Cover Fight 2.0 : Vanity Fair V.S. Billboard: Rihanna


Cover Fight time!
Vanity Fair U.S. released their November issue a few weeks ago and after digging around a little I came across a Billboard issue from October 2010 that I couldn’t help but notice similarities with. This called for a cover fight, obviously.


No doubt these are very different covers BUT but, some things echo a bit. Funny coincidences that I can’t help but notice. I’ll start with the typography because it’s the first thing that stands out. Both covers make a very strong statement with a sans serif bold font for Rihanna’s name. Add to that the gradient and we have a match. It works better on the Vanity Fair cover though. It stands out without overpowering the logo unlike on the Billboard cover. I really don’t like that fade they have going either on Billboard, a plain gradient would have been better here, (or crazy thought: no gradient at all?).

The photography: VF nailed it, Rihanna looks hot and this cover definitely stands out. Annie Leibovitz did it again…Billboard used the a shot from the “LOUD” album photoshoot. I don’t love it but it certainly stands out. What I can’t help notice is that the Billboard cover hasn’t really aged much. It’s five years old but it survived quite well. The type though is a little cheap for my taste, it’s just slapped on there. The line spacing is super tight and it’s very static overall. There is a bit too much going on with the colors on the back of the headlines and whatnot.

Now on the other hand I have always been a total sucker for all the little details on the Vanity Fair covers (and inside the issues as well). It’s fun, you actually want to read the headlines and it is, for a lack of a better word, yummy. Details make design so much more fun, especially type details. The only thing I don’t really like on this cover is the combination of gradient PLUS drop shadow on the Rihanna type. However, after testing it myself and only doing one or the other, this was definitely the better choice, what do you know!

This was not even close to a fight, if it were, VF would have knocked out billboard cold in the first round.


About joannabehar

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

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