Little Miss Busier Than You
Stylist magazine has a tradition of A-list collaborations. The British weekly has worked with artists Quentin Blake, Hattie Stewart, Tracey Emin and David Shrigley (among others) to create striking and award-winning covers.
The magazine’s recent Little Miss Busier Than You cover, a collaboration with the iconic Mr. Men/Little Miss brand, is the latest example of the magazine surprising its readers and surpassing expectations.
FFF spoke to Photography Director Tom Gormer, one of the masterminds behind the cover, to get the lowdown.
How long were you working on the cover?
I started talking to the people who own the Mr. Men/Little Miss brand about three months ago. We’re usually working on six active covers at any given time, but there are also ideas we’re working on for issues way into the future.
What was the process of commissioning a bespoke character?
A Little Miss character was always something we wanted to do, but we had to wait for the right feature to make it work.
I contacted Japanese company Sanrio who own the copyright, they immediately loved the idea. We discussed a brand new character, but decided to adapt their Little Miss Busy character who many of our readers would already be familiar with.
Adam Hargreaves, the son of Mr. Men creator Roger Hargreaves, designed the cover. I was lucky enough to go to his house and meet him. We did some photos for social media and created a video of him drawing the cover.
How does the cover story look inside?
The Mr. Men/Little Miss team created a number of poses for us. They very kindly let us use some of their assets, including the original Mr. Men typeface and the iconic worm. Our art director, Natasha Tomalin-Hall, used these inside the magazine.
What was your plan B if the cover didn’t come off?
We didn’t have one! Working with other artists and creatives is always a risk, but with good communication you can get amazing results.
Generally, what’s your goal with a Stylist cover?
The goal is to create memorable visuals and to surprise and engage the reader. I tell photographers to ignore the traditional magazine cover rules and to treat it more like a poster. We usually use a photograph another magazine would discard. My favourite is probably [British television personality] Nigella Lawson covered in salted caramel. On paper it’s a bonkers idea, but the final image is beautiful and memorable.