Esquire Design Director: ‘I Wanted to Create… a Coffee Table Book’

Curcurito_40_0.jpgEsquire‘s 75th anniversary issue features a number of works from artists based around the globe that were commissioned by the magazine to illustrate its pages. David Curcurito, the design director who oversaw the project (and designed the E Ink cover), spoke with about how the idea came to fruition, how much it cost and where the art will be shown:

“We’d been prepping for the 75th anniversary for months and [the question was] how do I do something different, how do I not hire your standard illustrator to illustrate some stories that were probably going to be some of the best stories that we’ve published in a really long time — not that we haven’t published fantastic stories in the past — but obviously these are going to be a little ground-breaking. I didn’t want to do the same old thing, so I came up with the idea of commissioning fine artists — the best contemporary artists who are out there, [who are] making a difference now.

I talked about this with David Granger and he seemed to like the idea, so I set out on a little quest to find out who’d be right for the magazine. To be quite honest, we started by calling about 30 artists and then ended up with our final list. It took a couple months.

But is it all being displayed? And how much did this whole thing cost?

“I was really hoping we’d be able to display them at our 75th anniversary party, but some of the pieces are in Europe and they are quite large, so it was quite an undertaking… No, we’re not displaying them. The Vladimir Putin piece, made out of caviar, that would be a little tough to display. Most of the guys are displaying them [on their own].”

Now, what about those Benjamins?

“It was really interesting to receive people’s reactions. People were really excited about participating with the 75th anniversary. People were really excited. It really wasn’t a problem. My budgets weren’t that big. I’m talking thousands, not tens of thousands of dollars. It wasn’t an extraordinary amount of money. People just love the magazine. People just wanted to participate. People really respect the magazine and really were kind of honored to be in such a big issue for Esquire.

So a coffee table book?

Personally, and I believe David feels the same way, we wanted to create something more then a magazine. I wanted to create something that would resonate as a coffee table book. I want people to pick it up again and again… It’s something that I want people to come back to, something for people to enjoy and share with others.