Vote for Canada’s Best Magazine Cover: 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards

[THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED]

It’s the first thing you see on newsstands or in your mail box, and perhaps the last thing you see before you fall asleep with the magazine on your face. A great magazine cover sells itself, tells its own story, and makes you hungry to read what’s inside. It might be clever, witty, timely, delightful, or poignant–or all of these. Maybe it’s just beautiful. Or may it’s that je ne sais quoi.

This year’s National Magazine Awards jury evaluated a trove of incredible covers from magazines across Canada–from B.C. to Newfoundland, Yellowknife to Montreal, and everywhere in between.

On April 20 we announced the nominees for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards, including 10 finalists for Best Magazine Cover. The Gold and Silver Medals will be presented at the NMA Gala on May 26. [Tickets]. 

Now it’s time for you, as a connoisseur of magazine covers, to vote for your favourite. The voting ends on May 18 and we’ll announce the winner of the People’s Choice Vote on May 19 on Twitter @MagAwards.



 


UPDATE:

 

 

The juried National Magazine Award for Best Magazine Cover will be announced on May 26 at the 40th anniversary NMA Gala in Toronto.
Tickets are on sale now.

Check out all the nominees for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards.

Follow us on Twitter @MagAwards for all the nominations news and an awesome live feed on the night of the gala. #NMA40.

Off the Page, with art director Anna Minzhulina

Off the Page is a regular interview series featuring National Magazine Award winners. In this interview we chat with award-winning art director Anna Minzhulina, who spent 10 years at the creative helm of Maisonneuve. “Maisy” was named Magazine of the Year at the 2016 National Magazine Awards, and over the years it has been among the most lauded and decorated magazines for design, illustration, and photography (as well as its writing and reporting).

 

NMAF: Let’s start with Maisonneuve. You spent over a decade as the art director of the award-winning Montreal quarterly.

Anna: Maison-who?! I have never heard of it?! Is it any good?!

(Sorryyyyyy, I just could not help myself!) Indeed, my tenure at the magazine was exceeded only by the logo itself–the infamous Maisy dude. I could easily be a special edition Maisy mascot!

I joined Maisonneuve in 2005, shortly after I graduated from the Design Art program at Concordia University. Then in the summer of 2006, I became the Art Director. At the time, the magazine was in its fourth year of publication.

Looking back, we were both wild spirited newbies! Maisonneuve was just getting noticed, but still in the early stages of fully developing its editorial and visual personalities. And, there I was…an idealistic designer taking my first steps into the professional art world I felt so passionate about…excitedly searching for the special place to house my creativity. There was maison and it was neuve.

We complemented each other very well. And in a retrospect, the collaboration blossomed into a fruitful and long-term relationship.

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NMAF: Maisonneuve is one of those magazines that is sometimes difficult to describe, yet always attracts alluring descriptions: quirky, bold, refreshing, imaginative, passionate, delightful, thoughtful, exciting…

Anna: For people who are familiar with Maisy (the affectionate in-house name), you may say…A versatile humanitarian with socially and culturally inclined tendencies and some very personal issues, who welcomes anyone into its Open House, obsessively collects Letters from Montreal…in addition, has strange Fictional fantasies, whole-heartedly laughs at the Comics…at times gender confused, but very intelligent and oh! such a visual feast for the eyes to devour ;)!

Undoubtedly, Canadian readers have a variety of great magazines to choose from. Just as easily, dozens could fit the description you gave. But even so, I feel the major difference between other publications and Maisonneuve is the consistency. It’s Maisonneuve’s extraordinary ability to remain uncompromisingly true to its philosophy of high-quality editorial and visual story telling, from one issue to the next and throughout the years.

 To sum up…Maisonneuve is a voice of organic harmony, which with equal strength speaks to and of both human experience and human expression.

 

NMAF: How would you describe the creative vision you set out to achieve at the magazine?

Anna: I feel successful visions are the ones that are flexible in nature. They adapt to the circumstances and times. With enthusiasm and passion, there is nothing impossible…as long as it’s based on the principles of honesty and integrity.

I always strove to design the best magazine I could possibly create in spite of the numerous limitations. In my mind, there were Plans A, B…Z and, if none of those worked—well…I would do it myself!

Over the course of a decade, those visions and approaches evolved beyond simply design aspect/aesthetics and into an understanding of such important values as creative collaboration and the conceptualization of emotionally deep visual narratives capable of touching and evoking lasting impressions and intelligent conversations.

Furthermore, I like to think of the magazine pages as the walls of an art gallery, where art is displayed for practical reasons, such as the pictorial entourage to an article. The words and pictures co-exist.

But at the same time, the images exist in a realm of their own and are appreciated as a separate entity with their own story. Usually, that story is connected to the written one, but it does not have to be in a literal way. I liked to commission illustration that, if there were just empty pages with no words, the images would still have the visual power to stand on their own.

If you think about it, that’s the natural state of the words before they arrive on the designed page. Why can’t the images create their own sustaining presence? That’s one reason why I think Maisonneuve has been so successful… it has had these multiple strong presences that can stand alone and also interact.

 

NMAF: Is there a magic formula for directing such a unique publication, or do you re-invent the wheel, so to speak, every time you start work on a new issue?

Anna: Hmm… yes and no?! Each issue is a new experience, for the team and for the readers. Be that as it may, you don’t reinvent the philosophy—it’s the anchor. You adapt and modify the approach to the underlying design to provide individual and suitable reflection of each story and its characters, which are unique in their own right.

 

NMAF: It’s fair to say that Maisonneuve has been one of the most celebrated magazines in Canada over the past decade, as judged by its peers in the industry and its readers. As its art director you have collected 6 National Magazine Awards for your work—3 for Best Magazine Cover and 3 more for Art Direction—among more than a dozen nominations. Maisy has also won Magazine of the Year twice in that span.

Anna: The number of people, who defriended me on the Facebook skyrocketed! 😛

Truthfully, I am humbled and very honoured for every nomination and award. Thank you!

 

NMAF: What has been the significance to you of the National Magazine Award recognition from your peers?

Anna: Aside from what it personally means to me as well as everyone else involved in Maisonneuve’s production, the recognition of effort, sacrifice, time, sleepless nights, grey hair, broken promises, cancelled dinner dates…it is the acknowledgement of women’s visibility within creative fields.

I believe in the vital role women play in diversifying the publishing world by exposing it to their sensibly strong perspective. So kudos to National Magazine Awards Foundation! I hope it will inspire young women illustrators, photographers, and art directors in Canada to persevere. So that in the future, there are more female voices such as Marta Iwanek, Gracia Lam, Selena Wong, Suharu Ogawa, Genevieve Simms, Heidi Berton, Ness Lee…and the list goes on and on.

 

NMAF: Let’s take a closer look at some of your most celebrated work, and perhaps you can tell us a quick story of how it came together:

In 2011, you won a Silver Medal in Art Direction for a Magazine Story for “Monuments: The City in Three Parts”—a progression of towering illustrations by Amy Casey accompanying a suite of poems by Roland Pemberton. What was your inspiration here—was it the poetry itself, or something more?

Anna: The challenge with poetry is: it’s an art form naturally open to interpretation. Overly strong visuals can clash with or even crash the delicate aesthetic of poetry itself. But no visuals at all, in a magazine like Maisonneuve, would be a cop out.

In the case of “Monuments” the inspiration came equally from both—the beautiful text and Amy’s wonderful work. I created a collage of collapsing imaginary houses so the text could interact with Amy’s images in a way that allowed both to stand on their own and coexist in peace on the same spread. That’s hard to do! So often with poetry there is a love-hate relationship with surrounding images, but this one worked.

Amy was reluctant at first, but when I showed her what I have done as a mock-up she was very excited and happy for her work be adapted in this creative way.

 

NMAF: In “Gays for God”—Silver Medallist in 2013 for Best Magazine Cover—you created (with photographer Kourosh Keshiri) an irresistible image of a contemplative Jesus draped in a rainbow flag, which accompanied the cover story by Clancy Martin about a new LGBTQ-friendly evangelical movement. This is an image of infinite subtleties—from the blue eye to glowing halo and the soft edges. The mood is very inviting to the story. What were the questions you asked yourself as you worked on this design?

Anna: Perhaps, at one time or another, we all contemplate being draped in the fabric of our own fears and doubts, while waiting for the divine to show the way…it’s the concept that talks to universal experience while personal as well. A close-up portrait was the best way to capture the dichotomy.

