UPFRONT LETTER – Nice as pie

I can’t ignore it any longer! Believe me, I’ve tried and tried not to look at it but it fascinates me like poisonous snake and my eyes keep being drawn back to it!
I have even turned it upside down but to no avail, there’s something intrinsically fiendish about it that keeps willing me to turn it back face up and give me the creeps all over again.
What on earth is he going on about you will naturally ask? What I am going on about, dear people, is the front cover of the February 2005 issue of New Zealand Management magazine.
I have been subscribing to this magazine for probably in excess of 20 years now, but this issue’s cover is the most awful one I can recall. Those two people you have featured on the front cover positively reek with malevolence to me, just look at the eyes, the set features, the tight, unsmiling lips, the hard icy stares at the camera – at us!
Their images remind me of those old photographs you sometimes see from the World War 2 era featuring arrogant, hard featured, Nazi officers.
Both of these people are possibly very nice in real life, I don’t know, but their images on the cover of your magazine give me the shivers, and they don’t give me any confidence about our new, future, business leaders either if these two are typical of them. Sorry, not good cover at all chaps.

Gordon McKay, Auckland

I’m not sure if we’re meant to laugh or cry over this letter but thanks in any case, Gordon, for letting us know your views. I have it on good authority that both people featured on our February cover are very nice indeed so the fault obviously lies with how we presented the images. There’s piece of wisdom among designers that it’s not good idea to show two separate images on cover as it confuses the eye and the brain can’t make up its mind which one to look at. You can often ‘trick’ the eye by overlapping the pictures. We broke that rule in February and clearly there was no fooling you. I can only think this lies behind your very strong reaction to the February cover. This month, we’ve got cover images on both the front and back of the magazine so we can fascinate readers twice as much.
– Ed

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