From the Nominator
We're so proud of this cover by freelance illustrator Mark Smith. We started thinking about this cover in April 2020, shortly after the pandemic started, wondering what the state of the pandemic would be in early September, when this issue was mailed. We wanted something that would strike the right tone—not so dark that it felt depressing, but not so positive that it felt overly cheerful. What we landed on is serious, simple and sophisticated. The muted colors match the tone.
The faculty member writing math problems on the board reflects our university's focus on education as we returned to in-person instruction this past fall semester after moving to e-learning in March 2020. The equations are (subtly) in the shape of the coronavirus. The mask on his face, which we asked Smith to add, shows that he is following our new Spartan Shield Health Safety Initiative. And the cover line “Drawn Into a New Reality” has some fun with the word “drawn.” It felt like the perfect introduction to our cover story on how the UT community has dealt with COVID-19 and persevered through a pandemic.
From the Judges
The illustration is great, both in concept and in execution, and we loved the way the cover line and the illustration worked together to be greater than the sum of their parts. Deciding to make the now-familiar coronavirus so that it was made up of “science” was inspired, and the way the formulas began before it and extended after it made the metaphor even more powerful, and gave the illustration a richness that worked really well. Cover text is beautifully balanced.