As for the questions…I am asking myself the same ones today, as I have done then. One of them is how can I, a gay woman myself, shine the light on the relationship LGBTQ community has with spirituality in a singular iconic image to the broader audience? To create a bold and intelligent visual statement to inspire pride in one side and to engage into conversation the other one.

 

NMAF: How did it come together?

Anna: Well…it’s not that easy to find Jesus wondering the streets, more so to convince him to be gay for the photoshoot! But hey, drop the Maisonneuve name here and there and you might be surprised! 😉

Usually, I have a lot of ideas and sketches for the cover (story). Drew Nelles [the editor-in-chief at the time] and I agreed on this concept as the final one—the stand alone powerful image and the direct reflection of Martin’s story.

With the help from dear friend and brilliant photographer Kourosh Keshiri, I was able to get amazing raw shots to work from. Subsequently, I photo edited and photo illustrated the selected image (the most sincere and devoid of pretence) into the final cover version.

In other words, I deliberately de/emphasized and added specific details (such as halo, blue eyes, serene lighting, deep shadows)—the visual signifiers, to create a stronger impact.

 

NMAF: The “TV We Hate Issue” cover (also a Silver Medal winner for Best Magazine Cover in 2015) looks like it was absolutely fun to create—a friendly poke at the subversive, gonzo style of MTV. Were any TVs actually harmed in the production of this cover?

Anna: Ha! Well, yes, twice. How many of us just get so annoyed with what is on TV we just dream of taking a hammer to it?…or in this case, a butcher knife! I deeply apologize to TV set lovers for butchering a very cool retro television…All in the name of art!

The amazing Ian Patterson and I worked on five covers together, the “TV We Hate” was the second one in that sequence. Ian is the example of someone you just click with. He has mastered an amazing skill—working with natural light.

For a start, there were many, many doodles and sketches for this cover. As I remember correctly, we narrowed it down to two main concepts. What made this one the final one was the minimalism and pointedness. The complexity lay in the precise execution–the limited (minimalistic) number of elements did not leave the room to hide mistakes. It’s something that either works or completely fails. This is why, when one element was off the whole cover had to be reshot. Afterwards, just as with the “Gays for God” cover, there was extensive photo editing to ensure the right details are highlighted while the unnecessary ones either overshadowed or removed completely.

Visual knowledge is important, but it’s not necessary to enjoy something from purely aesthetic point of view. That’s why the most interesting and iconic images successfully and equally merge both, concept and beauty, into one.

Here’s a peak at how the design evolved:

 

NMAF: Do you have another favourite creation from your Maisonneuve career?

Anna: For many artists, myself including, the favourite creation is the one yet to be created. Otherwise, what is there to strive for?

The favourite ones are the most memorable ones, which in one way or another enriched me with certain experience, insight or knowledge. Each image I worked on has a story behind it.

The ones that jump to mind, though, are:

…and so many many more…

Each one, no matter how big or small, was an unforgettable moment in time shared between kindred spirits.

 

NMAF: What do you look for in a creative partnership with an illustrator or photographer? What is your process of communicating an artistic vision for a magazine story that brings out the best in an artist?

Anna: My choice with whom to collaborate on projects is based on a great admiration for artists themselves and their work.

Imagine, you receive a bucket and it’s filled with stories for the next issue, you lift it up above your head and just turn it over…so the words just wash over you, like a waterfall. Most of the water will drain away, yet some will penetrate your skin and leave you with a sensation…a feeling or thought.

Out of the heart and straight to your mind, that will be your guide to conceptualize ideas and find the right voice to breath the life into the story. You can only bring out the best in others if you yourself believe passionately in what you do. Then your enthusiasm will ignite the alike spirits to join you on the crazy joyride called creative collaboration. And they will become your partners in art crime.

I love working with people who see creative process as an adventure. This requires trust, open-mindedness, and mutual respect. You are pursuing a common vision, yet ping-ponging ideas back and forth to create something spectacular. Some people can’t do that. It can be hard to find great collaborators. But when you do, it’s like a drug, the highest high.

 

NMAF: Now that you’ve moved on from Maisonneuve, what’s next for you? What would you like to achieve with the next stage of your career?

Anna: You mean, beside the grandiose production of the Maisy mascot costume?!

Well…it took me a while, but I finally launched my website www.annaminzhulina.com. It’s a collection of the work I have done during my Maisonneuve years. I invite everyone to come say hello! And reminisce of some of the Maisonneuve’s classics.

All in all, I still love publishing and want to pursue it further—magazines, books, other design projects…but I’m also curious about art exhibitions, conceptual design in larger spaces, on real walls, not just paper or virtual ones… it’s all fascinating to me, as long as it’s creative and/or collaborative.

In the meantime, I am working on a drawing series titled See You”portraits of random people sketched in shopping malls and plazas and other interesting, mundane places… my apartment walls are covered with them!

There is life beyond Maisonneuve… 😉 But I’m keeping my subscription! And so should you.

One last thing, before I bow my farewell to Maisonneuve, I would like to thank one very special person, whom I never got to thank at the NMAs:

“My dearest mom, Thank you! for giving me a precious gift— the courage to live my passion and to follow my heart.”


Anna Minzhulina is an award-winning art director, designer, artist and illustrator. For ten years, she was the Art Director of Maisonneuve magazine, where she was recognized for her imaginative concepts in cover design, design, photography and illustration. At Maisonneuve, Minzhulina collaborated with dozens of photographers, illustrators and artists, many of whom won awards for their work under her direction. More at annaminzhulina.com.

Check out more Off the Page interviews, including Maisonneuve publisher Jennifer Varkonyi and contributing artists Marta Iwanek, Gracia Lam, and Selena Wong.


The nominations for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards will be announced on Thursday April 20. Subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter @MagAwards for all the exciting news.

This year’s National Magazine Awards gala is Friday, May 26 in Toronto. Tickets go on sale April 20 at magazine-awards.com.

Photograph of Anna Minzhulina by Florentine.

Interview by Richard A. Johnson for the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

Vote for Canada’s Best Magazine Cover | NMA 2016 Nominees

[This post has been updated] No single element of magazine publishing encapsulates the relationship between editorial, design, circulation and audience quite like the Magazine Cover. A great cover sells the stories within the magazine. And it also tells a story of its own, through eye-catching visual art, arresting cover lines, and perhaps a bit of that ephemeral je ne sais quoi.

The nominations for the 39th annual National Magazine Awards have been announced, and our judges have selected 10 finalists for this year’s award for best Magazine Cover. The Gold and Silver winners will be announced at the National Magazine Awards gala on June 10 in Toronto. [Tickets & Gala info]

Here they are, the Top 10 Magazine Covers of the Year.



VOTE RESULTS
Between May 31 and June 6, 410 people voted, and the winner of the People’s Choice for Best Magazine Cover is…

 

The juried winners for the Gold and Silver medals in Best Magazine Cover will be presented on Friday June 10 at the 39th annual National Magazine Awards. Tickets

Follow the action on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA16.

See the National Magazine Awards nominees for:
Fashion
Best Magazine Brand
Best New Magazine Writer
Best New Magazine Photographer
Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Fiction
Single Service Article Package
Illustration

Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Portrait Photography
Words & Pictures
Best Single Issue

Complete nominations coverage

February Events & Awards Deadlines in Canadian Magazines

Happy Groundhog Day! Punxsutawny Phil did not see his shadow down in Pennsylvania this morning, but good luck convincing the residents of Iqaluit that spring is on its way.

Here’s what’s going on in February (and early March) in Canadian magazines:

AWARDS

Digital Publishing Awards
February 8: Early-bird deadline (& Small Publishers Rebate)
February 16: Final deadline

Canadian Business Media Awards
(formerly the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards)
February 8: Early-bird deadline
February 16: Final deadline

CSME Editors Choice Awards
February 2: Call for Entries

Arc Poem of the Year Award
February 14: Final deadline

Canadian Cover Awards
February 23: Final deadline

Alberta Magazine Awards
February (TBA): Finalists announced

Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement
March 1: Deadline for nominations

EVENTS & CONTESTS

Canadian Society of Magazine Editors
February 3: The Best Free Online Tools For Editors, Toronto

Freedom to Read Week
February 21-27

AlbertaViews Photography Contest
February 28: Final deadline

TNQ Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest
February 28: Final deadline

Alberta Magazines Conference
March 3-4, Calgary

More awards and events info will be added. Follow us on Twitter @MagAwards for updates and to share your news with us.

