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NYT Magazine, New York issue
Cover story

NYT Magazine, New York issue

We take a quick look behind the scenes of the making of the annual ‘New York Issue’ cover of The New York Times Magazine, published this weekend.

The design, a typical piece of thematic appropriation, was revealed on Instagram earlier this week.



‘We wanted to convey the range of reasons people move here,’ explained the IG caption, ‘We decided to borrow the visual language of moving boxes…’ Instead of using Photoshop to bring the parts together, they shot it IRL. Sheets of cardboard were screenprinted with the magazine’s logo and the headline formatted as a checklist mimicing those used on moving boxes.



Other elements were added by hand—the issue title in red marker, the issue date,  and roughly placed packing tape—and the cardboard folded and distressed until the team had the shot just right.




They produced 40 versions; here you can see some of the variations they worked through (above), and the final version (below). The basic layout was set from the start by the screenprinted elements, but otherwise the team, led by Creative director Gail Bichler and Designer Victoria Escobar, who conceived the cover and oversaw the shoot, worked alongside Photographer Hannah Whitaker and Prop stylist Megumi Emoko (shown, in the black shirt, with assistant Emma Skakel). As the GIF shows, they experimented with positions and effects—some of the images are too distressed.



Perhaps the biggest compliment comes in the Replies section of the magazine’s Instagram feed. Among a few 👏🏼 🙌 ♥️ for the design, most comments address the theme of the issue—why did I move to NY? Can I ever afford to move to the city?

While we’re busy highlighting the creative chops of the design, most people have quickly grasped the angle of the story and are addressing that. A delightful, creative cover design has communicated the story without fuss.

Sometimes an idea that appears beautifully simple hides a whole stream of hard work; yet as these behind the scenes images show, with the right preparation a sharp, simple idea can be as easy to produce as the finished piece implies.

And while we talking about the New York Times Magazine, congratulations to Gail Bichler and her team for winning Design Team of the Year at the ADC Awards.


Creative director Gail Bichler
Art director Ben Grandgenett
Deputy art director Annie Jen
Designers Gail Bichler and Victoria Escobar
Director of photography Kathy Ryan
Deputy director of photography Jessica Dimson
Photographer Hannah Whitaker
Prop stylist Megumi Emoto


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