Every year, within a two-week distribution window at the end of November, the whole guitar magazine sector runs its ‘Gear Of The Year’ issue. These celebrate the best guitars, amps, pedals and accessories from the year’s industry releases, with a winning product selected in each area.


Our challenge was to produce a magazine that felt more enticing and eye-catching than our competitors’ on a crowded newsstand, and which didn’t follow the industry-standard treatment for this issue.


Borrowing from the format of an awards ceremony, I decided to design for an element of suspense. The nominees would be evident from the names in the festival-poster-style design as soon as a reader picked up the magazine, but they wouldn’t find out who the winners were until they opened the solid gold bag which conceals the magazine and its contents.


With subscribers not receiving their copies in the bag it gave me the opportunity to design a cover with no cover lines, letting the photography speak for itself and offering subscribers their own piece of suspense without giving away any winners.

Role  Art Editor and Designer

Company  Anthem Publishing

Design Team  One

John Thackray
+44 (0) 7824 818 909
© John Thackray 2020