Announcing the winners of the 38th annual National Magazine Awards

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) presented the winners of the 38th annual National Magazine Awards at a gala this evening in Toronto at the Arcadian Court, presented by CDS Global, and hosted by Lainey Lui & Jessica Allen of CTV’s The Social. Gold, Silver and Honourable Mention awards were presented in 43 categories.

La version française: magazine-prix.com
Complete list [pdf] of all winners
Press release [pdf]: English | Français
Twitter highlights: @MagAwards | #NMA15
The Judges
Award Seals

SPECIAL AWARDS

Magazine of the Year
Nouveau Projet

“Nouveau Projet is a near-perfect symbiosis of subject matter, expert writing and exceptionally original design. It sets itself apart thanks to inspiring themes and bold covers. The magazine offers a fresh take on the genre and dares to cover topics that are virtually absent in other media. The energy of the editorial team is tangible page after page. Nouveau Projet embodies the spirit of print magazines.” — National Magazine Awards jury


Magazine Website of the Year
Hazlittmag.com (Hazlitt)


Tablet Magazine of the Year
Today’s Parent

Best Magazine Brand
Sponsored by Ontario Media Development Corporation
Cottage Life

 

Best New Magazine Writer
Sponsored by Reader’s Digest Foundation
Genna Buck


Best New Illustrator or Photographer
Sponsored by RedPoint Media
Hudson Christie


Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement
Sponsored by Alliance for Audited Media
Michael Fox


AWARDS TABLE


INTEGRATED AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS
 
 

Best Single Issue
Sponsored by Rolland Enterprises, Inc
Back to School Issue (September 2014)
Today’s Parent


Magazine Covers
Hunter Is At It Again
Report on Business


Editorial Package (Web)
Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss
Today’s Parent


Infographics
Fare Warning
Report on Business


Online Video
Ukraine in Crisis
Maclean’s

Single Service Article Package
30 Awesome Cupcakes
Today’s Parent

Words & Pictures
Sponsored by CDS Global
La pointe des utopies
Nouveau Projet

“Tonight the National Magazine Awards Foundation recognized the outstanding work of Canada’s magazine writers, editors, designers, photographers and illustrators. The nominees and winners of this year’s awards have set new standards of excellence in Canadian media, and on behalf of those working in our wonderful industry and magazine readers across the country, we congratulate them.” — Joyce Byrne, President, NMAF

WRITING AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Arts & Entertainment
Nicholas Hune-Brown
For Kids, By Kids—But Not For Long
Hazlitt

Best Short Feature
Michael Friscolanti
My Hitchhiker, the Parliament Hill Gunman
Maclean’s 

Business
Stephanie Nolen
High and Dry
Report on Business

Columns
Sponsored by Impresa Communications Ltd.
Eric Reguly
Jobs: Optional
Report on Business

Editorial Package (Print)
Mark Stevenson, Sue Allan, Stephen Gregory, Alison Uncles
Ottawa Shooting
Maclean’s

Essays
Andrea Bennett
Water Upon the Earth
Maisonneuve

Fiction
Tamas Dobozy
Kransnagorsk-2
The New Quarterly

Health & Medicine
Marie-Pier Elie
Immunothérapie. Le nouvel espoir
Québec Science

Humour
Richard Light
Reviews of My Dreams from Last Night
The Feathertale Review

Investigative Reporting
Alec Castonguay, Noémi Mercier
Crimes sexuels dans l’armée
L’actualité

One of a Kind
Noah Richler
The Trials of Philip Halliday
The Walrus

Personal Journalism
Lauren McKeon
Save Me from My Workout
Toronto Life

Poetry
Richard Greene
You Must Remember This
Hazlitt

Politics & Public Interest
Alec Castonguay, Noémi Mercier
Crimes sexuels dans l’armée
L’actualité

Profiles
Jason McBride
The Captive
Toronto Life

Science, Technology & Environment
Jeremy Keehn
The Toilet Papers
The Walrus

Service: Family, Health & Personal Finance
Danielle Groen
Where Do We Put All the Babies?
The Grid

Service: Lifestyle
The Editors
25th Annual Restaurant Awards
Vancouver Magazine

Society
Mylène Tremblay
Intersexualité : Rencontre du troisième sexe
Châtelaine

Sports & Recreation
Dan Robson
Home and Really Far Away
Sportsnet

Travel
Marie-Soleil Desautels
Au paradis des thés
L’actualité

 

VISUAL AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Sponsored by The Lowe-Martin Group
Jean-François Proulx
Le Canada dont nous ne voulons pas (printemps – été 2014)
Nouveau Projet

Art Direction of a Single Article
Sponsored by Monnet Design
Marcey Andrews
Best Summer Ever
New Trail
17333_26

Fashion
Chris Nicholls, Photographer
Eng Lau, Art Director
Zeina Esmail, Stylist
Human Touch
Fashion Magazine

Homes & Gardens
Karen Simpson, Art Director
Naho Kubota, Photographer
Catherine Osborne, Will Jones, Contributors
On Canal Lake
Azure

Illustration
Raymond Biesinger
The Well-Oiled Machine
Precedent

Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Sponsored by CNW Group
Larry Towell
In Attawapiskat
The Walrus

Portrait Photography
John Ulan
Bigger Than Barriers
Cornerstone

Spot Illustration
Sébastien Thibault
The Rising Tide
The Walrus

Still-Life Photography
Clinton Hussey
Origin Story
Western Living

To view the complete list of Gold and Silver winners and Honourable Mentions, visit magazine-awards.com/38winners.

ABOUT THE 38th ANNUAL NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS
More than 450 members of the Canadian magazine industry—publishers, editors, art directors, writers, photographers, illustrators, circulators and more—joined esteemed sponsors and other guests at the 38th annual National Magazine Awards gala, at the Arcadian Court in Toronto, presented by CDS Global.

This year more than 200 Canadian magazines submitted their work to the National Magazine Awards. Magazines from all three coasts—in both official languages, print and digital—participated this year, entering work created by more than 3000 writers, editors, photographers, illustrators, art directors and other creators. This year saw growth in participation from Quebec and Alberta magazines, as well as remarkable participation from Canada’s literary and arts magazines through the help of the NMAF’s Small Magazine Rebate program.

The NMAF’s 241 volunteer judges have nominated a total of 326 submissions from 80 different Canadian magazines for awards in 43 written, visual, integrated and special categories. More than $53,000 in cash prizes have been awarded to Canadian creators.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The National Magazine Awards Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support of its sponsors and suppliers.

THANK YOU LAINEY & JESS!
The NMAF (and all guests of the National Magazine Awards) are grateful to Lainey Lui & Jessica Allen for their incredible performance tonight.

PHOTOS, VIDEOS, INTERVIEW & MORE
Check back next week for photos, videos and more from the 38th annual National Magazine Awards gala.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS FOUNDATION
The National Magazine Awards Foundation is a bilingual, not-for-profit institution whose mission is to recognize and promote excellence in the content and creation of Canadian print and digital publications through an annual program of awards and national publicity efforts. Discover more at magazine-awards.com.

Vote: Canada’s Best Magazine Cover

The 38th annual National Magazine Awards are quickly approaching and Canadian magazine creators and readers are getting excited to see who will be this year’s award winners.

The nominations have been announced and our judges have selected 10 finalists for this year’s award for Best Magazine Cover. The cover is a crucial component of a magazine, as it not only allows the magazine to show off some design chops, but acts as the gateway into the expertly packaged mix of editorial and artwork.

The Gold and Silver winners will be announced at the National Magazine Awards gala on June 5 in Toronto. [Tickets & Gala info]

Behold, the Top 10 Magazine Covers of the Year. Click to view, then vote for your favourite and Tweet your vote.

BEST MAGAZINE COVER NOMINEES

VOTE
Thank you for voting. The poll has now closed, and the winner is…


TWEET YOUR VOTE
Who do you think is most worthy of the Best Magazine Cover award? Tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA15.

You can view the complete articles of all National Magazine Awards nominees at magazine-awards.com.

Tickets are on sale for the 38th annual National Magazine Awards gala, Friday June 5 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto.

