Case Study

The 10 Greatest Steve Jobs Covers of All Time

In November 2009, Fortune magazine picked Apple’s Steve Jobs as the CEO of the decade, and ran this cool cover (design director: John Korpics; photograph by Albert Watson). Jobs has been the go-to tech dude for business mags and newsweeklies for over 20 years, and it got us thinking about all the covers that he has appeared on. Fortunately, art director Sam Kuo over at Kuo Design has created the Steve Jobs on Magazine Covers page, a compilation of 85 covers from 1981-2010. In collaboration with Sam, we have created this list of The 10 Greatest Steve Jobs Magazine Covers of All Time. Feast your eyes on these beauties, and then head over to Kuo’s pagefor the full, obsessive Steve Jobs experience.

Inc October 1981.jpg
October 1981. This is the first major business magazine cover to feature Jobs.
Time Feb 15 1982.jpg
February 15, 1982. Art director: Rudolph Hoglund; illustrator: Alan Magee. From the very beginning, Jobs was controlling about his photographic imagery. He usually insisted on posing with his latest product (for one Fortune cover he held up cardboard cutouts of the Spotlight and Dashboard Mac icons). For that reason, many of the best covers of him are illustrations.
MacWorld 1984.jpg

1984. This is the debut issue of Macworld. Apple’s “Remarkable New Personal Computer” looks pretty clunky now, especially the mouse.

Wired Feb 1996.jpg
February 1996. Creative director: John Plunkett; design director: Thomas Schneider; photograph: Steve Double.
Sam Kuo on his obsession with Jobs: “As a designer, I find his understanding and caring about design, coupled with engineering and functionality, fascinating. As for the rest of it, his life story is compelling: his rise to fame by starting Apple with Steve Wozniak, then being fired from it, leaving him out in the wilderness; and his chance return to Apple about a decade later; then turning Apple, which was a few months away from bankruptcy, into the $127 billion company we all know today.”
Fortune Nov. 9, 1998.jpg
November 9, 1998. Art director: Margery Peters. This is Sam Kuo’s favorite Steve Jobs cover.
Japanese October 2007.jpg
October 2007. Steve Jobs gets his back massaged by Bill Gates on the cover of this Japanese Mac magazine. What’s with the monkey in the hot tub? Let us know if you can translate the cover type for us.
BusinessWeek, Feb. 6, 2006 Risko sn.jpg
FFebruary 6, 2006. Art director: Malcolm Frouman; illustrator: Robert Risko. Jobs sells Pixar to Disney.
New York June 25 2007.jpg
June 25, 2007. Design director: Chris Dixon; illustration: Sean McCabe.
Fast Company Dec. 2007-Jan 2008 sm.jpg
December 2007-January 2008. Design director: Dean Markadakis; illustration: Alex Ostroy.
Esquire Espanola 2008.jpg
Spanish edition of Esquire, 2008.
For a complete look at every Steve Jobs magazine cover published (85 and counting), visit Sam Kuo’s Steve Jobs on Magazine Covers website.
Sam Kuo has designed annual reports, corporate magazines, brochures, and newsletters, as well as the Society of Publication Design annuals #22, #23, and #24. He’s now working on book covers and many other projects.



September 5, 2011. Design director: Dirk Barnett.

Special thanks to Andrew Horton at BusinessWeek, Linda Rubes at Fortune, and Dean Markadakis at Fast Company for their help in compiling this list.

About Zoran Opalic

Professional in design and publishing industry. Conceptualize and orchestrate designs and redesigns that effectively reinforce and build brand images. Proven ability to drive record-high campaign in increasing publication sales and execute successful product launches...


One thought on “The 10 Greatest Steve Jobs Covers of All Time

  1. Well put Great. I do like the manner in which you have composed this particular issue. Thanks.

    Posted by Roger {Gabby | November 11, 2011, 10:13 pm

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