The cover artwork for the December/January issue of California Freemason was designed by Chen Design Associates (CDA). For each issue of the magazine, California Freemason staff partner closely with CDA designers to capture the magazine theme in a creative context. Through this collaborative process, CDA fully develops two designs, which are presented to California Freemason staff for final approval. The team then chooses the direction that best reflects the nature of the magazine theme and content.
Both cover concepts for the December/January issue referenced the cultural stereotype of the “gentleman” as a trait associated with appearance, while at the same time depicting the Masonic “gentleman” as a defining aspect of character.
Shown here is the final cover of the magazine:
In the selected cover, the tailor’s construction of a patterned suit is used as a metaphor for a Mason’s goals of refining and building up his personal character to meet the lessons of morality revealed to him through Freemasonry’s ritual. Each seam of the suit is embellished with a moral characteristic associated with Freemasonry – including brotherhood, mindfulness, fidelity, and compassion. The buttons that will be affixed to the completed suit are emblazoned with the classic Masonic square and compass symbol. In the bottom left is a Masonic apron, which the Mason will don to complete his “gentlemanly” attire.
Shown here is the runner-up cover:
The second cover, designed in a classic art deco style with clean angular lines, depicts a man straightening a bow tie on his suit. This seems like a subtle refinement of the formal attire, yet if it were to be left askew, the impact of the tuxedo’s formal elegance would be compromised. Similarly, the addition of Masonry, and the refining of one’s character, completes an already good man. The angular shadow of a Masonic collar, such as those worn by lodge officers, runs from the top to bottom of the cover, adding yet another aspect of Masonic symbolism.
While both designs captured the imaginations of California Freemason staff, the cover with the suit was ultimately selected because it so aptly represents the contents of this issue, which reveal the juxtaposition between the process of creating art and the art of perfecting one’s moral character.
To share your feedback on this month’s cover design, firstname.lastname@example.org.