All posts by Andy Cowles

Telling the emotional truth about your brand

COVER-FINAL-for-presentation-6Never, ever give up.

That’s just one of the ways Outdoor Fitness talk to their reader’s deepest feelings about themselves and their passion. This 2014 development project for Bauer Media rebuilt the cover from the ground up, re-defining the art direction, improving the logo and making the proposition cut through much faster. Working closely with Editor Jonathan Manning, new mission statements were created, along with a whole series of content promises. See the newsstand covers after the jump. Covers shown with permission.

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Brand or content, what should be seen first?

people-logosThe UK newspaper People closed their website a little while ago. Launched with the idea that it would be ‘Buzzfeed for grown ups’, pretty much everything went wrong, according to this excellent reporting from of all places, Buzzfeed. Patrick Smith reports that there was a lack of identity, a lack of focus, and a complete failure to grasp how the native advertising business model works.

people-multiThis lack of brand benefit is perfectly expressed in the website logo. The way it worked (or rather, didn’t), was that the People logo was preceeded by a rotating series of words; ‘Sporty’, ‘Famous’, ‘Glam’, ‘Funny’ and so on. The story underneath didn’t change, but the context did.

What this did was remove any trace of brand from the content beneath. The stories became entirely generic, no tone, no point of view, no recall.

buzzfeedBy way of contrast, this is Buzzfeed’s home screen from the very same day. Which, when you compare the lead stories of ‘Bachelor’ and ‘Wanker’, pretty well sums up why Buzzfeed’s tone is so sharp.

Print has similar issues, but the context is very different. On a newsstand, when is right to put a coverline above the logo, and when should you never do it? Find out more after the jump.

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Re-imagining People, the world’s biggest magazine brand

People.2This 2013 project required a month in New York, with the brief asking for an overhaul of every page, all the typography, page furniture and colour palettes. The resulting work enhanced the existing branding as well as giving greater visibility to the regular pages and more flexibility to the news and feature content.

On the radio, talking about George Lois and this cover

Esquite.-AliEagle eyed readers will have noticed that I’ve changed this blog somewhat. So much of what I’m working on now is multiplatform, that ‘coverthink‘ felt too limiting a name. Hence me consolidating all my posts and a few examples of my work, here on the same site.

But that doesn’t mean I’m done with talking about covers, as this recent interview on American radio explains. Ostensibly about how magazine covers work in general, the interview is really an opportunity to square off the legendary George Lois of Esquire fame with David Curcurito, Esquire’s current Creative Director.

I’m like, the ref.

5 short videos to prove media brand engagement

IPC’s Inspired Conversations project was created to demonstrate just how deep audience engagement is with their specialist brands, and how that can benefit commercial partners. Aside from delivering the editorial side of the business to this 2013 agenda, I wrote, directed and produced a series of 90 second videos to prove it. This is for Horse & Hound, have a look at Now, Nuts, TV Times and Woman’s Weekly after the jump.

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The colour of money: why does Hearst’s hot new launch look so bland?

dr-oz-the-good-lifeDr. Oz is a controversial figure. Billed as ‘America’s Most Trusted Doctor‘ he’s a top-notch heart surgeon, has a huge TV show and a massive social following. Oz has been named one of Esquires 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century, as “the most important and most accomplished celebrity doctor in history.” But he often attracts establishment criticism, not just for advocating alternative therapies, but for his style. As a recent New Yorker profile explains, he employs words that serious scientists shun, like “startling,” “breakthrough,” “radical,” “revolutionary,” and “miracle.”

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Successful media brand development

Andy is a multi-award winning editorial development director with an international reputation. Successful at creating and reinventing powerful identities for media brands in the UK, America and Australia, he’s fluent at producing and presenting highly compelling content across all platforms, in every market, for just about every audience.

Proven launches

Twelve successful new launches in both print and digital for multiple publishers has seen Andy’s work win eight major industry awards, including the BSME Mark Boxer Award for outstanding editorial service. Full time roles include nine years as Creative and Editorial Development Director for IPC Media, the UK’s biggest consumer publisher, Art Director of Rolling Stone and Creative Director of Mademoiselle for Condé Nast in New York.

Content strategy for brands

As a partner in Furthr, Andy has the resources to create high levels of engagement across paid, earned and owned, for both brands and media owners. A new, fully integrated agency, Furthr offers content strategy, brand storytelling, design and data visualisation across all platforms.

Content strategy, brand identity and paywall design for retail trend consultants GDR

GDR-phone.ACWhat’s next for retail.

This new strapline was the key to unlocking a fully realised content solution for the London foresight agency GDR; a simple, yet powerful phrase anyone could understand. Working with Furthr partner Andy Pemberton, core brand values were established and then set to work across both design and tone of all GDR’s communications. Over six months in 2013, traffic to the GDR website doubled, email newsletter open rates hit 50% and GDR signed new clients including Microsoft and Chanel.

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