ASME: Is Good Cover Design Dead?

In keeping with the magazine industry’s longtime love affair with lists (“Top 5 Things Magazines Love: Lists, Sex Advice, iPods, Eva Longoria, and… Surprises!”), the American Society of Magazine Editors has announced their Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years.

Making the list are some predictable choices: Saul Steinberg’s “View of the World from 9th Avenue,” in The New Yorker; George Lois’ Andy Warhol drowning in Campbell’s soup for Esquire, and… surprises!

But less well-publicized was ASME’s Worst 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years. Twenty of the selected covers were of the cast of Desperate Housewives in various configurations. The remaining 20 are listed below:

Vanity Fair, September 2005 (Paris Hilton Wearing White Her Way!).

Tie: Rolling Stone, November 27, 2003 (Housewife of the Year: Jessica Simpson); January 17, 1985 (The Secret Life of Hall and Oates).

New York, August 16, 2004 (Defending Joel Steinberg).

Spin, September 2000 (Creed Confess Their Sins).

Tie: TIME, July 5, 1999 (Cruise & Kidman Like You’ve Never Seen Them); January 24, 2000 (The Big Deal: How The AOL-Time Warner Merger Happened).

Esquire, December 1995 (Jim Carrey Feels No Pain).

The New Yorker, January 31, 1994 (AKA, ‘Anthropomorphic Hassidic Bull with Horns‘).

Eleven-Way Tie: GQ, February 1998 (Big Ben: Ben Affleck Bellies Up to Stardom); Details, July 1999 (Ben Affleck: Armageddon‘s Rocket Man); Premiere, August 1999 (Ben Affleck Kicks Asteroid!); Vanity Fair, October 1999 (Ben Affleck: Gwyneth, Girl Talk, And the Whole Matt Thing); Talk, October 2000 (Ben Affleck: “People say I should live like a rock star”); People, February 21, 2000 (The Real Ben Affleck); GQ, May 2001 (Ben Affleck’s Journey To Manhood); Details, April 2002 (Ben Affleck’s True Hollywood Story); US Weekly, August 12, 2002 (J.Lo & Ben’s Hot New Love); People, August 12, 2002 (J.Lo & Ben Affleck’s Red-Hot Romance); US Weekly, November 4, 2002 (J.Lo & Ben Wedding on the Way?).

Matt Haber