Under the art direction of Harri Peccinotti and David Hillman, Nova redefined the woman’s magazine
The radical British women’s magazine Nova, published from 1965 to 1975, was one of the brightest stars in a period of publishing that can now be seen as a heyday. Its principal art directors, Harri Peccinotti (1965-66) and David Hillman (1969-75), looked to Henry Wolf’s Esquire and Show, Herb Lubalin’s Eros, Peter Knapp’s Elle and Willy Fleckhaus’ Twen for a conceptual method that welded visual treatment to editorial idea. If Nova’s typographic style was Pop European – Peccinotti discovered a case of Windsor wood type in illustrator Ralph Steadman’s garage and turned in into film – then its photographic taste was American bold crossed with Fleckhaus’ preference for the brutal crop. In the August 1966 issue shown here, a fashion shoot by Peccinotti is put into page as a sequence of aggressive jump cuts. Under editor Dennis Hackett, Nova’s editorial content was anything but traditional women’s magazine fodder, with articles in this issue on female gamblers, Britain’s dependency on tourism, and the dour northern painter L.S. Lowry. Nova’s art directors offset provocative visuals with unbroken pages of type for reading that would be almost unimaginable now.
First published in Eye no. 10 vol. 3, 1993