UNDER THE COVERS
THE TECH COVER GAME
A BRUTALLY HONEST, BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT HOW THIS ISSUE’S COVER CAME TO BE.
BY TED LOPEZ AND CARLA KALOGERIDIS
DAY ONE: TECHNO GAMING
Editor: “The cover package is a primer on
publishing technologies. It’s all about
Art director: “You could turn the edit into
an ‘Are You Tech-Savvy?’ game show. The
reader could choose where they would begin
reading based on their tech-comfort level.
Then they could drill-down to more sophisticated publishing trends.”
Editor: “That’s a great idea. Think you
can pull it off?”
Art director: “Now would I have suggested it if I didn’t think I could pull it off?”
Having said that with such supreme confidence, the art director swallows his doubts.
The game board idea was
good starting concept,
until stock image search
yielded predictable, stale
The editor felt this was an
image of her mental state
sometimes. Although a
strong image, it shows lack
The Convicted—they are
sentenced to a life in
DAY TWO: THE BUY IN
Editor: “I’ll send an email with the story
theme and see what you can do with it.”
The cover theme is a primer on publishing technology that publishers can use to
get their chief execs up to speed. Also it
will raise their level of understanding so the
association publisher can have a productive
discussion about what needs to be done in
their organization with these technologies.
The art director goes to work. Hmmm...
headlines. Maybe: “How to wrestle your
ornery, back-water boss into technology submission!” Sub: “...and live to tell the tale.”
Editor: “I’m concerned about that being
too cliche, but I’ll keep an open mind.”
DAY THREE: SPRING BREAK
Art Director emails the Editor: “Surprise!
I’m out on spring break in NYC tomorrow
and Friday and out a couple days the next
week. Art Director Two (AD2) will take
over while I’m gone.”
DAY FOUR: LET THE GAMES BEGIN
AD2 sends comps based on the game idea.
Editor and AD2 explored the idea of coverlines written in a “game theme” as well, e.g.
“You need help with SEO, move ahead 18
spaces” and the article begins on page 18.
Editor to AD2: “I think the third one has
good possibilities. Not sure about the placards around their necks. At first I didn’t
think they bothered me, but now I have
AD2 agrees that the placards have got to
go. They start brainstorming for other
alternatives (coverlines on various cards
from a game card deck, perhaps?) and run
out of time on a Friday afternoon.
DAY FIVE: ESCAPE CLAUSE
AD2: “Since AD is back, he’ll be taking
over at this point. It’s been a pleasure, and I
look forward to the next time.”(Translation:
“Get me outta here!”)
Editor (oblivious): “No problem, I’ll wait
for Ted to contact me before we send anything to SNAP’s executive director for
DAY SIX: I’M BAAAAAACK!
Art director: “Hey, I saw the comps you
guys came up with when I was gone. I don’t
think these are working. Nothing is up to
the standard set by our previous covers.”
Editor: “They weren’t that bad!”
Art director: “I ran them by a SNAP
board member who happened to be in my
office today. He agrees with me.”
Editor (shocked): “They weren’t done!”
Art director: “The game board covers
have been done in the past and aren’t very
high-tech. We shouldn’t push a concept
unless we can give it a fresh treatment. I’m
thinking a new direction all together.”
Art director: “Well, the SNAP board
member said new publishing technologies
can be frightening to some people. Let’s
play off the technology fear factor.”
Editor: “OK, let me play with that a bit.”
It isn’t long before the Editor sends over
two different sets of coverlines: One suggesting that this issue was going to help
publishers calm down and get a handle on
publishing technologies (“Breathe In,
Breathe Out”) and a coverline she really
liked but didn’t know exactly how to illustrate: “Taming of the New.”
DAY SEVEN: WE’RE OUTTA HERE
Art director sends over several ideas based
on the new coverlines (covers 6, 7 and 9
above). They send cover 6 and cover 9 to
the SNAP executive director, who thinks
number 6 looks like an old Microsoft ad.
However, she loves the cover 9 idea—but
not the image—seems too cartoon-like.