coverjunkie’s Jaap Biemans: Covers that deliver a punch (and then a kiss)

This morning Jaap Biemans of coverjunkie and Volkskrant Magazine presented “Celebrating Creativity,” a session taking a look at the best covers of 2013 and what it takes to make the cut.

Biemans created coverjunkie, a website that enables viewers to see the best in magazine and newspaper cover design. He posts new covers each day following the simple principle — a great cover punches you in the face and follows with a kiss.

“A great cover is there to seduce, but get you in the right mood,” said Biemans.

He showed a wide array of covers from the clean and simple to the wild and racy. Regardless of the content, Biemans stressed that legendary covers emerge from news, guts, and creativity. In a weekly publication like Volkskrant Magazine, the timeline for the creative process is very short, with only a few days to turn the expected upside down. Though it can be a grueling process, Biemans suggested different methods to stand out.

“Split run covers are an opportunity to approach your reader in multiple ways. They’re also easy to do because it doesn’t cost much. I would love to see split-run covers at newspaper. I’ve never seen it done before,” said Biemans.

Biemans sees lots of opportunities for newspapers who want to incorporate a magazine feel into their publication to connect with readers.

“Newspapers can have the ideal mix between design and content. It’s got to be more variation. Right now, it’s all text, all gray, but they’re trying. Emphasize a bit more on seducing people, but always remain content driven,” said Biemans.

Jonathon Berlin of the Chicago Tribune agreed that getting people’s attention, while keeping your audience in mind, is a powerful thing.

“The work has to have passion and emotion and connect with people. We’ve got to be perfectionists and keep pushing to make work better and better to engage people. As a designer you’ve got to push the limits, but you’ve got to do it in a way that’s true for your audience. That’s the power of design. You can create this emotional reaction in people when visuals and text work together.”