Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Cover Story V

What is up with The Nation's covers these days? Ever since Open stopped designing them last September, they've swung toward the inscrutable and sloppy. Take the Feb. 16 edition as an example. Featuring a large, almost centered cover line for the Katha Pollitt-penned "Judith Steinberg Dean Meets the Press," readers are given a poorly cut-and-pasted amalgamation of the campaigning couple and a menagerie of animals. Ostensibly representing the press, a lizard, toucan, pig, rhino, sheep, and the requisite snarling dogs bleed off the bottom and right edges of the cover. While the animal image edges are softened, Judith and Howard fare less well and are left without necks and badly cut-out hair.

Shame on you, Nation. Not only should Pollitt's page and a half-long column (a rarity, granted) column not eclipse Lutz Kleveman's longer feature on the great game of oil, but the design is a hatchet job. Perhaps the piece came in late and the cover was slapped together to be timely. I hope that's the case. Regardless, while it may be true that many somebodies read the Nation while no one owns it, some of those somebodies are designers, as well as dissenters. And around the nation, those dissenting designers wince. The Nation can do better.

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