About the Cover (Masters of Disguise)

A conversation with La Boca, the London-based design collective behind our October cover.

OUR OCTOBER COVER comes courtesy of La Boca, an award-winning, London-based design studio with a distinctive, colorful style and a long list of clients, including Island Records, Studio Ghibli, Wired magazine, and Warner Bros. We asked La Boca cofounder and creative director Scot Bendall to tell us a little bit about the ideas behind the work.
La Boca provided a variety of detailed explorations during the first rounds of design before arriving at the final version.

How did you approach the task of ideating the cover art for this issue? A question raised in the initial brief concerned how we present ourselves, both to ourselves and to others. During the course of my initial research, I came across this quote by the author Vladimir Nabokov: “I shall continue to exist. I may assume other disguises, other forms, but I shall try to exist.”

This triggered an idea that we could present a single person at the core of the image, but treat them in different ways to create multiple disguises. The important thing would be that the person underlying the treatments would always exist, no matter the disguise.

What different identities and faces are incorporated into the piece? The key part is that we feel the presence of one person throughout; they can appear differently, but we know they’re still there. There are various elements of disguise in the performance—some obvious, some open to interpretation. For example, we have a leopard, which is a disguise in itself but also recalls the idea of a leopard never changing its spots. We also wanted to include a few hints of digital disguises to express the increasing prevalence of online identities. And there’s also the cheeky chameleon, nature’s very own master of disguise.

Tell us a little about the color scheme you used: the blues and purples coupled with yellows and oranges. The colors are designed to be an additional way of expressing different identities. The use of more fantastical colors was deliberate, as we wanted to create a palette of bright, contrasting colors that would still work cohesively together, and go beyond comparison to skin tones.

Are we seeing a man? A woman? Or both? They say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.

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