Making the cut

A behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating a cover for Kiwanis Magazine.

Have you ever wondered what goes into making the cover of Kiwanis magazine—or any magazine, for that matter? Using this issue’s cover as an example, we share a few of the opinions that led to this month’s selection.

Row of covers

Managing Editor Kasey Jackson returned from a jazz festival in Zofingen, Switzerland, with a number of cover contenders ( “All that Jazz,” ). As you’ll read, every magazine staff member had a favorite image.

The final design won for its striking composition, vivid color and clear depiction of a jazz festival. The colors chosen for the masthead, tag line and cover lines complement elements within the image and help the cover lines to stand out. Hopefully, the final result piques your interest, encouraging you to open the magazine and find the story inside.

September medium cover

The blues ribbon winner

“The final cover we went with wasn’t even one of the photos I included in my first edit, but I like how it turned out. It has a good energy. It’s also obvious right away that it’s a story about a jazz festival, so that’s a plus for sure.”—Kasey Jackson, managing editor

“The single image is powerful and clear. The subject obviously is very focused on his music. And a saxophone immediately says ‘jazz.’” —Julie Saetre, assistant editor

Sept cover ideas2

Motion capture

“From the curve of the paving stones, the lift of their heels, the swirl of her skirt and the breakout of two great smiles, there’s an inviting sense of movement in this image.” — Jack Brockley, publisher

“The depiction of dancers doesn’t clearly show that the story’s about a music festival—something the other photos express better.” — Andy Austin, art director

“I love the couple, but the background is busy and takes away from the main subjects.” — Julie Saetre, assistant editor

Sept cover ideas 6

Red dress expression

“I was trying so hard to capture a nice image of this singer, because she was quite expressive and the crowd loved her. Shooting live entertainment becomes really tough when there’s a fog machine! I was bummed that I didn’t get a cover shot out of this.” Kasey, Jackson, managing editor

“The woman in the red dress pops off the cover against the cool purples and blues, a potential eye-catching cover.” — Curtis Billue, assistant editor

“The haze in the air set an apt atmosphere for a jazz festival, but it also softened the sharpness we’d prefer in a cover.” Jack Brockley, publisher

Sept cover ideas

Covering the basses

“The happy expression on the musician’s face helps the reader experience the joy of the music festival, and the striking blue background provides strong contrast to the yellow tones of the man’s outfit. “ — Andy Austin, art director

“I love the facial expression and composition; however, his face is mostly in shadow, he’s turned away and he’s wearing mostly muted colors.” —Curtis Billue, assistant editor


One thought on “Making the cut

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  1. Andy Austin, I usually page quickly through the Kiwanis magazine, but this last “Play” issue was quite exceptional. The graphics had me reading ALL of the magazine. Tell your staff that they are the greatest! Thanks.

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