Brutal magazine cover designs of Donald Trump set to continue in 2018

TIME starts the year with Trump and a head of fiery hair, reflecting the president's angry responses and rhetoric from his first year in office.

In 2017 we saw an array of powerful imagery depicting US president Trump used on the front of leading publications such as TIME, Der Spiegel and The New Yorker, to match equally explosive articles and commentary.

It seems we won’t be able to escape brutal Donald Trump artwork this year either, with TIME’s latest cover illustration already kicking off the new year. 

The only words needing to accompany TIME’s new cover illustration by Edel Rodriguez are: 'Year One', and we all know what the striking image is referring to. In Edel’s now highly praised style, and true to his tendency to depict the US president as clueless, offensive and often, full of rage, his new cover illustration shows Trump's hair as a burning fire.

The symbol of fire is a simple one, yet reflects on so many responses, rhetoric and notorious tweets used by the president in his first year in office, including the recently published controversial book by Michael Wolff, literally called Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House – for most of us, the first publication that gives insight into the everyday details of the behaviour of Donald Trump, his family and his associates. President Trump threatened North Korea with the words "release fire and fury" in reference to North Korea’s increased nuclear action, and his presence in the media is often an angry one.

The cover illustration depicts TIME’s article on Trump’s "tumultuous first year in office". The magazine went on newsstands Jan 11.

Image: Edel Rodriguez' cover design for TIME 

Many US magazine cover designs last year reflected public criticism of US president Trump for failing to strongly condemn Neo-Nazi, white supremacist-led riots in Charlottesville. As a result of the riots, one woman died and 19 were injured after a man rammed a car into anti-racist protestors. The clashes followed the removal of a statue of General Robert E Lee, head of the pro-slavery Confederate army in the Civil War.

US publications, who have previously led with anti-Trump magazine cover designs, featured President Trump this time with the poignant symbol of the KKK – the Klansman’s hood.

We feature The Economist, where President Trump holds a megaphone in the shape of a KKK hood and TIME magazine, in which the American flag is draped over a figure giving the Nazi salute (seen here). The New Yorker depicts President Trump in a boat blowing the sail (a KKK hood) with his own breath, and Der Spiegel, where Trump is depicted in plain sight wearing the KKK hood.

Image: Edel Rodriguez' cover design for TIME 

Cuban-American artist Edel Rodriguez illustrated his second magazine cover for Der Spiegel.

“At this point, putting him in a KKK hood is liberating. There’s no leap to make,” he said. “He has stood up for White Supremacists, Nazis and the KKK like no president has before. It’s shameful and disgusting. Thousands of American soldiers lost their lives to bring down Nazism,” Edel told Huffington Post in an interview about his images.

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Irish illustrator Jon Berkeley was commissioned in the wake of Donald Trump’s reluctance to condemn Neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville.

Jon says he originally sketched an image similar to Edel Rodriguez to went back to the “drawing board” to produce this image of President Donald Trump holding a megaphone in the shape of a Klu Klux Klan hood.

He says the megaphone sketch was “a hit with cover designer Graeme James and the editorial team”.

Jon's original sketch for The Economist

The statue is referring to the statue which was removed in Charlottesville. President Trump asked reporters whether statues of some American presidents should also be puled down if they had owned slaves.

Jon's sketches of the KKK hood-shaped megaphone. 

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US illustrator David Plunkert depicts President Trump keeping the KKK hood shaped sail alive with his own breath. 

This was David’s first cover for The New Yorker, entitled "Blowhard".

He gives credit to Françoise Mouly for the art direction.

Just weeks into his presidency, Donald Trump signed off and implemented a number of controversial decisions. Banning citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries for at least 120 days from entering the US, an executive order to roll back Obamacare and US involvement in the TPP, advancing plans for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipeline projects are just a mere few political controversies that have played out in the media spotlight. 

Trump describes himself as having “a running war with the media”, and media distaste for Trump is extremely prominent in the following illustrations covering some of the world’s most influential magazines. Der Spiegel, The New Yorker and the New York Times express fear over the threat on US liberty. The Economist and Village Magazine take more of an aggressive stance against Trump.

We take a look at the stories behind these controversial Trump illustrations.

For more Donald Trump artwork, head to our roundup of 17 Weird Donald Trump Artworks, or a children's book explaining Trump's election

Cuban-born artist Edel Rodriquez illustrates the new US president brutally beheading the Statue of Liberty – resembling familiar scenes from IS propaganda videos - for the February publication of the German magazine.

