Lately, I’ve been really impressed with the design of Businessweek, especially the covers. Creative Director Richard Turley has been doing a fantastic job and it’s really refreshing to see this type of aestheitc being applied to something so unexpected. I’ve never been a Businessweek reader, but these covers are tempting me to pick up the issues to see what else is in store. That can only be a good thing for them.
All the covers have been great, but the latest one for their Crisis in Japan issue is superb. The cover is simple. It features an illustration, by Noma Bar, of the rising sun with a crack in the shape of a screaming face. At the top left is the logo, along with “Crisis in Japan”. Simple, beautiful and straight to the point. I’m so glad that they didn’t go with some photo of the devastation, this seemed a lot more appropriate. The final touch is the flap that covers the screaming face, which acts as a nice reveal to the viewer.
Richard, writes on his blog about the process they took to create the cover.
16 thoughts on “Bloomberg Businessweek Japan Cover”
the best japanese crisis design so far. just groundbreaking.pretty much sets the line between the amateurs and the pros.
The face in the crack seems almost a bit over the top in my opinion. The crack tells the story even without the face. (and does the businessweek actually talk about the suffering of people or just the japanese economy suffering? Quite the difference…) Though the flap-idea is fantastic.
Love that you featured this! I subscribed to Businessweek a couple months ago just because of the year in review issue illustrated by Jennifer Daniel and Richard Turley’s covers. Now that Jennifer’s working there, the insides of the issues are getting even better too.
Thank you for highlighting this cover, I didn’t even see the face there until your post mentioned it, now I think it’s a bit too much but the flap design makes up for it. I agree that the new Bloomberg Businessweek design is simple and great.
Doesn’t need the face but other than that it’s a good idea.
What people might not have heard much about is the reaction in Japan. My wife is Japanese, and for her, the sun symbol has a sacred quality. Seeing it cracked made her feel the pain of the disaster even more acutely. The Japanese government, likewise, which is why they communicated their feeling of the inappropriateness of the image.
Doing effective global design means looking into potential reactions like this and understanding them with an open heart. Unfortunately, what might seem like great design could deepen the pain of people who are already suffering.
Just like Stephen’s wife, my wife was very angry about this design. She felt it was very insulting. She complained about it since last week.
Personally, I don’t have any flag issues, but I do understand my wife’s anger and so should do an American company. I still remember the American flag burning controversy.
If I understand the flag statement well: The breakdown of Japan. cracking open of Japan. I personally totally disagree with this view.
The Japanese government is going to pump 300 billion dollars into the economy to repair the North. So many businesses are going to get involved here. Repairs of the Nuclear plant and totally renewal and update of the other plants. The shock of radiation is going to stimulate industries of people friendly energy. This could be the beginning of a total new chapter in Japan. Unfortunately it comes on top of a complete disaster and lost of many lives.
I am not an invest professional, but I think this the right time to come to japan invest as well. Since shiploads of foreigners left japan
right away and so fast, any investor coming to Japan has a big empty country to invest in.
I’m Japanese and I tell you this image is very very disturbing to Japanese. We see our flags as our nation’s symbol which is a glory and dignity to us. This is a rising sun…our hope and future. You cannot destroy it like this without shattering our heart. Very inappropriate to say the least. How would you feel if your coutry’s flag looked miserably torn? You may think the design looks nice but that’s because Japanese flag itself is beautiful. I’m a graphic designer and I know it’s relatively easy to make your page beautiful with Japanese flag. Please don’t praise this insensitive design any more.
Very disrespectful to the Japanese citizen. Obivously the designer is too self involved. The designer would do just about anything to get some sort of attention. Do not use natural disasters to promote your work, please It’s disgusting. Bloomberg, this is a shame.
Did not know so many Japanese people were offended by this and I’m sure the designers didn’t know either. I doubt their intentions were to insult an entire nation.
That’s what I am saying. They are probably great designers, just very insensitive + self involved. This is not about intentions this is about “who they really are” and it’s showing in their work.
I am more dissapointed with Blomberg, they should know better.
They are the ones who published this.
There are no excuses. Shame!
Miho and Taro, it’s really helpful to hear you reactions to my comment. Having lived in Japan for 4 years, I feel the pain of what has happened in Japan acutely, but couldn’t give voice in the way you have. Thank you.
I am a user experience designer, and it’s always challenging to find time in design cycles to get end-user feedback. Clearly the Bloomberg design team didn’t, but should have.
If you happen to come back to this page, it would be informative to hear what design approaches you might have taken. That might help us to understand your perspective, too.
Maybe try adding a band-aid to patch it? I don’t know.
I disagree that this is simple, beautiful and straight to the point. The black flap covering the ‘rising sun’ would have been enough to convey the message in this way. There really is no need for the cracks or screaming face. This is a classic example of less being more.
Last night in Paris, a Hope Japan fundraiser used a very tasteful image of the Hi-no-Maru. It’s worth looking at as counterpoint to the Businessweek cover image.
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