The Big Reveal: Introducing The Abstract Conference's Student Cover Competition Winner

As part of the Abstract Conference, held a few weeks back in Portland, ME, design students from around the country were invited to submit cover ideas for any of the magazines under the creative direction of the panel of speakers (including heavy hitters like Wired, Fast Company, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, and many more). Entrants were then judged by that esteemed panel, which included Scott Dadich, Arem Duplessis, Gael Towey, Dirk Barnett, Florian Bachleda, and Luke Hayman.

Students from Boston University, Maine College of Art, FIT, the School of Visual Arts, and Ontario College of Art and Design entered but there could be only one winner! And that honor when to Derek Eng, a recent graduate of the Ontario College of Arts and Design. His winning entry for The New York Times Magazine is presented here, as big as we possibly can run it.

Subway issue

When asked why Derek’s submission was such a hit, Arem Duplessis, design director of The New York Times magazines, said:

Derek has that special touch that one can only wish for in a young designer. He gets it, and the cover that he designed for the competition stood out for many reasons. It was well crafted, had a strong idea behind it and the final execution was impeccable. Derek’s cover really glimmered among the other submissions and we knew almost immediately that we had a winner.

High praise indeed for a designer just out of school. For his standout work Eng won free registration to the conference in Portland, ME, attendance to the conference pre-party to meet all the speakers, public recognition (and applause!) at the conference, and of course—his winning cover published here on Imprint. What did he have to say about the experience?

Winning the Abstract competition was extra special because of who the judges were: Florian, Gael, Dirk, Arem, Luke and Scott. Having your work chosen and recognized by six of the greatest magazine art directors of all-time – not to mention meeting each of them at the conference – was an experience I will never forget and an opportunity most students can only dream of.”

– Derek Eng

Derek EngDerek Eng is a recent graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto where he received a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. He has won awards from the SPD (Society of Publication Designers) Student Competitions and the Applied Arts Student Design Competition. An aspiring magazine designer, he has completed internships at More and W and will be interning with Gael Towey and her team at Martha Stewart Living—the magazine that got him interested in editorial design more than ten years ago—this summer in New York City.

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