Ben A-Fail

Ho Ho Ho! Christmas season is upon us and it’s starting to get chilly! As I was looking through our monthly arrival of magazines at work I noticed Ben Affleck was on the covers of both Details Mag (Oct 2014) and Vanity Fair Italy (Nov 2014). Two covers, Two magazines, one picture, drastically different feel.

BenAffleck-DetailsVanityfair2014Let’s dive in shall we? So I picked these two guys because VF Italy chose to re-use the Details cover photo and I thought it was really interesting to see how different the same photo looks depending on how its cropped.

The photography is by Mark Seliger. I’m not going to lie, I don’t love it (at least the cover shots, the pictures inside are quite nice though). Affleck’s face looks a little weird here, his expression isn’t great. This is not so much of a problem on the Details Mag cover because its a full body shot and since his head isn’t that big you’re not focusing on it.

However, on the VF Italy cover, they zoomed in…probably a tad too much. All the odd things that weren’t standing on on the Details cover stand out here: His eyes, the weird way he’s frowning (is he scared or cold? or plotting to kill you maybe). You get my point. But, but! branding wise, VF Italy made a good call. The photo looks like it was shot for them when it wasn’t and really stays inside the Vanity Fair identity mold.

I love that these two particular magazines are using the same photo, its a perfect example of how one of them had to adapt and make a photo they didn’t produce, work for them. It’s not a great cover photo but hey they made due, so kuddos.


About joannabehar

Graphic Designer, hand-letterer, illustrator, wanderer, recovering nut butter addict.


  1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two magazines use the same cover photo. Is this very common? I thought each had their own photographers and art directors and did their own shoots.

    • It is quite common, especially with publications who have less money than their U.S. counterparts like VF Italy. It’s called a lift, they make sure the subjects they chose work well with the identity of the magazine and since in this case Details is also Conde Nast it’s easier for them to get approval for a lift. It’s the same with every mag, if you look at my “GQ goes interstellar” post, I show how french GQ lifted their November McConaughey cover from last year’s GQ U.S.

      • But the McConaughey covers all look like different photos. Here it looks like the exact same photo. Do the mags sell/give the photos to each other? Does the subject provide the photo himself to two different mags? I’d expect a publication to very jealously guard an exclusive cover photo.

      • It is the same photo, magazines from the same group often do that especially the foreign ones who have less money to spend on covers. Conde Nast is a big company, they have the advantage of getting a dibs on a photo series before that series becomes available to buy by other publications a few months later. Publications aren’t that jealous in a case like this because it’s the same group and a different country. Vanity Fair France often lifts covers from Vanity Fair U.S. because it is a lot cheaper than producing a whole cover shoot and we can’t always afford it. =)

      • Got it. Thanks for all the great info. 🙂

  2. love your blog! and VF Fr! Hoping you join Pinterest! As a design student and life long magazine collector your blog is a dream come true. Please continue with these “lift” covers comparison. Are you familiar with THE FASHION SPOT forums? I’d love to send you an invite! Thanks for all of your wonderful insight. Looking forward to future posts!

    • Hi Sam, thank you! I’m glad you like my blog. I am using pinterest but I’m not too much on there ;). I’m not familiar with the fashion spot but would love to know more about it. Thanks for the support!

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