One unusual, surprising and fun element of the Chicago Reader‘s redesign has been Editor Mara Shalhoup’s decision to treat the cover as “a gallery wall of sorts” from time to time. This week, a bright and playful illustration perfectly matches the mood of summer in Chicago – we’ve got some great weather and clear skies and lots going on, at the beaches and beyond. (The cover art is an oil painting by Eric Mecum.) Also check out the oddball David Bowie art, below.
Aside from being a colorful and alluring showcase for the paper’s glossy cover, it’s also a practical solution for art direction, when staffing is limited and the leading “news” story of the week may not lend itself to easy illustration. (Another expose on the city’s tax-system complexities? Good story, but Yikes! from an art direction standpoint.) Promos in the upper right entice the reader into the week’s content. A free product, this paper really doesn’t have to “sell” its content in the way that others might have to; an average 96% pickup rate ensures that it’ll pretty much be gone within a few days from most points of distribution. (Noted: Seattle’s Stranger has used this approach almost weekly, for years. Check out the cool gallery of their cover art.)
Also of interest on the Reader’s cover above: the first appearance of new parent Chicago Sun-Times’ logo, along with a new tagline, “Kicking Ass Since 1971,” under the Reader nameplate. Time – and Chicago journalism – marches forward …
Related or semi-related:Â
- Previous blog posts take you insideÂ the Chicago Reader’s redesign last year, and link to other notable design work.
- A Facebook album of Reader covers this year, including B SIDE, the paper’s flip-it-over music magazine that starts on the back cover.
- The Reader launched a spiffy website redesign earlier this year, led by Shalhoup and publisher Alison Draper. Explore it here.
- The Reader‘s not the only thing going colorful this summer: check out Color Â Jam, the city’s largest public art project, draping the Loop in colorful vinyl.
- Follow Ron Reason News Design on Twitter.
- Follow Ron Reason News Design on Facebook.
[Another example of recent “cover as gallery wall” from the Reader:
an embroidered X-ray by Matthew Cox.]