Everyone in the nail industry knows how important covers are on our printed issues. You might say they are the swoosh, the golden arches, the apple with a bite in it. They instantly identify NAILS. But you want to know what we really think about when we plan covers? You. And after 33+ years of creating NAILS covers, we know you want larger-than-life, drop-dead gorgeous nails front and center on each issue. You might like to see the nails as an essential part of an overall look, but you don’t want nails to get short shrift on the cover of NAILS Magazine, YOUR magazine.

We actually have a “cover philosophy” at NAILS and it’s simple: We want to inspire you. We want the props, the hands, the design elements, the typography all to showcase and draw attention to the nails themselves. Our models are beautiful of course, and they have long, slim fingers and nail beds a competitor would die for. We like getting clever with our concepts and showing products being used in interesting ways. And we really spend a lot of time writing the phrases for the cover to get you interested in reading the issue. But it’s the nails, always about the nails. We want you to stare at those incredible nails and get inspired. We want you to be able to replicate the design or come up with a salon-worthy interpretation of your own.

Every NAILS cover has to have these elements:
> Nails done to perfection by a professional nail technician. This is non-negotiable. We don’t use amateurs or anyone not engaged in the business of nail care.
> The hands on the cover must be at least life-size so they’re normal looking and so that the nails are easy to see.
> The nails must be the focus of the image and most of the nails should be visible. It’s not always possible to get all 10 nails in focus and head-on (it’s not possible without asking the model to do something unnatural, that is) but we get as close as we can.
> We don’t do much retouching because we want real nails, not PhotoShop nails.
> If we use a model’s face or props, they are never the focus of the image. We leave the high-end makeup and fancy hairstyles to our sister magazine, Modern Salon. We do nails and we don’t want our nails taking a backseat to anything.
> The model’s own hands have to be slim, clean, and blemish-free so nothing detracts from the nails.

This month’s cover features NTNA finalist Celina Rydén’s incredible artistry. We shot this cover on location in Chicago a few days before America’s Beauty Show. We used natural light spilling into McCormick Place, which made the image appear lifelike even with the design’s elements of fantasy.

If you have an opinion of what you like about NAILS covers or a concept recommendation, we would love to hear. Our covers are YOUR covers.

— Erika




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