The New Yorker’s Cover, and Qualcomm Ads, Come to Life This Week via Augmented Reality

Christoph Niemann fronts the Innovators Issue

The new issue of The New Yorker, on newsstands today, comes with a tech tie-in befitting its title of Innovators Issue—a cover, designed by Christoph Niemann, that springs to life through augmented reality, and a couple of inside-cover Qualcomm ads that do the same.

Niemann's cover is actually a front-and-back, two-page cover. It features a yellow-and-black subway car and city skyline landscape that begins to writhe with life when viewed through Uncovr, an augmented-reality app that transforms the printed page into an interactive experience.

The Uncovr app was made for The New Yorker by Nexus Interactive Arts, a London-based studio. You can download it at the App Store and at Google Play.

"The idea of an augmented or virtual reality is inherent in any drawing—it's almost the definition of a drawing," says Niemann, who collaborated with Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker's art editor, on the project. "If you create a world on paper, you create a window. Usually, you just break the surface with your mind, but you always have the feeling of: What if you could step into that world or if something could come out of it?"

He adds: "In a drawing, the barrier between the real world and the made-up world is the surface, so at the very beginning I thought of an elevator with its doors closing. But then I realized that the subway is even better, because it really does take you to a different world. The closing doors are a flat surface that separates two worlds, and so are the covers of a magazine—separating before you read it and after you read it, what you know and don't know, how your views change. So between the front and the back cover, and the experience created by the app, I like that we could show essentially two different angles on the same world. Like stepping through a mirror."

See the cover experience in action here: 

"I can't think of a better way to mark our Innovators Issue than collaborating with the incomparable Christoph Niemann, one of the most inventive artists working today, and Qualcomm, a company at the forefront of mobile technologies," says Lisa Hughes, publisher and chief revenue officer of The New Yorker. "This augmented-reality experience—both the covers and the ads—represents innovation, creativity, and next-level storytelling—longtime hallmarks of The New Yorker."

"It's an honor to collaborate with The New Yorker on its Innovators issue to showcase how mobile and connectivity technologies are accelerating innovation across industries," said Susan Lansing, vp of brand at Qualcomm Technologies. "As an advertiser in this issue, we love how mobile technology has come together with The New Yorker's iconic cover art to bring the future forward in this compelling reader experience."