Check out some of these other great National Magazine Awards finalists:
Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Art Direction of a Single Article
Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Illustration & Photo Illustration
Fashion
Portrait Photography
Spot Illustration
Online Video
Best New Magazine Writer
Best New Illustrator or Photographer
Columns
Tablet Magazine of the Year

What’s on Canadian Magazine Newsstands in April

Welcome to April, the month of Easter and Earth Day, Pesach and primroses, hockey playoffs and opening-day pitches. We stop wearing Canada Goose and start planning patio parties. We crave spring fashions, healthy menus, and weekend escapes. And everything we need to know is held in the pages of a magazine.

Here’s just a sampling of National Magazine Award-winning titles on newsstands now. Happy spring reading!

Image via WikiCommons.

Avenue Edmonton, Swerve, Omar Mouallem among big winners at the Alberta Magazine Awards

Thursday night in Calgary the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association presented the winners of the 2015 Alberta Magazine Awards, and Avenue magazine of Edmonton took home the biggest prize, Magazine of the Year.

Swerve led all magazines with 6 awards (2 Gold, 4 Silver). Magazine of the year co-finalists Avenue Calgary and Glass Buffalo were next with 2 Gold and 2 Silver each.

National Magazine Award-winning writer Omar Mouallem was the most decorated individual winner with 3 awards: Gold for Profiles and for Essays, and Silver for Feature Writing. NMA finalist Arno Kopecky also won a Gold award for Best Alberta Story.

Here are the Gold winners from the 2015 Alberta Magazine Awards:

Magazine of the Year: Avenue Edmonton

Alberta StoryAlberta Views Game Changer  – Arno Kopecky

Art Direction: Georgie No. 3 W14 – Nathan Marshall, art director; Neil Mota and Aaron Pedersen photographers

CoverWestern Living September 2014 “Designers of the Year – Paul Roelofs, art director; Evaan Kheraj portrait photographer

Digital PresenceAlberta Oil 10th Anniversary Tablet Edition – Ryan Girard, Kim Larson, Colton Ponto, Ben Rude, Jennifer Madole and Brent Felzien

Emerging Writer: Glass Buffalo  A Tale of Two Forms – Peter Takach

EssaySwerve Children of a Lessser Santa – Omar Mouallem

Feature DesignAvenue Edmonton Back in the Game – Pete Nguyen, art director

Feature WritingAlberta Venture Dot -111 – Anthony Davis

FictionGlass Buffalo Pearl – Bruce Cinnamon

IllustrationAvenue Calgary What’s Lost – Jon Krause

Photograph (Still-Life, Landscape, Architecture)Westworld Phantoms on Ice – Kurtis Kristianson, Spindrift Photography

Photograph (People and Portrait): Avenue Calgary Cultural Movement – Jared Sych

PoetryFreeFall But I’m no one – Weyman Chan

ProfileNew Trail Ray Muzyka’s Next Chapter  – Omar Mouallem

ServiceSwerve It’s Your Funeral  – Rita Sirignano

Editor of the Year: Steve Sandor, Avenue Edmonton

Volunteer of the YearJennifer Schmidt-Rempel, Lethbridge Living Magazine

Achievement in Publishing: Chris BirdKootenay Business Magazine andFly Fusion Magazine

Best New Magazine: Grains West

Check out all the highlights at albertamagazines.com/awards.

Vote: Alberta’s Best Magazine Cover

The Alberta Magazine Awards are coming up on March 5 and the finalists have been announced. Here’s a look at the five nominees for the award for Best Magazine Cover. They’re all spectacular and one will be the winner announced next Thursday in Calgary. Vote for your favourite below.

Avenue Edmonton, Stephen Mandel, April 2014. Curtis Trent, photographer; Pete Nguyen, art director.

 

Georgie, issue No. 2 F14. Nathan Marshall, art director; Aaron Pedersen, photographer.

 

New Trail, Who Will Lead Us Next? Autumn 2014. Marcey Andrews, art director.

 

Up! MagazineThe Food Guide, October 2014. Jill Foran, editor.

 

Western Living, Designers of the Year, September 2014. Paul Roelofs, art director; Evaan Kheraj portrait photographer.

Which is your favourite?

The Alberta Magazine Award winners will be announced on March 5, 2015 at the Alberta Magazines Conference in Calgary.

Legion, Canada’s History, Style at Home among winners at Canadian Cover Awards

Last night Magazines Canada and Circulation Management Association of Canada co-presented the 2015 Canadian Cover Awards at the Courtyard Toronto Downtown.

Gold, Silver and Bronze awards were presented in 8 categories for this year’s awards.

And the  Gold winners are…

General Interest, Arts, Lifestyle & Regional: Legion Magazine
Home & Décor: Style at Home
News, Business & Celebrity: Hello! Canada
Sports & Leisure: The Hockey News
Women’s Service: Elle Quebec
Family & Kids: chickaDEE
Small Magazines: Canada’s History
SIPs & New Magazines: Ignition

 

The final award of the evening, for Newsstand Marketer of the Year, was presented to Anita Baldwinson of TNG.

Check out all the results on Twitter and at coverawards.ca.

 

Canadian Cover Awards accepting entries until January 26

The Canadian Cover Awards, produced by CMC and Magazines Canada, are accepting submissions until January 26 for awards in 9 categories including Newsstand Marketer of the Year.

The awards go to titles with “sizzling sell lines, compelling photography, clever illustrations—whatever made the consumer pick up and purchase that magazine. In a retail environment where Canadian magazines have to fight for every inch of shelf space they can get, these awards recognize that it’s not size that matters—it’s covers!”

The awards ceremony will be held on February 24, 2015 at the Courtyard Toronto Downtown (475 Yonge Street). More info at coverawards.ca.

Here’s a glance back at last year’s awards:

Off the Page, with Judith Pereira & Report on Business Magazine

Off the Page is a regular interview series produced by the National Magazine Awards Foundation. Today we chat with Judith Pereira, senior editor of Report on Business magazine, winner of 5 National Magazine Awards last year and one of Canada’s leading business and investigative publications.

NMAF: It probably isn’t surprising to your readers that Report on Business is a juggernaut of magazine journalism (gold medals for Business journalism at six of the last eight National Magazine Awards; also gold medals for Investigative ReportingScience, Technology & the Environment and Magazine Covers, to name just a few). How would you describe the mandate of ROB to its readers, and its commitment to editorial excellence?

Judith: Our mandate at Report on Business magazine is simple: We engage the best journalistic talent in the business to report on the successes and failures, the breakthroughs and breakdowns of the most intriguing players in Canadian business at home and around the world.

Our experienced team of writers, photographers, illustrators, editors and designers focus on three main audiences: firstly, business leaders across the country—that’s why you’ll find a copy of Report on Business magazine in almost every executive office in Canada; secondly, the new-generation superstars who love an aspirational read; and finally, all those who are interested in the people, trends and brands that shape the way we work and live—as part of The Globe and Mail, we are attached to a well-respected brand that can open doors to a general-interest audience.

"Where Asbestos is just a fact of life" by Stephanie Nolen and John Gray, Report on Business, September 2011. Nominated for a record 5 National Magazine Awards, winning 3.
“Where Asbestos is just a fact of life” by Stephanie Nolen and John Gray, Report on Business, September 2011. Nominated for a record 5 National Magazine Awards, winning 2.

NMAF: How does winning a National Magazine Award help raise the profile of the magazine, with respect to your readers, your journalists or your bottom line?

Judith: When Report on Business wins awards, it shows that the magazine is one of the best, if not the best, in its field of business journalism. This kind of acknowledgement is a big boost for the sales team when they explain to advertisers why Report on Business magazine is a good buy.

Winning magazine awards in a variety of fields also gives the magazine a cachet among award-winning journalists, who want to see their pieces published in a respected publication that consistently garners nominations not just in business, but also in categories like science and technology, humour, arts and more. Similarly, Report on Business magazine attracts top photographers from around the world—names like Neil Wilder, Chris Buck and Matthu Placek—because our design and photography awards signal that we take those areas seriously.

"The Smartest Guys on the Planet" by Eric Reguly, Report on Business, December 2013. Nominated for 3 National Magazine Awards.
“The Smartest Guys on the Planet” by Eric Reguly, Report on Business, December 2013. Nominated for 3 National Magazine Awards, winning 1.

NMAF: Are there any particular ROB stories in the past couple of years that you’ve been especially proud to see recognized by the National Magazine Awards judges, and why? 

