We usually LOVE our own covers, but over our 30-year history, we’ve had some real stinkers. Enjoy this gallery of our editors’ least favorite covers of all time.
1. March 1984
Hmmm … is she enjoying her new full set or in the throes of romantic passion? She doesn’t seem clothed, so maybe it’s the latter?
2. October 1984
It takes a while to see that the cover model is jumping out of a nail. What’s the connection of the image with the cover story? Your guess is as good as ours.
3. February 1986
Although no one who worked on this issue still works at NAILS, we’ve heard a repeated story about this cover: that the editors received many phone calls asking where they could find the “new product” that you simply slipped over the nails while they dried.
4. October 1986
When your imagination fails you, take the easy way and do a “mystery grab bag” cover.
5. March 1989
For a cover story on male clients, apparently we got a corpse instead of a live model to do our cover. You can’t quite see it, but that stiff hand is reaching for a door (but, you know, because he’s dead he can’t actually open a door).
6. February 1991
Former editor Cyndy Drummey says that this was the first issue she oversaw as editor and she hated the cover with a passion. “The model’s hair was a mess, the nails barely showed, and the makeup was terrible!” Back in the ’80s and ’90s, NAILS used to hide a little N someone on the cover image (the way Playboy Magazine used to hide the bunny head). If you use a magnifying glass you can see the N at the bottom of the pin on the model's sleeve.
7. May 1991
Nail art = beret and paint palette. How UN-clever. Not to mention, the model looks like she belongs in the 19th century.
8. June 1994
In an effort to save money this month, we borrowed a cover image from one of our sister publications: Automotive Fleet, which also did an annual salary survey. We decided never to be that stingy again.
9. November 2005
This is one of those ideas that sounded great in the brainstorm session, didn’t look THAT bad when we were shooting it, then looked terrible when we laid it out. There was just no way for us to get all the elements in without crowding it (and how do you like that fake fireplace in the background?).
10. December 2006
The road to design awards is paved with humdingers like this one. Cute idea to have the model holding a sparkler so you could see the underside of her nails, right? Then make us put a big square logo on the front and this is now in editor Hannah Lee’s Hall of Fame of Hated Covers.
Want to see more covers from years' past? Here's a look at some of our favorite deja vu covers!