In a new blog series titled How Did They Create That Cover? the NMAF chats with the creative directors of the Magazine Covers finalists about how their covers were made. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at things we may or may not think about when we pick up a magazine and devour its pages.
Today we chat with Catherine Mullaly, art director at BC Business and co-creator of this nominated cover:
NMAF: Can you describe what the setting was like at the photo shoot for this cover?
Catherine: I was not at the photo shoot for this cover, but Ben Oliver, our associate art director, was there. This was a joint collaboration and we entered the National Magazine Awards as co-contributors. We did not have time to scout our location so Ben (along with photographer Paul Joseph) went with the plan of shooting for the story and keeping his eye out for a good cover opportunity. The setting is real – it’s the meat cooler in the butcher shop where our subject (owner and butcher Jason Pleym) butchers his locally grown beef.
NMAF: What was the editorial decision behind the font placement, particularly how the words “Getting Killed” are in bold?
Catherine: When we saw the image we knew immediately it would make a stunning cover. The raw meat is jarring and I love the intense eye contact of the butcher. The focus of the image was the butcher and the cutting board – it made sense to place the main cover line right below. We had to darken the image a bit below so the cover lines really popped. Bold image – bold cover line. Our editor at the time, Tom Gierasimczuck, came up with our compelling headline and together it made for a cover hard not to pick up.
NMAF: Can you explain the process of setting up the meat?
Catherine: Rather than set up and planned, it is a true environmental photograph. The story was about small independent food distributors and this fellow, a local beef producer and butcher, was busy at work when they arrived. The table was laid out with these beautiful (if you’re not a vegetarian) fresh cuts of meat and as soon as Ben walked in he saw an opportunity for a shoot that would be a stunning cover. They did a quick light setup while the butcher was at work.
NMAF: There are many different kinds of local food producers. Why did the magazine choose someone in the meat industry?
Catherine: This local meat producer (and butcher) was the lead of our cover story – it made sense to choose him for the cover. Most often we spend so much time planning and executing our covers and so many times there are a lot of challenges along the way. When we saw the results from this shoot we put any cover plans on hold and ran with this beautiful ‘real’ and for the most part unplanned cover image.
NMAF: The colours on the cover are interesting, particularly how the man’s outfit contrasts the red meat. Was this intentional?
Catherine: I love the simplicity of the colours in this cover, the rest of the photo is pretty neutral. The meat is red, his apron was blue – perfect. Together the two primary colours look great together. Whenever I have an opportunity to have primary colours on the cover I do. I actually added a little pop of yellow in the ‘button’ so we have all three primary colours.
This interview was edited for content. Special thanks to Nadya Domingo for conducting the interview.
The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed on June 6 at the National Magazine Awards gala. [TICKETS]