By Steve Smith
2020 was a strange year in many ways. A global pandemic and all the economic, cultural and emotional turmoil that it caused, a presidential election like no other in modern history, so many things to make you want to treat an entire year as if it were a bad dream. In place of what would normally be our “Best Stories of 2020” feature, I’m offering something a little different.
You can tell a lot about our culture just by looking at the covers of our most prominent magazine. Not the ones that tell you about celebrity births and break-ups, but the ones that chronicle our American journey. From the Esquire and Ladies Home Journal covers designed by creative trailblazers like our friends George Lois and Don Adamec, to Time magazine’s skillful depiction of Trump-era political upheaval, the covers themselves often tell the stories.
The design team at NYT magazine spent a year documenting their design process in a revealing video series that takes us on a tour of the entire year, the story of 2020 as told by 52 magazine covers.