I recently returned to work after spending two wonderful weeks in Italy and France. I ate to my heart's content, swam in the Mediterranean, read three books, and drank a lot of wine. But to get to that state of relaxation, I had to frantically work ahead before I left.
Thankfully someone took over layout and art request duties during my absence, but I didn't want to leave without putting together two covers that would run during my absence.
The first cover (which ran second) was for a story about defining the brogrammer and exploring diversity in tech. Since the article's concept was still developing, I wanted to come up with a cover image that was on-point, but still universal enough to capture the changing direction of the piece.
Hence: the cloud heads. The cloud-head concept works in three ways:
1. Most tech workers literally work in the cloud.
2. Brogrammers have their "heads in the clouds" and are out of touch with most peoples' realities of life in San Francisco.
3. The vast majority of tech workers are white males.
I put the cloud heads in front of a mechanical-looking SF skyline. (Thank you, Photoshop filters.) I think I nailed it.
This next cover, which ran the first week I was gone, was for a replacement story that I ended up putting together at the very last minute.
We originally planned to run a feature on SF General hospital that week, and I had commissioned a beautiful illustration for the cover far in advance. However, the writer determined that she needed more time for the piece, so it was shelved in favor of a story on Recology's shady practices. (The SF General cover hits stands tomorrow, so stay tuned!)
The Recology story was originally pitched as being purely about compost, and I decided this would be a good opportunity to write on a banana — a growing desire produced by Jason Polan's Instagram feed.
When the piece became more elaborate, I incorporated all waste bins — compost, recycling and garbage — in a background resembling the look of an online game, in order to fit with the story's updated headline.