AIDS magazine cover

Colors magazine is known for its controversial topics to promote multiculturalism and global awareness. Tibor Kalman, the initial editor-and-chief of the magazine, is responsible for using design as an outlet to promote his socio-political ideas. He believed in using graphic design as a beneficial tool for promoting social responsibility. The intriguing and rather vulgar magazine cover above is Issue #7 on the topic of AIDS. It was designed in 1994 to directly state the problem with AIDS, to disapprove of prejudices, and to give accurate information towards prevention. The magazine is directed towards young readers or to anyone willing to read controversial topics. The project represents Kalman’s abrupt style of design and his willingness to cross boundaries. He is not afraid to promote the seriousness of AIDS through a pop of expression, or in this case, the middle finger. He sucks the reader in by making the bright red latex glove the focal point of the layout with the letters A, I, D, and S surrounding the fingertips. The casual red text in the left-hand corner emphasizes the importance of informing people of the virus. Instead of discussing what most young audiences want to read, Kalman chooses to “really talk about Aids.” The issue ended with an editorial on a victim of the virus during that time, US President Ronald Reagan. He is accompanied by a eulogy for the man he could have been if he would have acted differently towards AIDS. Tibor Kalman does an excellent job of promoting the seriousness of the life-threatening virus through bold typography, graphics, and stories. He continues to explore his radical ideas through Colors until 1995 when he must step down from his position due to cancer. Nonetheless, the magazine continues to be “a magazine about the rest of the world.”


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Heller, Steven. “Tibor Kalman, ‘Bad Boy’ of Graphic Design, 49, Dies.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 May 1999,