Paste Magazine Covers

Designing the cover has always been a big deal to me — from Vogue to a local zine, a cover has to embody that issue’s content and flavor while staying within the style guidelines of the publication. It’s really a great exercise in branding and brand flexibility, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. But that wasn’t always the case ….
I started freelancing for Paste  in the middle of my senior finals. The simplicity of the above cover I think goes to reference my constant panic and lack of sleep, frantically pushing letters around while trying to pay attention in my Ancient Greek Art lectures and wonder if I had everything in my bag for my bartending job later on. It’s overusing the sharpen tool because everything looks blurry, and then realizing your glasses have fallen off your face and your face has fallen into your oatmeal. College, man.


I got a hold of it and started to flex a little bit — the tall Ls in the Elvis Costello cover are a reference to one of his albums. I try to sneak in designy easter eggs, but honestly, I’m probably the only one that gets them.


For example, the type I used in “Best Music” is a font called Muchacho, which is also the name of the Phosphorescent album we chose as #1 for 2013. Also, this cover image was great — me emailing my boss asking “can we use the naked tub one? Ummm”


For Kristen Bell, I think I spent too much time on the ultimately weak lettering and less time on what the background could’ve been. It was me trying to do too much of the wrong thing — it’s not worked in very well, but I do like how it looks independent of the cover.


This was my first experience working with the amazing illustrations of Timothy Banks. I’m so in awe of how lovely his style is, and I wanted to represent the cover text without taking away from his work. If I could’ve made it 5pt and in the far corner, I would have. Tim’s work rules, and he’s so nice.


Saga was incredibly fun to work with, because Paste doesn’t often have illustrations on the cover besides Tim’s work. This is based on a series of comics, and so I tried to refer to it with the halftone and Komika text.

Hey listen, I’m gonna let you finish, but this cover gave me the biggest headache of all TIME. I learned that reds don’t fare well in Facebook’s image compression algorithm, and using pure red is like the dumbest idea on the planet.


Starting to get more comfortable with color choice and pairing typefaces together.


Finally, a cover I was in love with. I have nothing I’d change on this one.


I feel similarly about Dum Dum Girls. It’s bright, the colors are punchy like her lips, and there’s still some texture in there to work with her fur coat.


Tried to play with decorating the insides of type, like I’d done with the Rosanne Cash cover. It looks great at full size, but didn’t transfer well to thumbnail sizes. As with the Kristen Bell type, it looks cool apart from the cover, but could be worked in a little better.Issue128Cover

What a tragic loss of an amazing actor. This one was supposed to be solemn. I’m pleased with how it turned out.


St. Vincent was so much fun to do — the pictures I chose from were so epic, I had a hard time deciding. The stark black and white was a little difficult to manage with type, so I decided to make it a little more dynamic.


For Drive-By Truckers, I wanted to hint at the southern roots with the stars and distressed type. This was when I learned to warp text in Illustrator, and went down the rabbit whole for an hour or so.


This cover is to celebrate the relaunch of Paste Magazine, with new rebranded sections. I drew all of this by hand (except the “new era” bit), and also created a wallpaper download for your computer, smartphone, or tablet. 



The images for Elbow were funny — they were all oriented horizontally (that is, the whole image was what you see below the text). I used some Photoshop magic to extend the photo and turn it into a beautiful background for the type. Very pleased with how this one turned out.


And here’s today’s cover! The Black Lips are a super sweet punk band, and I had to deal with how busy of an image this was. The colors in it are amazing, and I hope I get to work with another image as trippy as this. Well, I guess I hope I get to work with any of these images again.