Judith: We were really pleased to see Greg McArthur and Graeme Smith get recognized for their investigative work on SNC-Lavalin [“Building with the Brigadier”; Gold Medals in Investigative Reporting and Business, Silver Medal in Politics & Public Interest, 2012]. Staffer Ted Mumford also deserves credit for his editing of it. They spent a lot of time and energy getting to the bottom of that story, and it paid off.

Eric Reguly’s piece about the insurance industry’s decision to tackle climate change  [“The smartest guys on the planet“; Silver Medal in Politics & Public Interest, 2013] was a good example of the magazine’s determination to cover important international stories even if they aren’t specifically Canadian.

We were also thrilled to receive recognition for our coverage of asbestos—a joint effort between John Gray in Canada, Stephanie Nolen in India and photographer Louie Palu [“Where Asbestos is just a fact of life“; Gold Medal, Business, Silver Medal, Politics & Public Interest, 2011]. Our magazine is one of few Canadian publications still covering international stories with any depth, and these nominations show that we need to continue putting them out there.

Our Larry Fink cover, photographed in black and white by Anya Chibis, was one of our most unusual covers. Most top executives balk at the idea of getting playful in front of the camera, and Fink, who runs a $3.7-trillion fund, is no different. But the talented Chibis pulled off what is arguably one of our best covers of all time. The photograph of Fink crossing a Toronto street as he gestures to himself was an off-the-cuff moment that Chibis captured and it not only ended up on the cover–and winning the National Magazine Awards for Magazine Covers and Portrait Photography–but also graced Fink’s 50th birthday cake.

[Editor’s Note: Read our previous interview with ROB Art Director Domenic Macri about the Larry Fink cover.]

To discover more about Report on Business and many other great Canadian magazines, browse the NMA Archive for full-text articles and images of nominated and winning work from past years.

Read more Off the Page interview with National Magazine Award-winning editors, writers, illustrators, photographers and art directors.

The final deadline to enter this year’s National Magazine Awards is Monday, January 19. Enter online at magazine-awards.com.

Update: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the awards and year of the story “Where Asbestos is just a fact of life.” The post has been updated.]

Announcing the Winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards!

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is pleased to announce the winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards.

At this year’s gala on June 6, presented by CDS Global and hosted by humourist (and award-winner) Scott Feschuk, the NMAF presented Gold and Silver awards in 47 categories representing the best in Canadian magazines from the year 2013.

Complete list (PDF) of all winners
Full-text of all nominated and winning articles
Twitter highlights
La version française

SPECIAL AWARD WINNERS

Magazine of the Year
Sponsored by RBC Royal Bank
Cottage Life

Magazine Website of the Year
Macleans.ca
14720

Tablet Magazine of the Year
Sportsnet

Best New Magazine Writer
Sponsored by Reader’s Digest Foundation
Catherine McIntyre

Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement
Kim Jernigan

Top Winning Magazines at the 37th National Magazine Awards:

Magazine Gold Silver HM
The Walrus 7 6 22
Maclean’s 4 1 13
Maisonneuve 4 1 9
L’actualité 3 2 18
Report on Business 3 2 16
Cottage Life 3 1 9
Eighteen Bridges 3 1 7
Legion Magazine 2 0 1
Western Living 1 3 4
Sportsnet 1 2 7
The Grid 1 1 12
Hazlitt 1 1 8
Flare 1 1 2
United Church Observer 1 1 2
enRoute 1 1 1
Malahat Review 1 1 1
Torontoist 1 1 1
Toronto Life 0 2 16
Jobboom 0 2 0

See the complete list of winners at magazine-awards.com.

INTEGRATED AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS  

Best Single Issue
Tenth Anniversary Issue
The Walrus


Magazine Covers
Larry Fink
Report on Business

Infographics
How Much Does a Street Cost?
The Grid

Editorial Package (Web)
Canada’s Best New Restaurants
enRoute
13628

Online Video
Boy Genius
Maclean’s

Single Service Article Package
Calendrier de l’avent
Ricardo

Words & Pictures
Sponsored by CDS Global
Water
The Walrus

WRITING AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Arts & Entertainment
Curtis Gillespie
Rebel Without Applause
Eighteen Bridges

Best Short Feature
Paul Wells
Boy Genius
Maclean’s 

Blogs
Jamie Bradburn, Kevin Plummer, David Wencer
Historicist
Torontoist

Business
Sponsored by Accenture
Charles Wilkins
This Little Piggy Went to Market…and the Farmer Lost Money
Report on Business

Columns
Sponsored by Impresa Communications Ltd.
Chantal Hébert
Politique
L’actualité

Editorial Package (Print)
Sponsored by Canadian Society of Magazine Editors
Marine Corniou, Dominique Forget, Joel Leblanc, Raymond Lemieux, Chantal Srivastava
Août 2013
Québec Science

Essays
Curtis Gillespie
In The Chair
Eighteen Bridges

Fiction
Jess Taylor
Paul
Little Brother Magazine

Health & Medicine
Ann Silversides
First Do No Harm
Maisonneuve

How-To
Jane Rodmell, David Zimmer
Best Flavour Ever
Cottage Life

Humour
Scott Feschuk
Assemble ingredients. Pause dramatically.
Maclean’s

Investigative Reporting
Adam Day
One Martyr Down
Legion Magazine

One of a Kind
Craig Davidson
The Marineland Dreamland
The Walrus

Personal Journalism
Liz Windhorst Harmer
Blip
Malahat Review

Poetry
Karen Solie
Conversion
Hazlitt

Politics & Public Interest
Lisa Fitterman
The Avenger
The Walrus

Profiles
Omar Mouallem
The Kingdom of Haymour
Eighteen Bridges

Science, Technology & Environment
Sponsored by GE Canada
Alanna Mitchell
Losing the Hooded Grebe
United Church Observer 

Service: Health & Family
Sharon Adams
Lest We Forget: The Shocking Crisis Facing Our Wounded Veterans
Legion Magazine

Service: Lifestyle
Valérie Borde
Vive le poisson éco!
L’actualité

Service: Personal Finance & Business
Sponsored by Manulife Financial
Denny Manchee
The Hand-Me-Down Blues
Cottage Life

Society
Dan Werb
The Fix
The Walrus

Sports & Recreation
Jonathan Trudel
La machine à broyer les rêves
L’actualité

Travel
Taras Grescoe
Big Mac
The Walrus

 

VISUAL AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Sponsored by The Lowe-Martin Group
Paul Sych
Issue 1
fshnunlimited (f.u.)

Art Direction of a Single Article
Underline Studio
Not in the Age of the Pharaohs
Prefix Photo

Beauty
John Van Der Schilden, Photographer
Brittany Eccles, Art Director
Juliana Schiavinatto, Stylist
Vanessa Craft, Beauty Director
Masterpiece Theatre
ELLE Canada

Creative Photography
Paul Weeks
Wall Candy
Azure

Fashion
Petra Collins, Photographer
Jed Tallo, Art Director
Corey Ng, Stylist
Pastels Take Shape
Flare

Homes & Gardens
Martin Tessler, Photographer
Paul Roelofs, Art Director
Nicole Sjöstedt, Stylist
Bright Idea
Western Living

Illustration
Selena Wong
Old Wounds
Maisonneuve

Magazine Website Design
TheWalrus.ca
The Walrus

Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Sponsored by CNW Group
Brett Gundlock
El Pueblo
Maisonneuve

Portrait Photography
Anya Chibis
Larry Fink
Report on Business

Spot Illustration
Gracia Lam
The Elite Yellow Peril
Maisonneuve

Still-Life Photography
Liam Mogan
Set Pieces
Sharp

ABOUT THE 37th ANNUAL NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS

More than 500 members of the Canadian magazine industry—publishers, editors, art directors, writers, photographers, illustrators, circulators and more—joined esteemed sponsors and other guests at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 6, 2014, at The Carlu in Toronto, presented by CDS Global.

This year, from nearly 2000 individual entries received nationwide, the NMAF’s 238 volunteer judges nominated a total of 376 submissions from 92 different Canadian magazines for awards in 47 written, visual, integrated and special categories.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The National Magazine Awards Foundation acknowledges the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, as well as the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

The NMAF thanks its corporate sponsors Accenture, GE Canada, Manulife Financial, RBC Royal Bank, The Lowe-Martin Group, Canadian Society of Magazine Editors, Penguin Random House and Reader’s Digest Foundation for their generous financial support of the National Magazine Awards.

