Jan 9, 2014

The Business of Music: Billboard Magazine Covers

The past year saw an impressive set of covers from weekly trade magazines, including AdWeek, Advertising Age, The Hollywood Reporter, and especially Billboard, under the direction of creative director Andrew Horton. This week the Billboard ownership announced a change in leadership and editorial direction which signals a revamp of the magazine’s content, design, and visuals. I’ve been a big fan of the Billboard redesign (done last year by Pentagram), which brought energy, elegance, and order to the magazine, with a very modern flavor. Andrew Horton’s cover designs have been consistently bright, surprising, engaging, and artful, with a brilliant rotating crew of photographers and illustrators. The covers skillfully balance the mission of the magazine, which is to report the business of the music industry while maintaining a sense of style and celebrity. Like the front page image of The New York Times, the Billboard cover is a snapshot in time, a look at the week’s hottest pop star or group (thanks to my two young daughters I at least have a sense of who most of the cover artists are). Horton looks like he’s been having a lot of fun designing those covers. He’s added cool graphic elements like metallic inks, special printing treatments, cover flaps, and other specialties that create a rich, lush feel. There’s a mix of original and pick-up photography, but the design and presentation make it all look unique to the magazine. Here are 10 favorite Billboard covers from the past year, all designed by Andrew Horton.

(Above): November 2, 2013. Photograph: Emily Berl

02 Janelle Cover

June 15, 2013. Photograph: Marc Baptiste

03 Pink

December 14, 2013. Photograph: Andrew Macpherson

04 Samsung Cover

June 29, 2013. Illustration: Brian Stauffer


March 16, 2013. Photograph: Chris Buck

07 Prince Hi-Rez cover

January 26, 2013. Photograph: Justine Walpole

08 Pandora Cover

Illustration: Raul Allen

10 Rod Stewart Cover

May 4, 2013. Photograph: Art Streiber

09 Dave Grohl

February 9, 2013. Photograph: Christopher Beyer

05 Pearl Jam

October 19, 2013. Photograph: Danny Clinch

More info:

Billboard Relaunches in Print, Web, Tablet

Andrew Horton’s BusinessWeek Covers