Time magazine's latest issue hits newsstands tomorrow (and subscribers' mailboxes Saturday), but the cover is already out, featuring Rana Foroohar's story on the turmoil in Europe. It is striking, but it also seems familiar. It reminds us of some of Businessweek's recent covers, with sans-serif text superimposed on an arresting image. National Journal's Niraj Chokshi tweeted "The new cover of Time magazine is arresting/beautiful" while Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge wrote that may capture today's zeitgeist and that "unfortunately for Europe (and maybe the west), this cover in retrospect will be spot on."
No one would call it a rip-off, but compare Time's newest cover to Businessweek's lauded "The Kids Are Not Alright" cover from February. If not directly inspired, it does seem like Time has borrowed some of the same aesthetic.
It's not unusual for visual styles to catch on and spread through the magazine industry. And Time's latest issue is certainly a departure from their recent signature look, which typically black headline text over an image on a white field. You can see some other examples at their cover gallery. It wouldn't be surprising if they soaked in some of Businessweek 's ideas. The magazine has been lavished with praise, especially for its visuals, since it redesigned last year after Michael Bloomberg's media conglomerate purchased it from McGraw-Hill in late 2009. Businessweek's covers, whose designs are coordinated by Richard Turley, have in particular received a lot of positive feedback.
The superimposed-text-on-photo design, however, has become a staple of Businessweek's latest covers. In a recent interview Turley said that the typeface is the main conceptual points of his design. "It's kind of a nerdy thing to concentrate on," he told Business Insider. "Using Helvetica is a little bit risky because it's such a well known typeface, and you kind of see it everywhere." And as for borrowing, when he unveiled their 9/11 anniversary cover last week, Turley wrote on his Tumblr that he had done a bit of borrowing himself. "And yes yes, the cover owes a debt of inspiration to Mark Farrow’s Spiritualized album cover," he wrote.