The NMAF thanks its media partners Cottage Life Media, Impresa Communications Ltd., Masthead, Rogers Media, TC Media and Toronto Life for their generous support of the National Magazine Awards.

The NMAF thanks its event partners CNW Group and Media Vantage, The CarluDaniel et Daniel, Relay Experience, KlixPix and Michèle Champagne for their generous support of the National Magazine Awards.

The NMAF gratefully acknowledges all its suppliers and its contributors who donated gifts in kind to support the awards program. We thank them for their generosity, interest and expertise. Thanks also to our hard-working event volunteers.

And thanks again to our wonderful Master of Ceremonies, Scott Feschuk.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS FOUNDATION

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is a bilingual, not-for-profit institution whose mission is to recognize and promote excellence in the content and creation of Canadian print and digital publications through an annual program of awards and national publicity efforts.

For more information, visit magazine-awards.com and follow us on Twitter (@MagAwards).

 

 

How Did They Create That Cover? subTerrain

The finalists for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards have been announced — including ten nominations in the Magazine Covers category.

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 illustrator Marlena Zuber, creator of this nominated cover from subTerrain:

 

NMAF: Can you tell us a bit about your style of illustration, and how you came to be an illustrator?

Marlena: I was privileged to attend Etobicoke School of the Arts for my High School years. My major was Visual Arts and my minor was dance. Then I was off to OCAD. I had to decide if I wanted take the Fine Art or the Commercial route. I had been working at a children’s book and toy store and fell in love with the storybook section. Often when I got my pay cheque I would buy a favourite book based on the illustrations. I still have those books and have a little one that I can share them with now. That’s been pretty nice.

Those illustrators inspired me and I thought, I want to do something like that. I will also admit that I was typically afraid of being that mythical or perhaps not-so mythical “starving artist” if I went into the drawing and painting programs (the common sheepish story of the illustrator). Illustration was a viable choice. And so I studied illustration and I actually liked it. I liked the challenge of editorial work, coming up with a concept and working with text. I graduated, had offers from agents and dove straight into the world of mainly editorial illustration.

My style is something that’s evolved over the years and continues to evolve. One thing that seems to be a constant is my use of ink or fine pens. My work is also more drawing than painting. I’ve always loved playing with texture and pattern. My sketchbook of hidden art sometimes also inspires my illustration style. I like when things look immediate, slightly messy, and slightly unfinished. If a concept allows, I will draw people in group formations. I am interested in what we do in groups: dancing, sports, entertaining, recreation, etc. Oh yeah, and I have been influenced by artists and illustrators like Edward Gorey, Henrik Drescher, Frida Kahlo, Leanne Shapton and David Shrigley.

NMAF: There are a lot of small scenes happening on the cover. What are some of these groups of people meant to depict?

Marlena: Every group is sitting round a fire, like a campfire. One group is roasting marshmallows, another group is dancing, another one is in group therapy, another are telling Mexican ghost stories, and another group is making out or about to make out. All of them seem to be in the desert, which seemed like a perfect weird hot place. The theme for this issue was Heat. I was influenced by two main things: my love for campfires and photos of Burning Man Festival that I found on the Internet. The groups are like the stories inside the issue. The theme of heat is explored in a range of sexy, philosophical, scientific and magical ways.

NMAF: How were the colours chosen and why?

Marlena: I went heavy on all shades of red due to the theme of Heat. I used blue as a compliment. I also generally like using this palette.

NMAF: What were some of your challenges and concerns during the making of this cover?

Marlena: Brian Kaufman, the editor-in-chief, asked me to incorporate titles of some of the stories in the issue with the campfire groups. It was a fantastic idea and he suggested that I try incorporating the text in the smoke of the fires rising above each group. It simply didn’t look good. It took me awhile to problem solve. In the end I placed them almost like little playful 3D characters near or around the fires. That seemed to work.

NMAF: What did you use to create this cover? Can you explain the process?

Marlena: I work in a traditional way: pen and ink on sometimes fancy, sometimes not-too-fancy paper. That’s exactly what happened on the cover. I did use Photoshop to clean it up and piece a few things together.

This interview was edited for content. Special thanks to Nadya Domingo for conducting the interview.

 

More ‘How Did They Create That Cover?’Fashion MagazineToronto LifeBC BusinessWestern Living, Report on Business

Check out the finalists for best Magazine Cover on our Facebook page. Share your feedback with us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14 | #MagazineCovers.

The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed on June 6 at the National Magazine Awards gala. [TICKETS]

How Did They Create That Cover? Report on Business

The finalists for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards have been announced — including ten nominations in the Magazine Covers category.

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 Domenic Macri, art director at Report on Business and creator of two of the ten finalists for best Magazine Cover:

NMAF: Where was this photo taken and why was this location chosen?

Domenic: After taking some portraits in the BlackRock offices in Toronto, we convinced Larry Fink to continue the shoot just outside on Bay Street. He was apprehensive, and it was starting to rain. Once outside, the photographer, Anya Chibis*, had Fink walk across the street. And it was at this point that Chibis managed to capture Fink with his guard down.

NMAF: There’s a lot going on in the Larry Fink cover–his facial and body expressions are very animated. Was this staged or a candid photograph, and why did you decide on this image?

Domenic: Typically, we don’t get as much body language from high-profile business people—especially one who runs the largest investment fund in the world—so we couldn’t resist trying it on the cover. And since the story celebrated his achievements, we decided to run with it.

* Editor’s Note: Photographer Anya Chibis is also nominated in the category Portrait Photography for her work on this cover.

NMAF: Is the animal on the “Target” cover fake or real? How was this achieved?

Domenic: The image on the cover is in fact Bullseye, the official mascot of Target. We managed to book a photo shoot with him when he was in Toronto. He was very well behaved.

NMAF: Was this always the image that you had in mind for the Target cover? What were some of the other ideas?

Domenic: When we commissioned the photographer, Aaron Vincent Elkaim, to get the shot, I already knew what I wanted—a close up of Bullseye’s distinct eye markings, which I could use on the cover. At the time, the Target marketing machine was working overtime, and stories and ads were appearing everywhere; most of the time, they were using the graphic red Target logo and portraits of Bullseye. I felt that by using the imperfect logo on Bullseye’s eye, along with the texture of his fur, we would be making an obvious connection to our cover story without looking like a promotional piece for Target.

NMAF: There isn’t a lot of text on this cover, other than the magazine name and headline on the bottom corner. What was the reason behind that decision? 

Domenic: Sometimes, when you don’t have the greatest image to work with on the cover, you can sell the story with strong lines. In this case, however, I had a strong graphic image, and I didn’t want to clutter up the image with blaring cover lines.

This interview was edited for content. Special thanks to Nadya Domingo for conducting the interview.

More ‘How Did They Create That Cover?’Fashion MagazineToronto LifeBC BusinessWestern Living

Check out the finalists for best Magazine Cover on our Facebook page. Share your feedback with us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14 | #MagazineCovers.

The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed on June 6 at the National Magazine Awards gala. [TICKETS]

How Did They Create That Cover? Western Living

The finalists for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards have been announced — including ten nominations in the Magazine Covers category.

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 Paul Roelofs, art director at Western Living and creator of this nominated cover:

NMAF: Was this cover always what the magazine had in mind to depict the story, or were there other ideas? 

Paul: Not at all what we had in mind. The September issue is a landmark issue for us each year and features a large editorial package called Designers of the Year. It is a competition that WL hosts in many design categories. The issue celebrates the winners and there are quite large awards events that accompany the issue in Vancouver and Calgary. And so for the one issue each year we have the opportunity to break the mould, so to speak, and create something more conceptual.

The challenge is to find iconography that somehow covers the diversity of the categories, from architecture and interior design to fashion and industrial design, etc. Other thoughts ranged from creating a room set with pantone chips as artwork on the walls. Also: a still-life photograph of all different tools used across the genres.

NMAF: Why was the colour palette chosen to depict the Designers of the Year?

Paul: The visual icon was a swatch pad, like a pantone swatch fan. We landed on this since it seemed general enough to work across multiple design genres. As for the colours, we were inspired by Paul Smith colour palettes and embarked on creating our own palette that seemed fresh, bold and timeless, and not seasonal.

NMAF: How many people were involved in the making of this particular cover, and what role did you play?

