Time Magazine’s black border on it’s 9/11 special issue cover was subtle but it delivered a dramatic statement. The magazine, along with Coca Cola, McDonalds and Disney is one of the great American consumerist institutions. An appearance on its hallowed covers, whether it’s of an individual, an organisation, a movement, an event or a trend has long been, and still is, a statement of having arrived, of having made a mark in history.
Although the fonts on the cover changed frequently as the decades progressed, the red border of the magazine, introduced in 1927, was an industry standard, like the Financial Times being pink. (The magazine tried a bright orange table of contents pre-1927.) The red border has only been dropped twice, both in the recent years. The first break with the tradition came for the issue of the 9-11 attacks, above, which was put out just 36 hours after the horrific events of that day. The only issue in the magazine’s history delivered without any advertisement, it sold 3.4 million copies, the most ever.
On the cover was a photo taken by Lyle Owerko. On the back cover was the photo of the Statue of Liberty engulfed in smoke and ash.
[In 2007, for the second time, TIME magazine leaves the red border behind in favor of the green border to celebrate Earth Day. TIME took a page from its departed sister LIFE. LIFE changed the red color twice in its lifetime: the issue after the assassination of president John F. Kennedy (Nov. 29, 1963) when black replaced red, and on Earth Day (May 1990) when green replaced red.]