The magazine cover functions as the portal to the content. It needs be compelling and raise enough questions to spur the viewer to pick up and open the magazine. This is a collection of covers from A Common Place, a magazine I design/art directed for Mennonite Central Commitee.
A Common Place usually has a person on the cover. It is rare for me to go with a smiling face. Story told, happy ending. No need to open the magazine. But when the cover story is about the affect of AIDs, particularly on the wives of migrant workers and shows how access to medical help and moral support can transform lives, a smiling face seemed the best introduction.
A contemplative portrait felt like it brought home the work of an Israeli organization Zochrot, keeping alive the Palestinian past of Israel and bringing it into the public discourse of Israeli Jews.
Telling the story of a project helping former sex workers In Bangladesh develop job skills and meaningful employment presented numerous challenges, not the least was never showing the participants face in any of the photographs.
A close up portrait of a teenager in Northern Uganda seemed a way to communicate the personal cost to children, who had been violently co-opted into the Lord’s Assistance Army, even when they are returned to their home communities.
A street scene set the tone for a cover story relating how, after twenty years of war, with violence receding, people have begun to return to southern Sudan.
This was not a photo I chose. The photographer pushed it under my nose, and it turned out to be one of the most enduring and enjoyable covers I have designed. I still don’t know what pleases me. I may have something to do with juxtaposition of the title The Power of the Animal with two kids, or because so much of the centre of the frame is empty and
story lines the sides.
A cover story about education in Mubimbi and Shasha, two camps for displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was best served by the commanding photo.
Luke Hayman of Pentagram graciously agreed to redesign the magazine and this first cover.
A photograph with so much appeal it was impossible not to put it on the cover.
While there were many more descriptive photographs this one seemed to get to the heart of a what free access to clean water means.