Vanity Fair is known for switching up their cover-lines. One issue can have just one cover-line in large letters across the entire cover or can have multiple cover-lines all set in diagonally. It’s usually for their special issues, like their stars in Hollywood issue, where they have the main cover-line taking up most of the A1.
However, for the most part I would say that the design uses three wide columns with an average of five cover stories. Besides the logo, it’s usually the person on the cover whose name takes up the most weight on the front. This is visible on the Taylor Swift cover. The rest of the hierarchy of stories goes by font size, so the bigger the font size, the more important the cover story.
Vanity Fair covers are my favorite because the person on the cover is always dressed so sophisticated and polished. This adds to VF’s elegant tone. The face of the person is always centered, with a lot of light on their face, which helps to bring your attention to them first before anything else. The way the cover star is modeling or posing also has relation to the main point of their feature story. For example, Megyn Kelly is seen smirking, looking right at the reader with her hand placed on the table and I think this gives her this tough, authoritative look that goes right with her cover line. It’s like the photographer always keeps their story in mind when telling them how to pose. In this way, consistency is maintained.
Another design-way the consistency is maintained is by the cover star always being placed in front of the logo and usually cutting off one of the letters. This also adds to the effect of bringing your attention to them first before anything and makes them the most superior thing on the cover.
The way they place the coverless around the cover star and sometimes place the brackets above and below their titles adds a sense of balance that really works for them. I don’t think it’s always necessary to give the authors’ names on the front page because they make the font so small it’s barely visible. Other than that, their covers always bring the same level of sophistication as what you get inside.