Magazine cover page serves several purposes. It sells the brand, it has to be visually appealing and different from the other cover pages on the newsstand to attract the new readers. On the other hand each new cover must be different from the previous issue but still familiar and recognizable to regular readers. It has to present the publications character and its content. All of this make the cover page the most important page in any magazine.
Process of magazine cover design is a tough one. Designers spend lots of time and effort to create a cover page. Some magazines, even have one person dedicated only to cover design. Yes, cover designer is a designer that designs only cover pages. Of course only the biggest magazines in the world have cover designers, but you get the point. The process of cover design can last up to 5 days in weekly magazines, to few weeks in monthly magazines.
Several ideas should be tried and several different proposals of one idea tested. Of course, majority of magazines cannot spend that much time and effort on cover design, not because they don’t want to, they simply lack the manpower and time, but still, creation of each cover page takes time and it should be taken seriously.
It is important to highlight that the free magazines or the ones that are supplements to newspapers do not rely on newsstand sales and thus they have bigger freedom in their design approach.