How Did They Create That Cover? Western Living

The finalists for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards have been announced — including ten nominations in the Magazine Covers category.
In a new blog series titled How Did They Create That Cover? the NMAF chats with the creative directors of the Magazine Covers finalists about how their covers were made. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at things we may or may not think about when we pick up a magazine and devour its pages.
Today we chat with Paul Roelofs, art director at Western Living and creator of this nominated cover:

NMAF: Was this cover always what the magazine had in mind to depict the story, or were there other ideas? 
Paul: Not at all what we had in mind. The September issue is a landmark issue for us each year and features a large editorial package called Designers of the Year. It is a competition that WL hosts in many design categories. The issue celebrates the winners and there are quite large awards events that accompany the issue in Vancouver and Calgary. And so for the one issue each year we have the opportunity to break the mould, so to speak, and create something more conceptual.
The challenge is to find iconography that somehow covers the diversity of the categories, from architecture and interior design to fashion and industrial design, etc. Other thoughts ranged from creating a room set with pantone chips as artwork on the walls. Also: a still-life photograph of all different tools used across the genres.
NMAF: Why was the colour palette chosen to depict the Designers of the Year?
Paul: The visual icon was a swatch pad, like a pantone swatch fan. We landed on this since it seemed general enough to work across multiple design genres. As for the colours, we were inspired by Paul Smith colour palettes and embarked on creating our own palette that seemed fresh, bold and timeless, and not seasonal.
NMAF: How many people were involved in the making of this particular cover, and what role did you play?
Paul: Our entire senior group has a voice in this cover. We take a very collaborative approach. I drive the creative and so lead the group in partnership with the editor in chief. Once we landed on the idea, I sketched it out and contracted a 3D rendering artist, Mike Cormack, to help bring the idea to life. I had worked with Mike in the past for rendering retail products that were still in production and needed to be brought to life before they existed yet. We explored having a swatch fan built by a printing house and then photographed and retouched, but with the 3D rendering technology being so sophisticated today, it became the obvious choice for execution.
NMAF: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I spot Helvetica! Any reason behind the iconic font choice?  
Paul: That, my friend, is Univers and one of the fonts that debuted in the redesign that launched that same month.
This interview was edited for content. Special thanks to Nadya Domingo for conducting the interview.
More ‘How Did They Create That Cover?’Fashion MagazineToronto Life, BC Business
Check out the finalists for best Magazine Cover on our Facebook page. Share your feedback with us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14 | #MagazineCovers.
The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed on June 6 at the National Magazine Awards gala. [TICKETS]

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