Trends Cover Thumbnails


Here’s a sneak peek into my process for working on the AAHA Trends magazine covers. The magazine has over 30,000 subscribers so we’ve got all the official peeps working on it from designers (including me), to copywriters, to copyeditors, to an editor. Which means there’s an official process for getting it done. I’m usually given a general direction from the editor, or at the very least the feature article title, and from there I’ll do about 6 thumbnails like the ones above. They’re pretty crude but they’re meant for exploration and they need to be fast. Timing is everything when you’re on set deadlines, especially when it’s for print because you need to fit in the printer’s schedule.

I’ll forward the thumbnails to the editor and a few others. The editor ultimately decides which direction to go and from there I’m given free rein to design it. For this issue of Trends, we picked the last thumbnail since it communicated the message best. I mentally debated on hand drawing it, but I felt like the illustration worked better in a vector/flat style so that’s the direction I went.


It ended up being exactly the same as the thumbnail, which isn’t always the case, but this issue was super straight-forward and easy. The team is easy to work with too so making these covers is always a great time.

Would you have picked a different thumbnail?