Paul: Our entire senior group has a voice in this cover. We take a very collaborative approach. I drive the creative and so lead the group in partnership with the editor in chief. Once we landed on the idea, I sketched it out and contracted a 3D rendering artist, Mike Cormack, to help bring the idea to life. I had worked with Mike in the past for rendering retail products that were still in production and needed to be brought to life before they existed yet. We explored having a swatch fan built by a printing house and then photographed and retouched, but with the 3D rendering technology being so sophisticated today, it became the obvious choice for execution.

NMAF: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I spot Helvetica! Any reason behind the iconic font choice?  

Paul: That, my friend, is Univers and one of the fonts that debuted in the redesign that launched that same month.

 

This interview was edited for content. Special thanks to Nadya Domingo for conducting the interview.

More ‘How Did They Create That Cover?’Fashion MagazineToronto Life, BC Business

Check out the finalists for best Magazine Cover on our Facebook page. Share your feedback with us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14 | #MagazineCovers.

The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed on June 6 at the National Magazine Awards gala. [TICKETS]

How Did They Create That Cover? BC Business

The finalists for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards have been announced — including ten nominations in the Magazine Covers category.

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.

More ‘How Did They Create That Cover?’: Fashion Magazine, Toronto Life

Check out the finalists for best Magazine Cover on our Facebook page. Share your feedback with us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14 | #MagazineCovers.

The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed on June 6 at the National Magazine Awards gala. [TICKETS]

See also:
Top 9 Infographics in Canadian Magazines
Top 6 Canadian Magazines for Art Direction
Top 10 Canadian Magazine Illustrations
Top Magazine Videos in Canada

 

How Did They Create That Cover? Toronto Life

The finalists for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards have been announced — including ten nominations in the Magazine Covers category.

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 Christine Dewairy, art director at Toronto Life and creator of this nominated cover:

NMAF: Can you explain the process of choosing the child on the cover?

Christine Dewairy: Well, it had to be a mixed-race child, obviously.* But we also wanted to go in extremely close, and this little girl had such gorgeous skin, captivating eyes and lush curly hair. She was perfect. Also being about three years old, she was still in that very pure, sweet, innocent age.

*Editor’s Note: The cover story of this issue of Toronto Life, “Mixie Me” by Nicholas Hune-Brown, is also nominated for 2 NMAs this year.

NMAF: Did you always know that the image would only show a portion of the child’s face? 

Christine: No, but we did know it was a gatefold cover and that we’d need something on the flap. Showing only a portion of her face gave it impact and intimacy that would have been lost had the photo been more pulled back. I wanted the newsstand reader or passerby to be drawn in by the intense eye contact, and then the understated headline directly below.

Also, because the story wasn’t about this child in particular, but about a societal shift, by zooming in on the face, it becomes less about the person and more about the features — the eye, the hair, the skin, etc.

NMAF: Placing text on someone’s face is unique and unconventional for magazine covers. Did you have any hesitations about this? 

Christine: I didn’t want to lose the immediacy and impact of the larger-than-life face, to make room for the headline. The type becomes part of the image. You can’t look at one without absorbing the other simultaneously.

NMAF: Some might look at this cover and be immediately drawn to the child’s eye. In your opinion, what do you think is the focal point of this cover?

Christine: The viewer’s eye might wander at first, from the girl’s eye, to her lashes, her curls, and so on, but I think it’s impossible to just stop at the eye. Her features frame the type in such a way that marries the elements.

NMAF: What were some concerns and challenges when putting together this cover?

Christine: One question was how small you can go with the main sell, and how low you can place it on the page, and still draw people’s attention. We decided to keep it relatively small. I think sometimes a whisper can be louder than a shout, especially when you lay it on an enormously compelling image, like this one, and the words are super clear and unequivocal.

 

This interview was edited for content. Special thanks to Nadya Domingo for conducting the interview.

More ‘How Did They Create That Cover?’Fashion Magazine

Check out the finalists for best Magazine Cover on our Facebook page. Share your feedback with us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14 | #MagazineCovers.

The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed on June 6 at the National Magazine Awards gala. [TICKETS]

How Did They Create That Cover? Fashion Magazine

The finalists for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards have been announced — including ten nominations in the Magazine Covers category.

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 Eng Lau, art director at FASHION Magazine and creator of this nominated cover:

NMAF: Was it difficult to pick the final image of Miley?

Eng Lau: There are a few factors to consider when picking a cover image. Firstly, the energy of eye contact; will her look grab the attention if you are just browsing through the newsstand? Secondly, is there room for cover lines? We have to ensure that all cover lines are legible, in order to convey the content in the issue that would appeal to a wide range of readers. The image satisfied both counts, so no, it was not a difficult choice.

NMAF: How was the blue and red shadow effect achieved?

Eng: The red and blue shadow helps to create a 3-D effect, and [helps] make it pop against the plain white background. The shadow in the image is a result of a particular lighting effect used by the photographer. Colours are what make the image pop in an elegant way. You need just enough of a contrast, but it must still be stylish.

NMAF: There are certain words on the cover that are set in boldface red. Can you explain why these words were chosen specifically?

Eng: We highlighted certain words to create balance of the colours on the layout and to make it more dynamic.

NMAF: Miley is quoted on the cover (“Shocking is what I’m good at”). How was this quote chosen?

Eng: The editorial team looks over the article and selects a few outstanding quotes. We meet to look over the selections and see what works the best and fits into the space comfortably.

NMAF: With a cover like this, people’s attention might be immediately drawn to the celebrity. How do you draw their attention to the content as well as the image?

Eng: The strong image is what initially draws an individual to the magazine, and once they stop to look at it, we have to ensure that the cover lines are visually appealing as well as succinct and enticing to readers. Both image and text have to work in harmony to create a powerful and appealing cover, and we are very pleased to have received a National Magazine Awards nomination!

[This interview was edited for content. Special thanks to Nadya Domingo for conducting the interview.]

Check out the finalists for best Magazine Cover on our Facebook page. Share your feedback with us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14 | #MagazineCovers.

The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed on June 6 at the National Magazine Awards gala. [TICKETS].

 

American NMAs announce finalists for Cover of the Year

BostonThe American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) released its ten nominees for Cover of the Year recently. This year’s shortlist is comprised of familiar faces (Bloomberg Businessweek twice, Vanity Fair, New York) to this category and a few relative outliers (Food & Wine, Boston, W). Each cover was chosen as the best in its field (News, Entertainment, Science, Women’s Service, etc) and from among them one will be chosen Cover of the Year at ASME’s general meeting April 30, one day before the annual American National Magazine Awards.

Last year’s Boston Marathon bombing features in two nominated covers (Sports Illustrated, Boston). Only half the covers involve a face staring back at you; six if you count the skull on one of the covers of Bloomberg. The latter cover mocks the Canadian tech company Blackberry, reminiscent of earlier Canadian magazine send-ups (including Canadian Business, 2011, nom’d for a NMA in Best Cover).

NewYorkThree covers want you to notice hair: VF‘s Kate Upton curls; Oprah’s amazing, symmetrical disc of hair; and Michael Douglas, looking coy with a salon-fresh coiffeur as Liberace on the cover of New York.

Bloomberg Pursuits stops tracks with an alluring crocodile eyeball. Food & Wine‘s cover not only features no eyes, no face and no George Clooney, but no meat (“Vegetables Now” says the cover line in an understated font).

Only one cover–SI’s “Boston”–features a work of photojournalism. Eight others are conceptual photos and/or portraits, and only one–Bloomberg–features an illustration.

Which do you think is best? The winner will be announced next week.

And… the finalists for the Canadian National Magazine Awards–including this year’s finalists for Best Cover–will be announced on May 1. Right here.

Related post: Canada’s Best Magazine Covers of 2012

Canadian Cover Awards open for submissions until Jan 31

The annual Canadian Cover Awards, produced by CMC and Magazines Canada, is accepting submissions until January 31 for its 2013 awards.

There are eight categories this year, including Newsstand Marketer of the Year. Last year’s winner of that award, Greg Kielty, highlighted a successful 2012 awards for SkyNews magazine.

Submissions are open to Canadian magazines that were distributed on newsstands between September 2012 and September 2013, and are sales-final. Submissions must be accompanied by distribution verification.

This year’s awards ceremony will once again be held at the Courtyard Toronto Downtown at 6 pm on February 25, 2014.

Redesigns for the new issues of Vancouver & Reader’s Digest

Two National Magazine Award-winning titles with a combined 114 years of publishing have unveiled redesigns this month.

