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The Power and Privilege Issue

The Story Behind the Cover of VICE Magazine's October Issue

Here's how the constant documentation of a young person’s life and the tediousness of filling out tests informed this issue's cover design.

by Elizabeth Renstrom and Kitron Neuschatz
Oct 16 2018, 7:20pm

Cover by Kitron Neuschatz

This story appears in VICE Magazine's Power and Privilege Issue. Click HERE to subscribe.

VICE: Tell us the backstory behind the cover.
Kitron Neuschatz: For this issue we wanted to visualize the constant and obligatory documentation of a young person’s life as you would progress into adulthood. At every stage there is this tedious barricade of process, requiring the completion of standardized forms: testing, taxes, voter registration, government identification, job applications, green cards, visas, etc. These documents—the documents that you need to get through modern life—are alienating, convoluted, and generally seem more difficult than necessary.

We looked for inspiration and started picking up visual cues from things that are dealt with at a younger age—blue book exams, written driver’s tests, general questionnaires—followed by filing your taxes, apartment applications, and so on. When looking upon the timeline of your life in this manner an aspect of information overload and repetition presents itself. I remember the redundancy of applying to college and then subsequently looking for jobs—there was this difficult quality of impersonal uniformity. Completing the same documents and questions repeatedly, albeit maybe each slightly differentiated.

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We explored a range of designs: from a minimal approach, with the isolation of a lone question, to the chaotic, with the overwhelming effect of repetition. Our final selection strikes a balance between the two and emphasizes the element of human interaction.

The concept of the cover directly reflects this, and tries to mimic that notion. Deconstructing the form and presenting it as it often feels: incomprehensible and emotionless. The thought process here was to supply the reader with only four limiting and ambiguous responses to a rather frustratingly generic question about such a complicated topic: the future. Making it seemingly impossible to answer.

The written marks attempt to add a touch of human individuality, as you can visualize their indecisiveness and difficulty in answering the question at hand. Constantly selecting different answers, crossing out initial thoughts. The scribbling out and removal of the final word makes you ponder the complexity of the question/statement.

“The future is _______.”

It almost forces you to fill in the blank. You think about the scope and individual aspects of the future as it may relate to yourself. You ask yourself, how do you really feel about the future?

Kitron Neuschatz is a graphic designer and art director here at VICE. He's from South Kingstown, Rhode Island, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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This article originally appeared on VICE US.

Tagged:
VICE Magazine
Illustration
THE FUTURE
Power
privilege
Behind the Cover
Kitron Neuschatz
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