Choosing a magazine cover

Looking at the calendar, I can't believe that it has already been 3 months since the launch of 1806 Magazine! Today, Rachel and I decided to go through the photos used (and not used) in the making of Volume 1 and came across the 8 different covers we pitched to Collectif 1806.

I thought it would be useful to share some insights into our creative process, since we struggled with what should be present on the cover.

Choosing the right cover for volume 1 of 1806 Magazine was vital, since it would literally be the project's first impression to the world. It would also set a precedent for any forthcoming volumes. We wanted something that would attract the eye, pique curiosity, hint at the contents within, and create strong brand recognition. 

This first question we asked was, "Do we put a cocktail on the cover?" After all, this was to be a magazine that focuses on cocktail culture. As you'll see below, our instinct was no. We wanted to simply highlight the locality of the volume and draw people in with Collectif 1806's arcane logo and the tagline: "The defining stories of thirsty people." We knew that the personal stories and variety of photographs within would be interesting regardless of the reader's penchant for consuming cocktails. We didn't want to limit our potential audience by making a visual statement about the contents.

Alas, by the time we had placed a cocktail photo into the InDesign template, we knew that there was no going back. Fate was sealed for 1806 Magazine. Cover 8, as predicted, was quickly approved over the other options. Once the beautiful printed copies of the magazine were in hand, I had already forgotten about what could have been.

Looking back, I still have an attachment to number one, three, and five. Cover 1 served as the placeholder during the making of the magazine. The rays of light beaming down upon the dark silhouette of Manhattan seemed to nearly capture the inimitable spirit of New York and the people who live here. Plus, I just got used to looking at it.

As we toyed around with alternate covers, I was sold on Cover 3, which is the door to Do or Dive. I liked that it was a photo of a dive bar in Bed-Stuy and not some fancy cocktail bar in Manhattan. This is a place that NYC industry folk, who often live in Brooklyn, would easily stop after a shift for a shot and a beer. Also, the sign touted an undeniable message of hospitality: "You are always welcome here."

Cover 5 was taken under the elevated subway tracks of Queens. It had absolutely nothing to do with cocktails, but everything to do with New York City. Since our headline story ventured into the street art scene, and photos of street art would be scattered throughout, a graffitied cover made sense.

The final cover was actually a photo I took at a Collectif 1806 cocktail hour at Featherweight. It is of a Begonia cocktail, containing The Botanist Gin, Creme de Violette, Cointreau, Cocchi Americano, and Absinthe, crafted by Matthew Houlihan. Funny enough, I had only intended to use the photo for my Instagram (I did on January 23), as we had more or less wrapped the magazine. As cover doubts emerged in the magazine's finalization, I remembered the Begonia photo and decided to try it out. What do you think? A beautiful cocktail ended up as a beautiful cover.

 Cover 1

Cover 1

 Cover 2

Cover 2

 Cover 3

Cover 3

 Cover 4

Cover 4

 Cover 5

Cover 5

 Cover 6

Cover 6

 Cover 7

Cover 7

 Cover 8

Cover 8