Still More Inspiration, or...???

Still More Inspiration, or...??? We've got another example of cover design inspiration, one of the boldest to date. Portland Monthly art director Jason Blackheart sent us two covers "inspired" by his original December 2006 cover. Read his comments after the jump...

(Left) : Portland Monthly, December 2006. Art director: Jason Blackheart, photographer: Steve Bonini. (Center): Sacramento, June 2010. Art director: Debbie Hurst, photographer: Gabriel Teague.  (Right): Toronto Post, The Kids edition, Fall 2010. Art director: Lance Garvey, photographer: Steve Bonini.

Jason Blackheart, art director of Portland Monthly: We had our jacket manufactured at Settlemier's, a local, family-run shop that does a lot of custom work for Nike. I designed the type and the palette of the jacket and they took it from there. Earlier this year Sacramento magazine called me and asked how we executed our cover, whether we faked it or had the jacket manufactured. During the conversation I got the sense she was feeling me out to see how I felt about them using the idea, but I didn't really think much of it at the time. All designers steal, and I'm more than happy to give a hand or advice to peers. What I wasn't prepared for was how literally they copied our cover--right down to the type, color, and pose. I was disappointed that they just copied the idea, instead of stealing it in a more playful way.

About a month later I was contacted by the Toronto Post, looking to outright purchase our cover image. I happily passed them along to the photographer, Steve Bonini, who sold them the image. The scale of the Post is much bigger than our magazine, so it was nice to see more of the image, and the figure feels a little less crowded. However, they tried to fake flocking on the type below, which just makes it look blurry and kills some of the elegance of the actual jacket. That said, they did send us a giant cookie, two feet in diameter, in thanks for helping them out. I'm still waiting for as much as a Twinkie from Sacramento!

Related stories:
Another "Inspiration?" Cover  New York / St. Louis
More "Inspired" Covers  Esquire / Wizard / Texas Monthly
Homage, Inspiration, or ...  TIME / The Village Voice
Rolling Stone: Deja Vu?  Friends / Glee
Inspiration, or...  New York / Seattle
More Inspiration...  Billboard / Mediaweek
Eat Cheap Eats  New York / Time Out New York
  • Brandon Kavulla

    Also just kind of a bummer that they can't be INSPIRED by the original cover as opposed to just wanting to make a carbon copy of it.

    Like, what other objects are associated with high school that also have type on them?

    (actually kind of hard to think of school related objects that DON'T have lettering of some kind)

    Cheerleader uniforms, books, notebooks, pencils, tests, mascots (two mascots arm wrestling! come on!), buses, chalkboards...

  • Nancy Stamatopoulos

    p.s. hmmmmm. I wonder if the Editor said to the AD: "I want you to do this 'Portland' cover... EXACTLY." (ever have one of those bosses?)

  • Nancy Stamatopoulos

    Right?! Just turning the head in the other direction would have been a slight variation at least.

    Jason, you're right about the "exact pickup" being disappointing. It is a great compliment to you that Sacto "lifted" the idea. But for originality and just plain fun experimentation, changing the color scheme and model's style could have made their cover "their own."

  • abucci

    actually they at least asked. though it would have been better if sacto could have changed the jacket colour.

  • Benjamen Purvis

    Hard to defend this one.

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