When you’re putting out a magazine, you need it to jump off the rack, grab your ideal readers’ attention and let them know that your magazine is the one they’re looking for. And the way to do that? The right magazine cover design.

The cover is like the face of your magazine; it’s the first thing potential audience are going to see—and one of the major factors in how they determine whether they want to give it a read. Having a well-designed magazine cover—whether you’re launching a magazine for preteens, horse enthusiasts or gamers—is key if you want to break through the clutter, get your magazine in the hands of your ideal readers, and drive sales and subscriptions. And for a job this important? You’re going to want to bring in the professionals.

How to get the best magazine cover design

You’re probably already familiar with the concept of hiring a freelance designer. But what you might not be familiar is your other options for getting killer magazine cover designs—and that’s a design contest.

With a design contest, you write a brief that breaks down exactly what you’re looking for in your magazine cover. Then, designers from all over the globe submit their ideas and concepts specific to your brief. You review the submissions, choose your top magazine covers, give the designers feedback to really hone in their designs, and then choose your favorite. If you’re not 100% clear on what you want your cover to look like and want to see a lot of different ideas, a design contest is definitely the way to go.

Learn more about magazine cover design contests –>

On the flip side, if you know exactly what you want for your magazine cover design, hiring a freelancer directly is definitely a solid choice.

The 10 best freelance magazine cover designers to hire in 2018

Top Level
4.9
( 58 )
  • Other book or magazine
  • Magazine cover
  • Other business or advertising
  • Other design
  • Postcard, flyer or print
  • Brochure
  • Book cover
  • Typesetting with imagery
  • Typesetting
  • Other web or app design
  • Stationery
  • PowerPoint template
  • Banner ad
Top Level
5.0
( 86 )
  • Infographic
  • Book cover
  • PowerPoint template
  • Logo & brand identity pack
  • Other book or magazine
  • Brochure
  • Logo design
  • Poster
  • Postcard, flyer or print
  • Magazine cover
  • Logo & business card
  • Other business or advertising
  • Typesetting with imagery
  • Typesetting
  • Illustration or graphics
Top Level
5.0
( 37 )
  • Banner ad
  • Print or packaging design
  • Product label
  • Postcard, flyer or print
  • Other business or advertising
  • Magazine cover
  • Signage
  • Product packaging
  • Brochure
  • Book cover
  • Other packaging or label
  • Other Graphic Design
  • Other design
  • Other book or magazine
  • Logo design
  • Email
  • Card or invitation
  • Other clothing or merchandise
Top Level
5.0
( 276 )
  • Brochure
  • Postcard, flyer or print
  • Business card
  • Other business or advertising
  • Poster
  • Other design
  • Signage
  • Other book or magazine
  • Menu
  • Logo design
  • Stationery
  • Magazine cover
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Card or invitation
  • 3D
  • Banner ad
  • Logo & business card
  • Icon or button
  • PowerPoint template
  • Other art or illustration
  • Car, truck or van wrap
  • Book cover
  • Facebook cover
  • Email
  • WordPress theme design
  • Web page design
  • Product packaging
  • Product label
  • Other web or app design
  • T-shirt
  • Sticker
  • Social media page
  • Merchandise
  • Infographic
Top Level
5.0
( 40 )
  • Postcard, flyer or print
  • Brochure
  • Print or packaging design
  • Other business or advertising
  • Stationery
  • Product label
  • Poster
  • Business card
  • Menu
  • Infographic
  • Brand guide
  • Signage
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Icon or button
  • Banner ad
  • Web page design
  • Product packaging
  • PowerPoint template
  • Other web or app design
  • Other Graphic Design
  • Other design
  • Other art or illustration
  • Magazine cover
  • Logo design
Top Level
5.0
( 49 )
  • Book cover
  • Magazine cover
  • Poster
  • Typesetting
  • Typesetting with imagery
  • Other business or advertising
  • Other book or magazine
Top Level
  • Logo design
  • Book cover
  • Product packaging
  • Logo & business card
  • Logo & brand identity pack
  • Other design
  • Product label
  • Other book or magazine
  • Logo & social media pack
  • Signage
  • Magazine cover
  • Logo & hosted website
  • T-shirt
  • Stationery
  • Brochure
Top Level
  • Product label
  • Logo design
  • Product packaging
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Magazine cover
  • Postcard, flyer or print
  • Other packaging or label
  • Other book or magazine
  • Brochure
  • Logo & brand identity pack
  • Book cover
Top Level
5.0
( 110 )
  • Book cover
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Poster
  • Magazine cover
  • Other book or magazine
  • Logo design
  • Postcard, flyer or print
  • Other art or illustration
  • Product label
  • Other web or app design
  • Typesetting with imagery
  • Signage
  • Other design
  • Icon or button
  • Character or mascot
Top Level
4.2
( 5 )
  • Web page design
  • Landing page design
  • Other web or app design
  • Magazine cover
  • Logo design
  • T-shirt
  • App design
  • Logo & brand identity pack

How did we choose these as the top magazine designers?

The cover of your magazine is, hands down, your publication’s most important design asset—and its important you hire a designer that has the chops to bring your design vision to life.

We take our job of helping you find that designer seriously—and that’s why we took all the following criteria into consideration when choosing the magazine cover designers for this list.

1. Design quality

Dynamic Business magazine cover

When a designer joins the 99designs platform, an expert from our team goes through their portfolio to get a real understanding of the conceptual thought, technical execution and knowledge of design principles they display in their samples. Once we’ve done our full portfolio review, we then assign the designer one of three levels:

  • Top Level
  • Mid Level
  • Entry Level

You can easily see which level we’ve assigned to each designer on their portfolio—that way, you know if a designer is bringing years of experience to the table or is more up-and-coming before you make a hire.

2. Magazine cover design experience

Penning a horror script and writing a historical fiction novel both require some serious writing talent—but most writers specialize in one or the other, not both. It’s the same thing with designers. In addition to looking at overall quality, we specifically vetted each designer on this list to make sure they had plenty of experience designing magazine covers (and the samples to prove it).

3. Professionalism

Working with a designer who has the skills and experience to design your magazine cover is a must. But so is working with a designer who handles the process like a professional—which means communicating with you throughout the process, delivering designs on time, and being overall easy to work with. We took past customer experiences into account to make sure every designer on this list is just as capable of providing top-notch service as they are at providing great designs.

Are you ready to hire an awesome freelance magazine cover designer?

If you want your magazines to fly off the shelves, you need the right cover design—and if you want the right cover design, you need to hire the right designer.

Didn’t find exactly what you were looking for on this list? No worries. We’ve got plenty of other options to choose from.

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