The function of Metropolis’s cover is to pull the viewer into the magazine. Through the design, including colors and language, the reader should be able to get a good understanding of what this issue offers. With Metropolis, they only give hint as to what the main feature of the magazine is however. While other magazines in fashion, business or lifestyle have text on the cover that not only reveals the feature articles but also other topics, Metropolis does not do that. As seen above, these are the big topics of that issue. But the reader also knows (since he/she has read it before) that there are other articles waiting inside.
As you can see, the cover pushes content including photo and/or text to the edge of the paper. There isn’t a specific grid used other than for the masthead.
The headline article/main feature is always centered on the middle of the cover and the photo usually supports that phrasing is a rather ambiguous way. For instance, you don’t necessarily know what product is being displayed on the cover of the product issue and you don’t know what design is behind the game changers issue. That’s all to be revealed inside. Those interested in architecture though will know the building in blue on the preservation wars issue.
As mentioned above, consistency comes with the masthead always changing in color to fit the tone/visual of the photo itself and the magazine always introducing the pop of color that comes from the background. My biggest issue with Metropolis is that it is ambiguous, like I said. This works to its advantage as it can put anything on the cover, but also doesn’t necessarily draw the reader in. The only reason I personally pick up an issue is because of what the text is. I trust the text. I don’t always agree with the design decisions for the cover. Creating compelling covers is hard with design magazines since people aren’t present. I think these specific publications rely on faithful readership and the mutual understanding that we get what they’re trying to say.