Meet SND LOU speaker Jaap Biemans

We’re closing in on one month to the annual SND Workshop in Louisville. As we count down the days, SND will be introducing you to some of the speakers presenting at the conference. Today, Mike Rice, features design director at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, brings us Jaap Biemans of Volksrant Magazine and

1. Who is Jaap Biemans?

Jaap Biemans is art director of Volkskrant magazine and founder of Cover Junkie.

A 6-4 guy from Amsterdam, loving espresso, loving basketball and loving creative magazine design. Working as art-director for Volkskrant Magazine and founder of

2. You’re also the brains behind How did you get started with that?

Creativity in magazines needed a platform and I wanted to show the good stuff versus that “Print is Dead” nonsense I was hearing all the time. Three years ago I was walking around with this idea but could not start cause needed a catchy name. By coincidence I met this guy and in the middle of a little talk he said: “you’re a true cover junkie,” it all started from there.

3. With the site, you’re exposed to a lot of great work from around the world. What publication’s covers are you always excited to see in your inbox?

Indeed some are ace EVERY week or month, but I hate this list cause I always forget some sweet names:

4. What makes a good cover? And what is your most recent favorite?

cover baha#3.inddA cover that smacks you in the face or you wanna lick it! It’s about emotion. My favorite cover today (this changes each day) is a Bahamontes (Belgium) cover about cycling.

It’s the rainbow-jersey you earn when becoming a world champion. The front is a beauty. Look at the logo — they lowered it so it looks like one of those commercial names on jerseys. And also they continue the design to the back cover. Yeah, look at the banana 🙂

5. Flip side to that — designers tend to recycle ideas. What design trick do you keep seeing that just needs to stop?

The worst are the regular “look-at-me-I-am-so-happy-blonde-girl-next-door-huge-smile-looking-at-ya-covers.”

(Those sad covers are also a reason I started Coverjunkie.) I mean thats 80% of what you see on the stands!

Indeed, there are a lot of copycats around but I don’t mind seeing some copying, as long as its not 1 to 1. Please add something to it. Make it better or change it. Thats how the world progresses.

6. You’ve won a number of awards for your magazine design. Of your work, which is the most significant to you and why?

It’s a cliché, but every award has a little story.

intermediair    intermediair1    intermediair2    intermediair3

The Prix de C’Oeuvre was cool cause it’s about the entire catalog of covers I designed for Intermediair Magazine and received it first before all other (big) titles got their change.

vrij ndederland sex issue

The one I designed for Vrij Nederland was pretty funny cause I was in their office by accident and they asked me to design that week’s cover, just for once. Their art-director was clubbing in Ibiza or something. Then it won the big Cover of the Year award. 🙂

coverjunkie magazine

But the most happy one was the Society of Publication Design award for my own published Coverjunkie Magazine!

7. Every designer has that great idea that never saw print. The one that got away. What is the last great idea you had that was killed by the editor?

Duct tape! It’s been laying on my desk for a few months now. I just used it for the inside as a font but not on the cover. Yet.

8. Where do you look for inspiration in your work? (Other than coverjunkie, of course.)

Out on the streets for sure, it’s all out there and it’s free. Everything from neon signs to advertisements to the potholes.

9. If given the opportunity to work with one designer (living or dead) who would that be?

One of the best moments doing the Coverjunkie thing was meeting George Lois. That would be something. I heard he’s still playing basketball, if not designing together, I settle for a game

1o. We’re looking forward to your presentation at SNDLOU. Why is your session going to be the one we shouldn’t miss?

It’s about celebrating creativity. The most beautiful eye candy possible. Create excitement with front covers. Get inspired! Stop the ‘Print Is Dead’ bad vibe. Paper rocks, and I will show you why.

To register for SND Louisville, click here.

About Mike Rice

is features design director at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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