D.W. Pine: Creating Instantaneous Impact
The man behind “one of the most iconic pieces of real estate in journalism.”
It’s true, time is intangible, but one iconic magazine has made time concrete. Time magazine, the printed hub for the latest political commentary, science, and technology news, boasts the largest circulation in the world for a weekly news magazine. While the publication is known for its unique writing style, its bold red-bordered covers featuring influential leaders and controversial topics garner just as much attention. For the past ten years, the magazine’s creative director, D.W. Pine has made sure to bring eye-catching and talk-worthy covers to newsstands around the world.
Prior to becoming TIME’s Creative Director, Pine designed seven Person of the Year cover packages, numerous TIME 100 assignments, dozens of special issues, as well as hundreds of Time cover features and stories. He has also designed over two dozen book covers for Time, including Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama: Eight Years, The 100 Greatest Places in History, and JFK.
Judge This Book by Its Cover
Pine is a design director, creative director, manager, writer and speaker. He joined Time in 1998 and served as the design director for 11 years before becoming the magazine’s current creative director. He’s designed covers on health, technology, trending news, politics, 9/11 and more, lots more. His job includes designing text, creating concepts, art direction, and applying attention to detail to get a charged message across with grace and clarity.
Not to mention, he has to appeal to a broad audience every week. For example, his skill set is evident in the November 5, 2018 “Guns in America” cover by famed photographer JR. At least 300 people in a variety of activities filled the black and white cover. Expanding the cover reveals the sides of the gun debate with religious and justice leaders on the left and gun-rights supporters on the right; in the middle, politicians debating a solution.
“I get the wonderful opportunity to unite millions of people under a picture or illustration every week. It’s a privilege,” he says. “Guns in America” is just one of the covers that will stand the test of time. Pine’s October 4, 2018 cover of Christine Blasey Ford will too. It was a hand-drawn image by artist John Mavroudis of the words used in her testimony against Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh replicated to resemble her face. The cover was named Best Cover of the Year in 2019 by the American Society of Magazine Editors.
Creatively in Charge
As creative director, Pine also manages Time’s weekly animated cover, which has over 60 million social media followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Additionally, he oversees the design and editorial direction on Time.com and other digital platforms like tablets, iPads, and iPhones. Although Pine’s unique talent is evident, much of his success lies in his management. He’s in charge of a creative team with over a dozen designers, directors and infographic designers. “Working with such a creative staff helps to keep me fresh,” he says. “If my team stays fresh, then the content we share is intriguing and engaging.”
Before joining Time, Pine served as the features design coordinator from 1992 to 1998 at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Some of his assignments for the newspaper included designing the front page for the 1996 Olympic Games. Before 1992, Pine was a sportswriter at the paper and wrote over 1,100 stories. He had a weekly golf column where he covered the PGA tour and worked as a college basketball beat writer.
When Pine decided to transition from writer to designer, it seemed not too far a jump. He graduated with a marketing degreefrom Georgia State University and knew the importance of connecting the right message to the right audience. As a college student, he served as the editor-in-chief and sports and news editor of the Signal, the university’s 100-page weekly newspaper. More recently, Pine was named as one of the 15 most famous Georgia State alumni. Pine still considers himself a journalist. “My job is to get the message to the people not only through writing, but through imagery,” he says.
Although he doesn’t consider himself an artist, Pine is known for his excellent eye when it comes to design. He has presented at various workshops and conferences for journalists and designers around the globe in places such a Beijing, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., New York, Atlanta, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Tampa, and Amsterdam. He’s appeared at the Poynter Institute, Society of News Design, and the American Institute of Graphic Artists to share his insights on visual journalism.
Thinking of new themes every week can be challenging, but he shares his tips on how to overcome them. “I like to teach people that ideas do come, and even the bad ones don’t go to waste,” he says.
His skills have gained him accolades from notable designers and publishers. He won numerous awards, such as Art Director of the Year at the Folio 2019 Eddie and Ozzie Awards and the Reader’s Choice Award in 2016 and 2019 for covers by the American Society of Magazine Editors. He also won the 2018 Cover of the Year by AdWeek for “Stormy” and the 2018 Six Creatives You Should Know recognition by Ad Age.
Learn more about the amazing work of D.W. Pine at dwpine.com.