I figured the answer to my question had to lie somewhere within past cover designs. So I did a little research online to look at WAY past issues of the magazine. I explored covers from the 20th to the 21rst century and oh boy was there some good stuff. (you can find a little visual at the end of this post of all the covers I looked at.)
I saw this one summer cover that I loved from 1970 and instantly thought, “wonder what this would look like if we modernized it a bit…” I don’t need to tell you what happened next… (excuse the picture quality, I didn’t really look for a higher res)
I only spend a couple hours on this as I was trying mostly to re-dreate an existing style from and old issue. Now I did tweak the original copy a bit (mostly shortened it), and for those of you who’d want to know what fonts I used, here is a little list as well as where I used the specific typeface (see image below for details). Benton Modern display Ultra for the headline, a mix of Arial narrow bold and simple bold for the sans serif text and finally Bauer Bodoni Std1 bold italics for the subheads.
And finally here are some of the covers I looked at when I was digging around, I was trying to see the evolution based on 10 year jumps. It looks like they started going type crazy in the 60s, too bad because the 1952 cover is really nice.