Vancouver Magazine, owned by TC Media, debuted a new style for its Jan/Feb 2014 issue.

Most notably, the rounded font with the drop shadow, prominent in the old design (including this cover nominated for a National Magazine Award last year) has been replaced with a sleeker serif design. As for what’s new on the inside, read up on the details of the new VanMag at the Canadian Magazines blog.

And Canada’s Reader’s Digest also has a new look for February 2014.

The new print redesign follows up on the digital redesigns for RD and its French counterpart, Sélection, from last fall. And not just the cover has changed (though note the new miniscule ‘d’ in “digest,” quite a departure from the old design in which that word was the more prominent part of the title). Editor Robert Goyette told Canadian Magazines,

We asked what you liked best about Reader’s Digest and we’re happy to unveil a makeover to enhance your reading experience. From a new logo that emphasizes the “Reader” to an expanded selection of stories, this redesign is tailored to the people who told us they love our content and want more of it.

More:
Reader’s Digest and Vancouver Magazine the NMA Archive
More blog coverage of Magazine Covers & Redesigns

Off the Page, with The Feathertale Review editor Brett Popplewell

 

Off the Page is an interview series that appears regularly on the Magazine Awards blog. Today we catch up with Brett Popplewell, editor of The Feathertale Review, winner of the 2012 National Magazine Award for Best Single Issue.

NMAF: The Feathertale Review has been dubbed the “illegitimate love child of Mad Magazine and The New Yorker.” We just saw your latest issue, no. 11, double in size to 128 pages. Is this a signal to readers that the child is growing up? And if so, where is it headed?

Brett Popplewell: It’s definitely a sign that the child is growing up. Where it’s heading, I have no idea.

Truth is our entire team has grown up since our launch in 2006. We were just kids back then who felt there was an absence of high- and low-brow humour magazines in the Canadian market and thought we could be the cork to plug that hole. Lee Wilson, Feathertale’s co-founder and art director, and I wanted to create something that would feel fresh and cutting edge but that would hark back to an age when magazines leaned entirely on illustration to bring their words to life. We’re the ones who started calling our creation the “illegitimate love child of Mad Magazine and The New Yorker” because it felt like the best way to describe it.  Continue reading

A Celebration of Covers: Spacing’s 10th anniversary

Marking the tenth anniversary of the popular and award-winning Spacing–the magazine devoted to Canadian urban issues–founder and art director Matthew Blackett tells the story behind ten of the most popular covers in Spacing‘s history. Among the group is the above issue, with cover photography by Stephen Rothlisberger, which won the 2005 Gold National Magazine Award for Editorial Package.

Canada’s 2013 National Magazine Awards are open for submissions, and among 48 categories for achievement in magazine writing, photography, illustration, packaging and digital content creation is the celebrated category for best Magazine Cover. Check out the NMA archives for past winners. The deadline for entries is January 15.

Going for Gold: How to win a National Magazine Award

At last June’s MagNet magazines conference in Toronto, a golden panel of industry experts gathered to present a session called “Going for Gold: How to Create Award-Winning Content,” moderated by Deborah Rosser, president of Rosser & Associates.

The panellists were:

  • Carole Beaulieu, publisher and editor-in-chief of L’actualité, winner of more than 50 National Magazine Awards since she became EIC in 1998;
  • Sarah Fulford, editor-in-chief of Toronto Life, the most-nominated magazine at last year’s NMAs and former winner of Magazine of the Year (2007);
  • David Hayes, freelance writer (nominated for 14 NMAs during his career, winning a gold and a silver award) and member of the board of directors of the National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF);
  • Domenic Macri, art director at Report on Business and winner of 6 NMAs for his design and creative direction;
  • Patrick Walsh, editor-in-chief and brand manager of Outdoor Canada, winner of 21 National Magazine Awards since 1987, and former president of the NMAF.

Risk and Reward: The moderator began by asking each of the panellists to present the story of a challenging piece that won a National Magazine Award, and what lessons they took from the experience.

2008_torontolife2Sarah Fulford spoke about how breaking the rules helped Toronto Life to a surprise NMA win for best magazine cover of 2008. Sarah said she and her then art director Jessica Rose, whom she hired with this specific challenge in mind, took big risks on a cover about gun violence in Toronto, as they bucked the conventions for cover design with small cover lines and other elements reflecting thinking outside the box. The issue sold well on the newsstand and also impressed the NMA judges that year, as they gave it a Gold.

Domenic Macri spoke in a similar vein about a magazine cover that won Gold the following year, 2009, at the NMAs. The Julie Dickson cover presented a challenge because the editors had agreed not to put her portrait on the magazine cover. Domenic showed the audience several of his drafts and mockups that he went through on his way to finally developing the final cover, saying that what he learned from the experience was although there are certain elements required of a good cover, “you don’t have to take the same approach all the time. I think we won the award because we came up with new directions, and because of the words.”

David Hayes mentioned an episode from 1990 when a feature story he’d written for Toronto Life wasn’t entered for an NMA that year, and after talking with his editor, who said he wasn’t able to enter the piece that year due to budget constraints, he learned that he could enter the NMAs himself. Several years later he took that experience to heart when he again discovered that an editor wouldn’t enter his story, so he entered it himself and it ended up winning Gold. “You never know what the jury will decide,” he reminded the audience, “so as a writer if you are proud of your work you should enter it.”

Patrick Walsh described the story of a controversial article he commissioned about the death of a hunter in Newfoundland, called “Another Fine Day Afield.” As an editor he felt that the story hadn’t been covered well in other media, and though it would be a legal, financial and editorial challenge to pursue the story for Outdoor Canada, he decided to take the risk. The risk paid off when the magazine story he published was picked up by CBC’s The Fifth Estate and NBC’s Inside Edition, and his writer Charles Wilkins won a Gold National Magazine Award in Sports & Recreation.

Carole Beaulieu also touted the benefits of taking risks and believing in the work you produce. She talked about a piece from last year she commissioned from a writer about Pauline Marois. Although Quebec news had been saturated with stories about the premier, Carole felt there was room for more if they could find the right angle and give it the right depth. She sent her writer to spend time with Mdm Marois at her hairdresser’s, achieving a kind of intimate portrait not yet seen, and L’actualité created a newsprint insert–what it is now calling a “mini-book” and making a semi-regular feature for the magazine–to accommodate the 16-page story. And at this year’s NMAs, “L’éttoffe d’un premier ministre,” by journalist Noémi Mercier, won Gold in Profiles.

Quote-Unquote: On the significance of winning a National Magazine Award and why we strive for award-winning content.

Sarah: “An award is useful for communicating to our stakeholders that we are successful. It adds momentum to what we do every day at the magazine… We create content to satisfy our readers, not to win awards. But it is our creators who get the awards and the cash prize, and for an editor, that’s an honour.”

David: “As writers, what we have is our reputation, and what we create should stand on its own. Awards are a feather in your cap, not the cap itself.”

Patrick: “We won because the story was beautifully written, because it was longform [5000 words]… We also took risks and winning the award was a measure of that.”

Carole: “I think we should always believe in what we do. Successful magazine stories have that ‘wow’ factor, and with everything we do we try to achieve that. You know that story matters, that content matters. If you believe you achieved success then you should enter, because then you’ll know if your peers [the jury] agree; that it made them say, ‘wow.'”

The Bottom Line: The moderator asked each panellist to distill one piece of advice for winning a National Magazine Award.

Domenic: Strive for strong collaboration between editorial and art in creating your content. Success is a product of a strong team.

Carole: Don’t take things too seriously. Trust your instincts and never give up on a great story.

Sarah: The most successful pieces are the ones where the creators were passionate and took risks.

Patrick: Be strategic, because the more you enter the more you are likely to win. If your aim is to win awards then enter as much as you can.

David: Advice to writers: write well. And advice to editors: hire writers who write well.

In Summary: Accept challenges, take risks, think differently, be passionate, find (or be) the best creator, work together, never give up on a good story, believe in your work and enter as much as you can. That, and always strive for the ‘wow’ factor! 

On behalf of the Canadian magazine industry, thank you to the panellists for sharing your wisdom.

Related posts:
Off the Page, with Patrick Walsh
National Magazine Award-winning Covers, 2007-2010
Winners of the 36th National Magazine Awards

More:
Award-winning work in the National Magazine Awards archive
National Magazine Awards digital Gold Book (free)