Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cover ideas?

Michelle Carter, author of my favorite biz blog, left a comment on yesterday's post asking for more.

Info, that is, relating to cover ideas for the new faculty insert of a medical magazine. Since I am sincerely looking for brainstorming here, I hope this helps generate some thoughts.

The magazine is an in-house publication for a large hospital system associated with a medical university. The goal of the bi-annual piece is to let doctors know what their colleagues are doing, in order to foster relationships among specialties and also generate more referrals "in house."

My favorite section is the new doctor insert. Instead of seeing these docs pose in white coats next to an x-ray light boxes, I photograph them doing a hobby or activity that they love. Might be working with bonsai trees, ballroom dancing, painting, cooking, gardening, opera singing, kayaking - you name it and some doctor loves doing it, and it is ten times more fun for me to shoot.

The only negative has been the cover of this section. The client did not want to feature a doctor on the cover. I can make some doctor ego jokes here, but I will refrain. Anyway, for some reason we ended up using this one (booring) shot of a part of a building. For years!

Now, we have a chance to change the cover. Still, no featured doctors. So, we are trying to figure out something that is more symbolic. Something interesting, but not too busy that we can't put titles and other info around it. And, it can't be too surgical, or too anything that is too much one specialty. Our doctors' expertise range from mental health to pediatrics, emergency surgery to opthamology.

And, even if I really like an idea simply because it looks cool, I have to create a full blown argument of why it works. I'm good at this reasoning, though, so let's just focus on raw visuals here, and I'll take care of the deeply rooted reasoning behind how we came up with them.

"The budding leaves on the tree symbolize new life brought by these new doctors. Vibrancy birthed from the existing strength of the hospital, enabling it to reach further into our community with the newest developments in medical expertise . . . . "

However, in defending a photo like this one, I might choose not to mention the fig leaf/cover up association.