i-D magazine covers exhibition in London’s Red Gallery.
The i-D covers exhibition currently on show at London’s Red Gallery is a reminder of just how significant the cover photo was in documenting style history. But just how many different ways in thirty years can you photograph a wink? Was the wink a work of genius or did the photo become its slave?
While i-D magazine started with D.I.Y aesthetic of cut and paste, with ex-Vogue Art Director Terry Jones, at the helm it was no surprise that photography became the focus of the covers. In the 1980s and 1990s, photography gave i-D the feel of documenting the different styletribes.
And because celebrity and graphic design fashions shift over time, the value of the cover’s portrait and its trademark wink became even more important. The wink isn’t just a bit of visual cheek, it enables readers to benchmark changing styles over time. Echoing the magazine logo made it a kind of facial typography. Culturally the uniformity of the cover format highlighted the plurality of the emerging style and music cultures. The rigorous formality of the cover’s visual form highlighted the rich diversity of youth culture. Born in the disruptive age of punk, i-D’s essential character was very much a celebration of change and disruption.
But while the wink gave the magazine its unique identity it some argue that the covers became a slave to the wink, a kind of jokey ditto. What do you think?