KEYNOTE: Rodrigo Sánchez, 22 years of covers

Read this article in Spanish here.

A Darth Vader hat doesn’t look right on all roaches, so a casting call was necessary to find the right roach. The Darth Vader roach was the star of Metrópoli Magazine’s cover for a Star Wars preview.

cucaracha-13
A roach with a Darth Vader helmet was used to illustrate a Star Wars cover for Metropoli.

The cover was one of 127 different magazine covers Rodrigo Sánchez, journalist and art director for El Mundo and Metrópoli Magazine in Spain, discussed during his keynote at the Society of News Design Conference on Friday.

“Metrópoli’s intent is to be different from other publications,” said Sánchez while he described the details that went into the Star Wars movie cover. Metrópoli cover topics are normally blockbuster movie releases with the occasional concert, theater or food story preview.  

Sánchez spoke of the tools and sketch process that go into almost all the weekly covers. Adobe Photoshop is seldomly used, and Sánchez repeatedly joked about how other papers and magazines don’t often change or include their masthead and/or folio into the design. “We are not afraid (to change our masthead). We like to turn things upside down,” he said while showcasing covers where the Metrópoli masthead is part of the art. In one example, the folio included the editorial newsroom number for a cover that illustrated the “Best of Home” issue.  

“When you take risks you can find hope and success,” Sánchez said as he also described other cover concepts ideas such as their ‘Titanic’ in 3D movie cover. Instead of having a cover with actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (which was a backup), they illustrated their Metrópoli masthead breaking in half to represent the luxury liner sinking into the blue plastic material of a 3D glasses with a simple headline.

Some of the more than 100 covers Rodrigo Sánchez, art director of Metropoli, showed during his keynote.
Some of the more than 100 covers Rodrigo Sánchez, art director of Metropoli, showed during his keynote.

But while discussing ideas and deadlines and that team it takes to create the solid symbolic concepts, Sánchez reiterates that “this isn’t just design, it’s journalism.”

Translated by Susana Sanchez