Vogue: The Covers

Posted inBranding & Identity Design
Thumbnail for Vogue: The Covers

Cover by Tim Hout – image courtesy Vogue

Strike a pose – specifically, a comfy reading position.

As we ring in the New Year, iconic magazine Vogue invites us to look back on 120-years of style with their luxe coffee table archive, “Vogue: The Covers.” And just as crazy-excited “Sex and the City” Carrie Bradshaw was to tour the legendary Vogue accessories shoe closet – for a design-lover, ogling over more then 300 relic Vogue covers (from as far back as 1892!) is equally squeal-worthy.

Cover from April 1910 – image courtesy Vogue

From Art Nouveau to Art Deco, Victorian Ladies to Jazz Age Flappers to Twiggy models, 80s glam to Anna Wintour’s current celeb-infused covers, the book is like a fashion, design, and history lesson all rolled into one.

Cover from March 1911 – image courtesy Vogue

Cover from August 1930 by Andre E. Marty – image courtesy Vogue

Organized by decade beginning with the 1890s, each section kicks-off with the biggest sound-bite headlines of the period like, “Gibson Girls rule…Orville and Wilbur Wright leave the ground,” providing cultural context to the covers. As author Dodie Kazanjian explains in her intro, the sign of the times was clearly represented in the images – like World War II inspiring the brief masthead change from fancy hand-lettering to the no-nonsense Franklin Gothic typeface.

But the coolest part is seeing the entire eye candy evolution unfold from vintage fashion illustrations and typography to cutting-edge (for the times) design and photography techniques. The book features amazing works by Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber, Herb Ritts, Steven Meisel, Annie Leibovitz, and Mario Testino. Can you imagine what it must have been like to see these images on newsstands for the first time? Crazy.

Cover from December 1954 by Clifford Coffin – image courtesy Vogue

Cover from December 1958 by William Bell – image courtesy Vogue

Vogue recently updated their website so you can view a slideshow of twenty-five select covers, but as we all know, nothing beats the printed page – “Vogue: The Covers” is available here.

Resources Recommended by Imprint

  1. Available now: Print Magazine’s Guest Art Director Digital Collection

  2. Milton Glaser and Mirko Ilic give a live DesignCast on The Design of Dissent. Register now!

  3. Get an inside look at logo design from Chermayeff & Geismar

  4. Design TV: Improve your design skills with help from experts in the design industry.