Despite disdain toward the illustration from conservative commentators and the German media, editor of the magazine Klaus Brinkbäumer staunchly stood by it. 

Speaking on Reuters TV, he said: “We want to show what this is about, it's about democracy, it's about freedom, it's about freedom of the press, freedom of justice and all that is seriously endangered.

"So we are defending democracy... Are these serious times? Yes they are."

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But this is not the first time Edel has painted Donald Trump in a negative light.

His cover illustration for Time magazine in October – showing a melted Trump face – won the ASME Best Cover Contest Cover of the Year award.

In November, again for Der Spiegel, Edel’s illustration of Trump’s head hurtling towards Earth reflected the publications deep and open concerns for his implication in Europe.

Edel'sTwitter feed shows he’s had a lot of publicity for the illustrations – even being described as “Donald Trump’s least favourite illustrator”. 

Originally born in Havana, Cuba, Edel immigrated to Miami in 1980 with his family.

Lady Liberty’s flame is extinguished in this haunting illustration for The New Yorker by illustrator John W. Tomac.

The magazine marked its 92nd anniversary this month. Despite planning to feature Eustace Tilley on its cover, the decision was made to comment on Trump’s immigration executive order with John’s Liberty Flameout illustration.

"It used to be that the Statue of Liberty, and her shining torch, was the vision that welcomed new immigrants. And, at the same time, it was the symbol of American values,” Tomac says in The New Yorker. “Now it seems that we are turning off the light.”

The executive order meant citizens from seven countries – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - were barred from entering the US for 120 days, and Syrians indefinitely, even if they had green cards. 

Writing on his personal blog, John explains:

“We’re in a strange place. America has its warts, for sure, but right now it seems we’re being dragged somewhere dark, away from the ideals that we tell ourselves we’re striving for.  

Those are the things I thought about on the ride home, with the Statue of Liberty in full view for a good chunk of my trip. Are we still the to be beacon of freedom, that we like to tell ourselves that we are? Right now it feels like we’re turing off the lights and hiding in the dark."

John works with big-name editorials such as The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe and ESPN.

This stencil-based illustration by Miles Donovan depicts an outraged Trump throwing a “Molotov cocktail of policies and executive orders against the capital’s brilliant-white porticos,” as The Economist describes.

The accompanying article paints Trump’s presidency as “a revolution”, leaving “wreckage” and he himself is “reckless and chaotic” in nature, according to his critics. The strong language against Trump is reflected in this physically threatening illustration. 

Art direction for the cover was by Stephen Petch, and cover designer Graeme James.

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This chilling cover of left-leaning Irish publication shows Trump in firing line with the words “why not”.

Laying the US president out to dry, Village rips his ideology to shreds in an emotional and free flowing rant commenting on Trump's international policy, stance on refugees and the climate, his treatment of women and his divisive nature. 

“So what is to be done?” it asks. 

“Trump once suggested that Hillary Clinton’s lack of enthusiasm for guns might attract the attentions of a gun-favouring assassin. Around the time of Trump’s inauguration as US president, there was a spike in searches for odds on his assassination. Some punters were even asking bookmakers on Twitter for odds on Trump to be killed before the end of his term. 

"So perhaps the solution is tyrannicide. As he might say himself – “take him out”. 

Village Magazine, made up of a small editorial team, says it promotes “the fair distribution of resources, welfare, respect and opportunity”.

Although it’s over a year ago now, it’s worth remembering Stanley Chow’s design for The New York Times cover in October 2015. The balloon interprets comments from Leah Pileggi describing Trump as an eventual destructive celebratory balloon.

“Like all celebratory balloons released into the wild, tangling in trees, choking fish, snaring birds, the Trump balloon on the cover will eventually lose its hot air, drifting to earth, where it will continue polluting the American landscape,” she says. 

It’s almost eerie to read the published comments now, which were written in response to the publication’s September feature headlined Donald Trump Is Not Going Anywhere.

This image really needs no explanation. As the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek this month, the original photograph was taken by Saul Loeb for AFP Getty Images.

In the relevant feature, journalist Matt Levine describes Trump’s recent executive orders as something he said he would always do, but nobody quite expected.

He says the most troubling of all is Trump’s immigration order, and how its timeline is a little unclear, and decisions “happened through informal channels”, and how Trump is negatively affecting business by undoing “a firm foundation on the rule of law”.

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