In a year of unpredictability, magazine covers were dominated by radical change, calls for change and the changemakers themselves. We look back at the top ten of the best covers of 2020. Scroll through all of the covers here:
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑵𝒆𝒘 𝒀𝒐𝒓𝒌 𝑻𝒊𝒎𝒆𝒔 𝑴𝒂𝒈𝒂𝒛𝒊𝒏𝒆: 𝑬𝒑𝒊𝒄𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒓
By April, Covid-19 had become part of the everyday vernacular as death tolls skyrocketed around the world. However, many people had not seen what it looked like on the frontlines in hospitals. Photographer Philip Montgomery gave an intimate insight by capturing these scenes for a New York Times Magazine assignment and documenting the chaos and trauma faced by doctors and health workers on a daily basis.
As the coronavirus pandemic broke out around the world, the many behavioural changes offered no shortage of inspiration for art directors. A March special edition of the Guardian Weekly came as the UK entered national lockdown for the first time, with a sparse cover visualising the physical distancing guidelines that had come into play for many societies the world over.
𝑵𝒆𝒘 𝒀𝒐𝒓𝒌𝒆𝒓: 𝑺𝒂𝒚 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒊𝒓 𝑵𝒂𝒎𝒆𝒔
The New Yorker‘s June 22 cover, with its powerful “Say Their Names” painting by Kadir Nelson, stands out for me as the most memorable cover of the first six months. Inspired by the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, and published just before the Juneteenth celebration, this cover combines art, history, political activism and much more, as Nelson uses the killings of George Floyd, Breona Taylor and other black men and women to connect the historical dots to lynchings, the murder of Emmett Till, slavery, the police beating of Rodney King, as well as to the Black Power and civil rights movements.
𝑽𝒐𝒈𝒖𝒆 𝑰𝒕𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒂: 𝑱𝒂𝒏𝒖𝒂𝒓𝒚 2020 𝒊𝒔𝒔𝒖𝒆
In a bid to examine ways of producing a magazine with sustainability in mind, Vogue Italia kicked off the year with an illustrated magazine that abandoned photoshoot production for the entire issue. Seven artists were commissioned to create each cover, which not only bucked the visual status quo but also came as a beautiful tribute to the early tradition of fashion illustration.
There’s no avoiding the main story of 2020, and magazines have made a great job of reflecting it. The pandemic had taken over our print and digital channels as well as our lives, and there are a host of great cover treatments about the disease and its effect on the lives of patients, medics and society in general. Just as the weeks have sped by, so have cover trends; from spiky sphere graphics to reportage of the COVID wards to key workers portrayed as heroes.
Design Director: Jan-Nico Meyer
Editor-in-Chief: Edward Enninful
𝑽𝒂𝒏𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝑭𝒂𝒊𝒓 𝑰𝒕𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒂: 𝑳’𝑰𝒕𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒂 𝑺𝒊𝒂𝒎𝒐 𝑵𝒐𝒊
Italy grabbed headlines in April as it became one of the earliest western European countries to come up against the coronavirus crisis. The Italian edition of Vanity Fair acknowledged this by commissioning a cover by artist Francesco Vezzoli, who depicted the nation’s tricolour flag with a tear at the centre.