Fast Company’s covers are usually unmistakable thanks to their consistent use of space in the page. Not only is their use of typography very recognizable, but they always seem to make use bright colors and a consistent placement of the subject. After looking at several covers, I noticed that they usually push their story heds to either side of the cover, but never put anything in the middle. As for their grid, it’s a bit inconsistent, but I’ve only seen two variations so far which is a wider column for the main story, and a thinner column for the smaller ones, the measurement seems to be consistent within those.
Even though they make us of attention-grabbing bright colors, they keep their color palette to a minimum, usually making sure they use no more than two (aside from black) colors in their typography or other design elements. This makes the the magazine feel sharp and cohesive, like it’s sure of itself.
The number of stories represented is never more than five. However, it can go as low as two, depending on how big/important their main story is, which keeps the readers on their toes. The hierarchy within this elements is great. The eye has a clear path to go to once it reads the cover: it starts on the biggest story, for example, “Gwyneth Knows Best,” reads the subhed, and goes directly down and up to the second column from there. They make use of this visual path in most of the covers I’ve seen.
Another thing to note is they always feature a celebrity on their covers, usually overlaid over their Fast Company Logo. The person is usually only represented in a mid-range shot. It’s extremely rare that they have a cover with more than one person in it. Since the magazine is about entrepreneurship and business, most of these celebrities naturally own their businesses or are partaking in a new endeavor. This plays into the tone and attitude of the magazine, which is a powerful, confident, and successful.
All in all, I believe Fast Company has one of the most consistent uses of space in a cover that I’ve seen.