20 covers that nail life under lockdown

Last month we looked at the ways that different magazine covers had represented the spread of Covid-19. Here we’ve selected 20 magazines that are staying relevant under lockdown.

Media brands from news publications such as Time to music magazines, beauty titles and even the comic Viz have all found ways of staying relevant to their audiences during the pandemic. Here are some of the most creative approaches to storytelling and design.

News and current affairs

News magazines have been faced with the challenge of covering the same story for three months, with the added difficulty of addressing events that change on a day-by-day basis. 

In one of its early lockdown covers, Time used a clever piece of design to discuss the economic impact of the pandemic.

Time cover

In this cover from June 2020, The Week riffed on the famous ‘Welcome to Skegness’ poster as photos of Britons crowding the beaches made the headlines across the UK.

The Week cover

Meanwhile, The Week‘s sister title, MoneyWeek, started to offer advice on how investors should be protecting their investments during a time of financial uncertainty.

MoneyWeek cover

Similarly, The Week‘s young-reader edition, The Week Junior, with the strapline ‘Making sense of the world’, has been finding ways of covering the pandemic while also informing and entertaining its readers. 

The Week Junior May 20

Here, The New European turns its eye to the politics behind America’s response to the pandemic by creating a pastiche of the famous still from the 1964 film Dr Strangelove.

The European cover

The Economist, true to its brand, takes a global view, dealing with the geopolitical impact of the pandemic.

The Economist cover

The Big Issue, now sold in supermarkets and on subscription while vendors are unable to work on the street, strikes a typically hard-hitting pose.

Big Issue 28 May 20 cover

Consumer and lifestyle

Consumer brands have a completely different challenge to address during the pandemic: how to provide manful content during a time when their audiences are living, shopping and consuming entertainment in a completely new way. Here, Grazia deals with a problem that in January we never knew we had: how to look good on a Zoom call, and Vogue features images of healthcare professionals working on the front line.

Vogue cover

Electronics and home entertainment technology magazine T3 uses lockdown as an opportunity to advise on a tech upgrade while Wired offers a guide to rebooting after Covid.

Wired Aug 20 Cover

Music magazine Q, unable to report on live music or conduct new photo shoots with interviewees, offered ‘life-changing aural medication’ alongside pictures of headphone-wearing musicians under lockdown.

Created by the team who had worked on Smash Hits, Q and Mojo, film magazine Empire had already published its May edition, including cinema closures and rescheduling of releases including Black Widow (the subject of that issue’s cover), before the details of lockdown had hit home.

While lockdown will have impacted on the title’s future content plans, the team behind Empire came back with a ‘Feelgood Special’ in June, featuring a piece by Tom Hanks on keeping hope alive. This issue also included Empire‘s regular TV streaming guide, Pilot, no doubt helping many of its readers plan their lockdown Netflix binges.

Empire cover Black Widow
Empire cover

Travel magazine Wanderlust addressed lockdown with its #wishiwasthere campaign and a special issue full of imagination-firing inspiration.

Wanderlust cover

Professional and B2B

Think’s professional membership magazines found fresh ways to deal with lockdown by addressing the impact of Covid on specific industries from shipping to project management. With the opportunity for photography limited, the teams behind these titles turned to clever uses of illustration and typography that showcase the best marriage of editorial and design.

Project magazine APM

Special interest

The world’s oldest photography magazine, The Journal of the Royal Photographic Society, also published by Think, featured stories from six photographers who were covering life during the pandemic, notably The Guardian‘s Jonny Weeks reporting from a treatment centre.

RPS Journal

Also dealing with Covid-19 from its own unique perspective, ArtReview Asia married this cover image with the perfect single-line headline ‘Reskinning’.

Art Review Asia cover

At the more esoteric end of the spectrum, ‘The Journal of Strange Phenomena’ Fortean Times reported on medieval plague doctors and Covid conspiracy theories, Science Focus takes a more empirical approach with a coverlid that grabs attention and offers hope. “The race for a vaccine: How scientists will end the pandemic – and prevent the next one.”

Science Focus March 20
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