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Making the Cover

The Martha Stewart Show, September 2008

The September 2008 decorating issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine features a beautiful cover with "stenciled" cover lines -- and the Living logo - which, surprisingly to some, were not created on a computer. They were actually hand stenciled on a wall, which was then photographed -- and we even tried out two versions on two separate walls before settling on the final image.

Art director Matthew Axe and associate art director Michelle Leong came up with the idea and spearheaded the cover effort. First, Matthew sketched the cover design. Then, Matthew and Michelle went to the photo studios and set up the shot in front of a blank wall with a ladder and a chair, and Michelle as a stand-in for Martha. Michelle brought the test images into the cover template on her computer to make sure that there would be space for the cover lines and the barcode. Once the cover lines were written and approved by Living's editor in chief, Michael Boodro, Matthew and Michelle designed the font for the cover lines on the computer.

To make the stencils, Michelle and Michael first had to determine their size. To do so, they hooked a laptop up to a projector and projected the cover lines onto the wall. Michelle then got back up on the ladder to measure the projected letters. Next, they printed the words onto photo paper using our gigantic plotter printer, which merchandising and sales use often for presentations and signage. It took four people -- Michelle included -- an entire day to cut them out.

Once they were cut out, the cover lines were once again projected onto the wall and used as a guide for where to hang the stencils. The stencils were hung on the wall with double-sided tape on the back and painters tape to hold them down in the front. Finally, Thomas Eberharter and his design and fabrication team painted the ladder to match the logo. When everything was all ready, Martha climbed up on the ladder -- white shirt and all -- and photographer Hugh Stewart shot the beautiful cover.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to Martha Stewart Living associate art director Michelle Leong for sharing this information.

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