A more Asian approach to concept covers

London is not the only place doing creative magazine covers. Last July, Jetstar Asia kissed goodbye its long run of celebrity covers and took a more conceptual approach. Group editor Anne Loh and deputy editor Kimberly Koo provide some background of what went into making the two most recent covers:

Jetstar Asia February cover: origami and Japanese woodblock print on Japanese paper

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This cover, for the story on Japanese hot-spring bathing, features two centuries-old traditional art forms that became widespread during the Edo period: woodblock printing (moku hanga) and paper folding (origami). The Jetstar Asia team – Anthony Gonzales (art director) and Aaron Low (photo editor) – and a Singaporean-Japanese colleague Juri, created the cover composition. The cherry blossoms and the lady donning a kimono are featured on a woodblock print in the shape of a circle. The sphere is inspired by the red disc on the Japanese flag.

Jetstar Asia March cover: sand, religious figurines and a diver paper cut-out in a fishbowl:

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This cover, for the feature on the 15th anniversary of a reef restoration project in Pemuteran Bay, is an installation impression of the underwater gallery in the Indonesian bay. Actual religious figures were covered with stone-textured paint to produce the effect of submerged relics. These miniature statues, along with sand and the cut-out, were immersed in a filled fishbowl. The composition was photographed against a dark blue backdrop to simulate the marine environment. The cover was art directed by Anthony Gonzales and shot by Adrian Koh of Gaia Films. (Posted by AKarplus)

110 in 5*

Christmas came early this year (well, today) as the Asian Publishing Awards announced its list of winners for 2014. A total of 10 awards have been given to Ink Singapore titles, bringing the tally of awards won in the last five years to 110 *(thanks to Hamish for that stat). Wins came in two categories — the Gold Award and the Excellence Award —and if you want to see who won what, just keep scrolling down. Congratulations, everybody, what a great way to close 2014. (Posted by Tara Sering)

Jetstar Asia, Gold Award for Best Use of Illustration

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Scoot, Gold Award for Best Editorial Brand Projection

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Smile for Cebu Pacific Airlines, Gold Award for Best Wellness Feature

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Smile for Cebu Pacific Airlines, Gold Award for Best Use of Typography

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Jetstar Asia July 2014, Excellence Award for Best Cover Design

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Scoot, Excellence Award for Best Cover Design

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Fah Thai‘s “Welcome to the Punch”, Excellence Award for Best Photo Documentary

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Tiger Tales for Tigerair’s “Aloha, Taiwan”, Excellence Award for Best Use of Illustration

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Fah Thai, Excellence Award for Best Use of Illustration

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Tiger Tales for Tigerair’s “On the road again”, Excellence Award for Best Use of Illustration

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Totes amazeballs Jetstar

Jetstar Australia underwent a complete overhaul in May and it gets better and better with each issue. The September book stars comedy duo The Bondi Hipsters on the cover. Inside, Dom Nader and Adrian Archer give us their comedic take on a guidebook style piece. The inclusion of three pugs was one of those lucky breaks – art director Taryn Yat seconded the critters from a passerby on the shoot. French bulldogs, after all, are so 2013.

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For the redesign we introduced more lifestyle content with lots of food and drink, fashion, beauty & men’s grooming and social trends, while features are more creative in execution. Here’s a photo-essay about lindy hoppers in Bangkok and a behind-the-scenes look at musical theatre in Melbourne, also from September. To see more go to ink-live.com

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Posted by Liz Weselby / Elisabeth Knowles

Konichiwa!

Hello from Jetstar Japan, Ink’s first Japanese magazine. As part of the Jetstar stable, it follows the same format as the Australian and Asian editions (already published by Ink), and we’re delighted with how the first four issues have turned out. We’ve also learned a lot about how things operate in Japan: the production process is completely different.

In Japan, the writers’ allegiance is with the people/places they’re writing about rather than the magazine they’re writing for. Permission has to be requested from those we are featuring: even shrines want to see a hard copy of the magazine before they’ll agree to being included in the story. Everyone one gets to have final approval on the story before it goes to press and any text cut by the sub-editor has to be approved by the writer.

Cover images are especially tricky to deal with, and involve everyone from the PR, movie/music companies, to the photographer and celebrities themselves. From the get-go, only a very few selected images are cleared for use by the publicist, even when the entire shoot had been commissioned and paid for by us.

Photography is mostly done in studios, as an outdoor shoot would involve cover a celeb’s entire entourage, and would cost three times as much (which explains why most Japanese magazines have static, single-coloured backgrounds for covers). And once a high resolution image has been agreed upon for use, no further digital-imaging work can be done to unless approved by the photographer. No colour-correction, change of background colour or even minor cosmetic touch-ups are allowed. It is often considered an insult to the photographer if the image has been ‘tampered’ with in anyway. Even a small change (example, the colour or position of the coverlines, however slight) once the mock-up has been approved is seen as being fickle and is frowned upon. Everything has to be ‘perfect’ before being sent  – anything less is considered very ‘shameful’.

We’re on a huge learning curve with this magazine because of the amount of respect we have to accord to celebrities and their managers, photographers and writers. It seems the editor and art director are only ones who don’t command any respect at all. (Posted by Liz Weselby, Anne Loh and Terence Goh)

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