by Shane de Lange (@shanenilfunct) Let’s delve into great media design from South Africa and around the world:

  • ArtReview — local/print
  • BACCALÀ — online
  • FUSE — iconic
  • Lucky Peach — international/print
  • Newsweek — international/print
  • VISI — local/print

Find a cover we should know about? Tweet us at @Marklives and @shanenilfunct.
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VISI (South Africa), 8 September 2017

VISI, 8 September 2017 — Zeitz MOCAA

The cover for the October/November 2017 issue of VISI magazine introduces a new feature in the landscape of African art, after the launch of the much-anticipated Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. The cover depicts Githan Coopoo, assistant curator of costume, appreciating a work by renowned South African artist, Penny Siopis, titled “Tranfigure III”, currently on display in the museum.

Originally built in 1921, this appropriated grain silo complex has been repurposed into an important cultural institution. Designed by internationally accomplished architect, Thomas Heatherwick, the structure has undergone a mammoth metamorphosis, transformed as a testament to contemporary African art, and art from the African diaspora, opening Africa to the world.


Newsweek (US), 29 September 2017

Newsweek, 29 September 2017 - Donald Trump

Quoting the famous line from the lyrics to the song “Insane in the Brain” by the infamous hip-hop band, Cyprus Hill, this issue of Newsweek doesn’t need to say much more regarding the president of America. The silhouette of Donald Trump is burgeoning, amplified by dramatic background lighting and a subtle use of typography; his hair is the only detail that the reader can see.

One would be forgiven for taking this cover on surface value, given that tensions have increased between North Korea and the US, resulting in a nuclear crisis with the potential for a declaration of all-out nuclear war. Trump’s ‘sovereignty talk’ at the UN General assembly was provocative, to say the least. His domestic woes are increasingly in the news, with ongoing attempts to replace former president Barack Obama’s healthcare plan (‘Obamacare’), alongside his open criticism of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem in protest against police brutality, and the Supreme Court cancelling arguments on the president’s travel ban. All this displays how far America, not just the far right, has progressed in seemingly losing its mind, selling its soul and shifting away from a perspective that advocates freedom towards an ideology that propagates authoritarianism.


ArtReview (UK), Summer Issue, September 2017

Collage - ArtReview Summer September 2017 - Zanele Muholi - and Nandipha Mntambo by Pieter Hugo

An imposing self-portrait of South African photographer and artist-activist, Zanele Muholi, titled “Ntozakhe II” (2016), adorns the cover for the Summer 2017 issue of ArtReview. The portrait forms part of a series called Somnyama Ngonyama, meaning “Hail the Dark Lioness”, currently on exhibition in both the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (closing 15 October) and Autograph ABP in London (closing 28 October). This cover celebrates Muholi’s first solo exhibitions in Amsterdam and London that are hosted by major public institutions, exhibiting over 60 self-portraits from the Somnyama Ngonyama series.

Aside from Muholi’s own personal artistic inquiry, the cover portrait reminds one of another iconic South African photographer, and fellow Stevenson Gallery artist, Pieter Hugo — particularly Hugo’s series titled, “There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends”. His portrait of Nandipha Mntambo (2012), another resident of the Stevenson stable, comes close in surface appearance to the ArtReview cover, made by converting colour images to grayscale while maintaining and altering the colour channels to enhance the appearance of his sitter’s skin pigment, drawing attention to the notion of acceptable beauty in popular culture. This is not dissimilar, perhaps even parallel, to Muholi’s narrative.

Muholi’s portraits confront the often-hostile socio-political context within which lesbian and transgender South African women have to exist. Her narrative includes an element of self-invention, deconstructing beauty, exposing the contradictions of race and gender distinctions in society.


Lucky Peach (US), Final Double Issue, #24 and #25 combined, 2017

Lucky Peach, Final Double Issue, issues 24 and 25 combined, 2017

Lucky Peach is a New York Times bestselling quarterly journal, and nine-time James Beard award-winner, including 2016 Publication of the Year. Despite setting some of the highest standards in the publishing industry, the recent demise of the magazine comes as a surprise. Lucky Peach seems to have died in much the same manner that it lived, embracing flux and always disruptive. Every issue had a theme, using tasteful art, typography and photography, to investigate food and writing. Issues 24 and 25 have been condensed into one final double issue release, highlighting the most-memorable moments for each issue in Lucky Peach’s existence.



BACCALÀ (US), Fall/Winter Issue, September 2017

BACCALÀ online, Fall Winter Issue, September 2017

Based in Milan and Los Angeles, BACCALÀ is a large-format independent publication that focuses on fashion, art and photography. The name is inspired by the Italian saying, “Sei proprio un baccalà”, which compares the brash and foolhardy among us as tantamount to Cod fish. Baccalà, or salted cod, is a traditional Italian dish which has flavor sans any offensive smell, and is used here as a humorous analogy for driven young people who still have a lot to learn but have the talent and ambition to achieve anything.

A typeface of choice, recalling Italian futurism, is used for the magazine’s logotype. Combined with great art direction and photography, and textbook layout, this makes the printed version of the publication a pleasure to behold. The publication’s online presence is particularly strong, with a visually interactive spread, aesthetically considered user experience, parallax scrolling, and responsive design that would attract even the most-hardened creative types.

Working hard yet playing harder, humorous yet serious, BACCALÀ promotes a reverence for the past while nurturing the youthfulness of the present.



FUSE (UK), Issue 1, 1991

FUSE issue 1 in 1991 and issues 2 and 6

FUSE was a pioneering publication that took a subversive approach to design and typography, showcasing early experimental contributions from a few of the most-influential names in design today, including Stefan Sagmeister, Tobias Frere-Jones, David Carson, Peter Saville, and Bruce Mau, to name a few.

First published by Neville Brody, Erik Spiekermann and Jon Wozencroft in 1991, the original cardboard package for FUSE #1 contained a 3.5” floppy disk, which had digital fonts designed by respective contributors and four posters designed by Brody, Ian Swift, Phil Baines and Malcolm Garrett. Each accompanying issue came with a floppy disk containing bespoke digital fonts, which were also used in the design of the foldout posters. Many of these fonts have been lost, with the posters being the only form of documentation, due to the unreliability and short lifespan of floppy disks.

Eighteen issues were initially released of FUSE before its downfall, published and distributed by FontShop, which was also founded by Spiekermann with Brody’s involvement. The point of the publication was to reclaim typography from the often-tragic standards during the early days of digital type design. The magazine explored various typographic approaches, including unorthodox exercises in architectural form, sculptural dimension, and organic depth, at all times pushing the limits of legibility and readability, acting in defiance of the grid in typical 90s graphic-design fashion and attempting to make typography more poetic and less formal.



Shane de LangeShane de Lange (@shanenilfunct) is a designer, writer, and educator currently based in Cape Town, South Africa, working in the fields of communication design and digital media. He works from Gilgamesh, a small design studio, and is a senior lecturer in graphic design at Vega School in Cape Town. Connect on Pinterest and Instagram.

Cover Stories, formerly MagLove, is a regular slot deconstructing media cover design, both past and present.

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