How Last Week’s New York Times Magazine Cover Was Made

When FishbowlNY received the latest New York Times Magazine this past Saturday morning, we were riveted by the cover. After tweeting a picture proclaiming our love, we dove right in and started reading the fantastic article about the “kill team” in Afghanistan. Okay, maybe not right after. First we had to eat a donut the size of a basketball. Priorities.

As you can see, the cover is an instant classic. Now, on The 6th Floor, a blog that covers the inner workings at the Times Magazine, we’re provided with a look at just how the final version came about.

The first cover actually looked very little like the final one, and it was only after experimenting with a variety of fonts and colors did something solid begin to appear. The breakthrough? Tiny, hand-drawn soldiers:

While we were working on the graphic approaches, I asked our designer Sara Cwynar to begin experimenting with hand-lettering. She must have executed more than 20 versions right at her desk using an eye dropper, india ink and a tiny watercolor brush.

Pretty cool right? The amazing thing is that the entire process, from the first cover version to the final one pictured here, only lasted for two days.

If you’re a fan of design, click through and see all the covers that were scrapped.