When someone asks if we can put multiple photos on the cover of our Sunday Arts & Style, I resist strongly. I tell them that we want to treat the cover as a poster, and on a poster, a single image is strongest. Not counting the little teases along the bottom, we have 99 percent of the time adhered to that ideal.
And only once have those teases yielded completely to a cover image: when Peter Max designed our cover, under my art direction. We even minimized the necessary type, like the name of the section, the date, and where to find the TV schedule. (Yes, that last one is very necessary, our readers have made clear!)
How do we produce five variations of Sundays a week? First, we make it easy on ourselves by sticking to a formula. We can’t re-invent the wheel each week for the Greenwich, Stamford, Danbury, Norwalk and Bridgeport newspapers. We stick to a template, and give ourselves permission to bash the template when we feel like it.
Here is a wall of Sundays:
The three center Sundays stick to the template, with the Ann Leary cover breaking out of the headline style mode just a bit.
Notice on the left, I made “Arts & Style” bigger. It just suited the artwork I was given. I also filled in the “holes” in the A, R and ampersand. Why? Because I felt like it. Filling in the D felt like overkill, although it would have won points for consistency. I try not to stay up nights wondering if the D should have been filled in.
On the right, the Charlie Rose photo was a publicity handout. If we had shot it, we would have framed the photo to make room for the logo. Instead, I did a subtle change to the logo to accommodate Mr. Rose’s head. I’m not saying Charlie Rose’s head is too big, but the cover wasn’t big enough for both his head and our logo. So another executive decision was made.
So back to our Russian friend. Now, there’s a big head. It’s taken from a poster advertising an opera. I appropriated the poster art and replaced the text with our own.
I loved the image, and it didn’t take two seconds to realize that I had to do just what I did. I was hoping it would all come together, and not get vetoed by the powers that be, and thankfully it made it to print. It’s probably my favorite cover as we approach our fiftieth week in producing “S” Sunday feature section.