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The Making of a Snack Cover: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Cover Art for May's Issue

To understand the world in which we live, there has always been a lure to create art. At The Snack Magazine, our biggest joy is biting into the creative opportunities found in every nook and cranny of this industry, as you might have noticed in our May 2018 issue. Many of our readers have asked how our May cover artist cut to the core of produce and how they, in turn, can encourage others to create.

Our very own Emily McLain, Senior Designer and one of our Leads for The Snack Magazine, sat down with me to discuss the thought process behind this month’s cover art.

Emily McLain, Senior Designer & Snack Lead, AndNowUKnow“I’ve always loved hand-crafted illustration," she laughs. "Getting to combine both art and industry is a dream project—it’s something that isn’t really seen in this industry very often, so it was an opportunity to create something really unique and eye-catching."

The hand-crafted paper cutout concept was Emily’s perfect storm for bringing these elements together for our May cover, a project she welcomed with eagerness.

"First, I mocked everything up digitally, with about 6-7 layers per design. It's a balancing act between showing detail and the available colors of cardstock. I transferred those mockups to physical paper and cut everything out with an exacto blade. Small blocks of balsa wood are glued between each layer, to give it the 3D effect and those lovely inner shadows," she explains to me. "Ultimately it was more of a freeform process, and I learned and adapted as I went along."

May’s issue offered Emily a fun way to play with its contents. The muse behind her makings was the multiplicity of business endeavors that are constantly pushing produce forward. For her, it is all in the details, both with her work and what it showcases. Hard work and determination to create something you envision are what bring the magic to life—something that, she explains to me, mirrors the daily efforts that carve out the path for produce.

Behind the scenes of crafting the layers

“These days, when everything can be done digitally and can be made pixel-perfect, there’s value in constructing something by hand. Having it be not-quite-perfect gives it a certain charm and uniqueness that's impossible to fabricate,” Emily tells me. “The Snack features so many layers of the produce industry, from merchandising efforts and family farms, to marketing and retail. We always try to create the best looking magazine we can, to really showcase all the wonderfully diverse corners of this industry. Having a cover of layered produce, called The Art of Produce, was just one of those lightning-strike ideas that just fit so perfectly!”

All six produce pieces stacked togetherThe enthusiasm to best illustrate the artistry seen within the industry hit the team with electrifying force, an occurrence that made me wonder what kind of innovative artwork to expect from Emily and the whole design team as we continue to showcase the industry and all of its workings.

“The design team at AndNowUKnow and The Snack are all so talented and innovative in their own right, I definitely couldn’t do half the work I do without their support and work inspiring me. I had so much fun creating this cover, and I’d love to do it again. I hope to introduce the industry to more diverse forms of illustration and design,” Emily says.

As we dive into the stories and images stamped on each page, it reminds me that artistry can be found all around us, but it takes shape in special ways when it comes to the beauty in fresh produce, the building blocks for culinary experiences that paint our days happy.