I looked at several issues of Esquire but the few that I decided to feature have Cameron Diaz, James Franco, Chris Roth, and Bar Refaeli on the covers.
The magazine prides itself on being at the edge of sophistication and culture, and in effort to do so I have deduced that they view their cover most certainly as their first introduction to the audience that displays those goals. Each one of these individuals on the cover, were the talk of the town at the time at which their covers were released.
I believe they use a twelve-column grid, but unlike other magazines their big claim to fame is that they ignore gutters and margins entirely as it relates to the layouts of their type and images on their covers.
The most common and regular design element is the Esquire logo that resides always in the same place, sometimes in a different color but always sneaking into the viewer’s eye placed behind the cover image. Also, the cover usually is comprised of about five to seven top stories that are spread across the page in various weights but not necessarily various fonts, sometimes even running together. Rarely, such as the case of Cameron Diaz’s cover will they stretch one story out in large type and use it as the primary type for the cover.
My favorite thing about the covers of Esquire magazine is that for the most part besides the obvious accentuation of the cover story, none of the other headlines are competing for size or land on the cover. Most are the same size and weight and are given equal representation on the page. To me this sends a message as a reader that the publication is proud of each one of their stories versus trying to bury one of less interest among more popular stories.
Unfortunately, the visuals in Esquire aren’t uber creative nor innovative. I think they rely heavily on their clever headlines and graphic layout of the images and text to carry or supplement the lack of creative photography, which is much more straightforward.
The tone of the magazine is very big and bold. This is highly exemplified by their constant disregard for the traditional magazine and print layouts respect to gutters and lines among the grid. It sends a message to readers that we know what’s important and we’re going to show you why it is. Also, the continuity among the size, font, and weight of the cover lines of type send a message that no story is more important than the other.
Consistency is highly maintained from issue to issue. As a strength, Esquire is very routine, calculated, and strategic; which I have learned can be a benefit in the present, but a hindrance in the future. They rely on the same graphic elements and techniques per issue until revenue or audience response changes, and then they are forced to address it, which is their weakness.
Overall, if Esquire consistently would look for new minute ways to introduce their audience to new creative graphic and visual elements they may perhaps see they bring in a new set of clientele as well.