped at the chance and came up with a few ideas.


I started with the question of how the cover, and the Esquire brand, might live beyond the confines of the physical magazine itself sitting on the newsstand or in a pile of other magazines on the coffee table (or bathroom shelf). One of the concepts I designed was to use the Esquire cover as a spray paint stencil.


The double-wide fold-out cover has a photo of a blank brick wall behind it, tagged only with story titles, suggesting the reader has to spray the stencil to complete the magazine. The interactive component to the cover allows the reader a degree of personalization to their magazine which I really enjoy. It could possibly inspire a tumblr of the different ways readers customized their covers. Also, once the reader gets over the simulated uncomfortable act of ‘defacing’ the magazine brick wall, it might be the babystep needed for them to take the truly uncomfortable step of detaching the cover ‘E” stencil and using it to spray an actual brick wall or two. The magazine cover, and the Esquire brand, would then be leaving it’s mark far beyond the stack of dog-eared mags you are behind in reading.


Another idea I had was that the Esquire cover could be a page of US stamps. Each stamp would be a miniature image of the full Esquire cover. This cover would achieve a couple things. First, it might be potentially sought after by stamp collectors (who otherwise might not be an Esquire reader) that seek out novel stamp design. Second, instead of preserving the cover as a collector’s item, readers could simply peel off and use the stamps to mail letters. Each stamp would then be a small advertisement for Esquire, reaching out beyond the magazine’s mailing list to reader’s own contacts. The fun twist here is that the stamp concept would flip convention and make the Esquire brand material the means of distribution instead of the contents.