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Behind the scenes: how we made the December 2017 cover


This month’s issue of Prospect is all about Britain’s economy after Brexit, with a focus on trade.

When it came to making the cover, we already had some great pieces we knew were going to be in the magazine: Adam Posen on “drawbridge economics”, Diane Coyle on productivity and Nicolas Véron on what happens when the banks leave.

We also had an interesting counter-view from Paul Ormerod.

We knew we wanted the cover to be something that would show how our relationship to Europe is going to change, but we didn’t know how best to present the idea.

Options we tried included a wall built from shipping containers—one of a few designs based off the idea of a “siege economy.”

A wall is built out of shipping containers—a neat idea, but how will it look from a distance on the news stand?


Another idea of a “siege economy”.

We also floated the line “Brexonomics”—and duly had a debate about whether or not it should be spelled “Brexenomics.”

Then we wondered if we should make the focus about people leaving here: the bankers, nurses and other workers who might leave after Brexit.

We tried a motorway with everyone taking an EU turn; and a ship being filled with workers.

Covers in progress use “Latin” holder text. Note also the cover lines that refer to the November 2017 issue.

HMS Outtahere is a nice touch—but is it too similar to last month’s issue?

This idea ended up informing the opening of Nicolas Véron’s piece, which has an airport departures board filled with foreign cities.

Eventually, we decided simple was best for the cover, and went for the idea of Britain as a closed shop.

Britain is closed for business.

We sent the design to our illustrator, Jamie Wignall, and he came back with an illustration.

Our creative director Mike Turner in the days leading up to publication, adding depth and some shadowy figures reflected in the glass.


…and step two…

By this stage, we’d also chosen headlines and descriptions for the front cover.

This is where we want to show the range of what’s in Prospect.

In the end, we went for Jeremy Corbyn’s appeal in the Home Counties—a brilliant piece by Gaby Hinsliff—and our profile of Brenda Hale at the top, and HS2, Priti Patel and David Bowie for the bottom.

Another fun, diverse, challenging magazine ready to go.