French Elle Pulls a ‘No Photoshopping, No Makeup’ Stunt While David Hillman Chides Recent Magazine Design

Former Pentagram UK partner and editorial design legend David Hillman recently gave the magazine world a punch in the gut by saying at the D&AD President’s Lecture that most everything in the field has gotten very boring and “very sad,” further saying that the design work he’s seen among contemporary magazines has nothing to offer, visually at least, to consumers who are still eager to consume the medium, despite what we seem to hear on a regular basis to the contrary. “When you look at the news rack in Tesco, it’s full of blue-eyed blondes and pink logos — what’s there to attract the reader?” But in other magazine design news, maybe he’d be swayed by the latest issue of Elle in France, which has pulled a Dove-esque stunt by featuring three different covers, each with a different attractive famous lady without any Photoshopping or even any makeup, to show just how “real” the magazine is prepared to get (and, in so many words, they don’t mind saying so right there in big bold text on the cover). Granted, they were each shot by fashion go-to Peter Lindbergh and are more gifted genetically than any of us ever will be, but see how “real” it all is? If that doesn’t change Hillman’s tune, then we don’t know what kind of world we live in anymore.