Balls: Devoid of all things soft and proper; Defiance-filled; immersed in the roaring flame of guts. Give-middle-finger-able attitude.
Humour: Wise-ass; ‘Disher’ of hard knocks enshrouded in grinning fists.
Sophistication: Savagery packed in the soft wool of class, fully understood only by the perspicacious; Unapologetic cosmopolitanism.
The New Yorker: The magazine that has consistently exhibited balls, sophistication and humour in its (cover) designs.
Talking about designs that hijack your attention without apologies, there’s something about them that makes your brain smile in appreciation. Most of The New Yorker’s cover designs do that to you.
The first thing that got me interested in the magazine is the expertly woven messages spun in the yarn of the illustrations of its cover pages. The devastating use of satire is top notch; it pulls no punches in slamming the intended message home.
With the covers of the latest issues, it appears the magazine has upped its ante in delving into the blatantly controversial. Whether it’s good or bad on the conceptual scales that relate to society is not my focus here; what I see is that these covers have got conversation blazing away.
As with some of its past covers like “View of the World”(Saul Steinberg), “The Politics of Fear”(Barry Blitt) and “Moment of Joy” (Jack Hunter), these recent covers are generating conversations and inhabiting headlines. And this is a feat that only the best (and well, worst too) designs accomplish.
All these boils down to simplicity; that cunningly created design that makes you deceive yourself into thinking “oh, it’s so simple anyone can do it!” But we know, simplicity can be a real tough nut to crack. If done right though, it’s the best starting point for attention grabbing design.
Simple (done right) is sophistication. It is humour with a wicked twist. It is balls. Go the simple way.