Luke Lucas hit the editorial big-time this weekend, thanks to a commission that saw his work grace the cover of The New York Times Magazine. The cover illustration also ran with an inside double page spread – meaning NY Times readers got a double dose of Luke’s type magic. We pulled Luke aside to ask him a few questions about the job:
These pieces for The New York Times Magazine are pretty damn impressive – what was the brief you had to work with?
The original brief was to create a headline that was to run over a skyline of Ohio. The cover story was about how the 2 largest cities in Ohio seem to have fared better than many other cities in the US during the economic downturn. Ohio has traditionally been known to be part of the ‘Rust Belt’, so the concept that the art director wanted me to work with was to make it super shiny and gleaming, rather than representing Ohio in an aged and rusty state. The original headline I was working with was ‘Welcome to the Rust Belt’, which with the treatment made the contrast a little more obvious. There was an editorial decision to change the cover at the last minute to ‘Way to go Ohio’, as the headline for opening spread revealed itself to be ‘A Rust Belt Miracle’. Stylistically the art director mentioned that she liked the volumetric and hyper-real, glossy style type that I’ve done for other clients, and asked if I could develop something along those lines for this one. Once the final background image was supplied I suggested that compositionally it would work well to run the type in and around the building having it interact with the space rather than simply running it over the top.
What is your artillery when it comes to your craft?
With the knowledge that I would be creating the type for the opening spread and cover, for consistency my approach to this was to create a custom typeface to work with as a base, so that’s where I began. Once the final lock up was approved as a draft I digitally brushed in the depth and detail adding shading, highlights and colour in Photoshop.
What aspects of your style do you think the client was drawn to?
From the references of my past work that the client sent through, I could see that she was interested in my faux 3D swashy-script related type work.
How do you feel about your artwork being splashed across the cover of The New York Times Magazine?
Stoked in a word. It’s definitely been on my list of ‘things i’d like to achieve’ and I was so lucky that they gave me the freedom to do my own thing too. Past work that I’ve done for the NY Times have been smaller inset illustrations or headline work, but to have my work on a cover was a true honour.