#MagLoveTop10: Best international magazine covers of 2013

TOP 10 INTL design

(This column was originally posted on MarkLives.com, where MediaSlut has a regular slot)

Last week, we published our list of the 10 Best South African Covers of 2013, with the SA Rugby August 2013 cover — a collage of 40 000 pictures making up the face of the late Nelson Mandela — taking the no. 1 spot. This week, we’re looking at the 10 Best International Covers of 2013 that were featured in my weekly MagLove column this past year.

During the following weeks, you’ll also be able to see the following #MagLoveTop10s:

  • Friday, 20 December 2013: Worst covers of 2013 (local and international)
  • Friday, 10 January 2014: Most shocking covers of 2013
  • Friday, 17 January 2014: Best food covers of 2013
  • Friday, 24 January 2014: Sexiest covers of 2013

Want to view all the covers at a glance? See our MagLove Pinboard!

10. Idealog, Issue 46

Idealog Issue 46

This New Zealand title, Idealog, called this its “dirtiest cover yet” , and a worthy #MagLoveTop10contender, I say…!

To illustrate “how to grow a brand”, it took this literally, and here’s the behind-the-scenes video to show how it was done:


Idealog issue 46 sneak peek from Idealog on Vimeo



9. Time Out (London), 12 February 2013

Time Out (London), 12 February 2013

For Valentine’s week, Time Out London felt a bit naughty when it had a look at “Sex in London”. Simple colours, simple graphics, and you can view and perceive it as you wish…

8. Field, for a collection of covers

Field 5Field 4Field 3Field 2Field

Field launched earlier this year, and it’s a free publication filled with soccer-related news. What I really like is the creativity of the logo — the simple design  but yet so relevant to soccer.

As you can clearly see, it has a strong identity on each of its covers, and the issues are also clearly marked by the numbers. The coverlines plotted like a game plan is just genius.

7. TIME, 11 March 2013

TIME, 11 March 2013

“Man. Superman. Gunman.” Chilling words. Super cover.

Oscar Pistorius has definitely dominated the news since February 2013, and he’s still featured or talked about regularly in South African media, but this TIME cover has to be one of the strongest that captures the story perfectly.

In our 10 Best South African Covers of 2013, the Business Day Sports Monthly (August 2013) cover with Oscar reached the no.4 position.

6. The New Yorker, 8 July 2013

The New Yorker, 8 July 2013

Same-sex marriage was another topic that was not only debated and voted the past year but also protested (for and against).

To celebrate the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 13 states in USA (at that stage), The New Yorker celebrated this by showing a subtle, yet very effective, image of Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie. Nothing in your face. But everyone knows what it symbolises.

5. New York, 29 July 2013

New York, 29 July 2013

We’ve seen quite a few very creative sex covers in 2013 (see no. 9 above). A sex issue is always a best seller but how do you ‘illustrate’ that it’s a sex issue without offending too many people, or being banned/censored on-shelf? You do what New York magazine did with its 29 July 2013 issue and use beautiful artwork (Medusa II, 2012, by artist Leah Yerpe)!

It not only looks like an orgy, but it’s also really beautiful to look at. You can view this, and other artwords in this range by Leah Yerpe, right here.

4. Esquire (Malaysia), May 2013

Esquire (Malaysia), May 2013

Since the first time I saw this cover, I knew it would be one of my absolutely favourites of 2013, and that it should be shown to the world to spark creativity among others.

When it comes to creative art direction, use of drawing, and clever cover lines that fit into every element on the cover, Esquire Malaysia is the best and should start an academy teaching others…

Great planning and ‘execution’.

3. The Village Voice, 13 February 2013

The Village Voice, 13 February 2013

This cover really made me look, think and want to know more. And then look again. It’s the story of an actual Marine Sergeant (Roman Baca) whose life was changed when he went to Iraq and his story of how ballet brought him back.

The picture doesn’t say a thousand words — it screams it!

2. ShortList


This ShortList cover really struck a cord with me and with a lot of people when we featured it end of April.

For me, I’ve always associated the students who scratch on school desks with bullies and the kind of children whom my parents always warned me against… Just a personal observation.

But ShortList looked at men’s facination with guns (boys’ toys), and if there’s any link. You can read the complete article here.

One of those covers that leaves you cold, and is brilliantly done in every aspect. 

1. Boston, May 2013

Boston, May 2013

The Boston-Bombing was one of the main stories of 2013, maybe not in SA but definitely in the USA and in the sporting community. Boston magazine released this cover just a few days after the bombing, and it immediately became a world-wide hit, talking point and a symbol of hope (and love).

The background story to this cover is also what makes it so endearing, and just proves that the smallest idea sometimes has the biggest impact!

A very worthy first place on my #MagLoveTop10 list of Best International Covers of 2013.

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