Welcome to our first edition of the Newsweek also-rans, a brand new nwk tumblr feature from our friends in the art department!
Here’s Dirk Barnett, Newsweek & The Daily Beast’s Creative Director:
Every week we produce anywhere from 10-20 different cover ideas until we settle on what works best or as the story develops, so at the end of each week we wind up with a proverbial wastebasket full of scrapped concepts.
The week’s cover, “The Politics of Sex,” is a perfect example to kick this off. These directions are a combination of ideas generated in-house and commissions to various illustrators, designers, studios, ad agencies, etc. This week, we tapped the creative minds at ad agency Hill Holiday and the design studio Dress Code, as well as renowned book designer Rodrigo Corral. Take a look at what’s left on our cutting room floor this week. Enjoy!
Here’s the cover that made newsstands this week. Which of the also-rans is your favorite?
[Design credits, from top left: Dress Code, Dress Code, Hill Holiday, Hill Holiday, Hill Holiday, Rodrigo Corral, Rodrigo Corral]
Are these covers better than the one that actually ran? Admit the one with the condom flag (bottom right) is kind of amazing.
1) The Equivocators: These headlines present a hypothesis, but then get squirrely about going out on a limb and cover their bases. The two most common manifestations are “Something can be good, but also bad” and “Something is new, but also old.” Whatever form they take, these titles always remind me of the “Simpsons” Halloween episode in which an evil alien presidential candidate proclaims “Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others.”
- “Wise for Some Restaurants, Coupons Are a Drain at Others”
- “Diving Into the Past, but Definitely Still in the Present”
- “Job Hunting Is, and Isn’t, What It Used to Be”
2) The Maureen Dowd: These are easy to write. Simply mush together a bunch of slangy, pop-culture references into a semi-sensical pseudo-sentence that vaguely reminds you of a commercial jingle or movie title from the latter half of the 20th century.
- “Have You Driven a Smartphone Lately?”
- “Lord of the Internet Rings”
- “Governor Brown Redux: The Iceman Melteth”
- “Driving Miss Saudi”
3) The Kind that Smugly Give You No Information Whatsoever: These are the oddest of the bunch: The ones that make searching for and finding the story virtually impossible. I know the Times would never deign to have an SEO strategy, but some people read things on the Internet—say via Twitter or RSS—neither of which offer enough context to explain these cryptic titles (which often seem like they were written by a drunk Garison Keillor). Proper nouns, while not allowed in Scrabble, are admissible in headlines.
- “In a Life Filled With Firsts, One More”
- “At Their Feet, Crafted by Hand”
- “First an Outcast, Then an Inspiration”
4) The “Here’s a Question We’re Not Going to Answer”: These usually show up in the health section—an area where people go to look for answers but find few. While less sinister than the question marks used in chyrons to imply slanderous falsehoods, these are simply a tool to let the author write about a subject with no real answer. They are annoying, especially because you want the first word of the article to be “yes” or “no” but it’s always “maybe” or “I don’t know.”
- “Does Loneliness Reduce the Benefits of Exercise?”
- “Did Bankers Pay Add to this Mess?”
- “What’s the Single Best Exercise?”