Anthony Wing Kosner has successfully launched, rebranded and managed a great variety of magazines, books and websites during the last 20 years. Editors that have worked with him can attest that he always captures the voice of the publication—quickly, efficiently and imaginatively. As an art director who can think like an editor, he makes a truly collaborative partner in the production of editorial content.
Anthony Wing Kosner began his professional career as an intern in the design department of WNET/Channel 13 in New York during the summers of 1979 and 1980, working with design directors Bill Mandel and John Anthes. After studying graphic design at Yale (BA 1984) he worked in a series of promotion and editorial art departments at Condé Nast, including House and Garden, Vanity Fair (when Tina Brown was the editor), Self (when Fabien Baron was a recently emigrated page designer!), Vogue and Glamour. He did many projects for corporate creative director Bob Barthelmes, most memorably designing materials for the launch of Condé Nast Traveler. Participating in the excitement of a magazine startup made a big impression on him. In 1987 he left a staff job at Glamour promotion to focus on editorial design. Beginning a string of involvement with redesigns and start ups, he was a member of Derek Ungless’ team for the relaunch of House and Garden as HG (edited by Anna Wintour before she took over Vogue).
Kosner spent the next few years freelancing at some of the best magazine design studios in New York. At WBMG, Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser’s studio, he worked on the launch of Adweek’s Marketing Week and was placed by Bernard in his first art director post: for the short-lived sports business trade weekly Sport’s Inc.. Alumnae from Sports Inc. include Craig Reiss (later editor of Adweek), Arthur Pincus (later editorial director of FanNation.com), David Rosner (later managing editor of Neurology Now) and David Granger (current editor of Esquire). At Mitch Shostak’s studio, Shostak Design (now Shostak Studios), he worked on magazines for American Express, The New York Times and People. As assistant art director to Shostak on People’s first special issue about Princess Diana, he began a long association with People, and—strangely—Princess Diana. The editor of that issue was Carol Wallace who went on to become the managing editor of People in 1997. At Nancy Butkus’ studio, Nancy Butkus Design, he worked on the redesign of the venerable Dun’s Business Month which Bernie Goldhirsh (the founder of Inc. magazine) was rebranding as Business Month. When the redesign was completed, Butkus placed him as the new art director working with editor Lewis Dvorkin.
Although Business Month only lasted another year—it was a victim of the real estate slump and recession of 1990—it was the beginning of a very fruitful partnership with Dvorkin that lasted for the next six years.
After Business Month folded, Kosner took a staff job at People magazine as special projects art director. Working with veteran People editors Dick Burgheim and Eric Levin, he learned the craft of celebrity journalism. Along with doing development work on new products, the special projects group laid the groundwork for such popular People franchise special issues as Most Beautiful People and Best and Worst Dressed, as well as the People Yearbook, which Kosner continued to art direct for Levin and Burgheim, amidst other projects, for the next decade. He worked for many years with Eric Levin on developing People covers for focus group testing, and then on two special compendium issues of covers commemorating the 20th and 25th anniversaries of the magazine. They also collaborated on many other books for People, including Unforgettable Women of the Century, Favorite Pictures, Celebrates the 70s, 25 Amazing Years and The Diana Years.
Kosner left People to work with Nancy Butkus again on Corporate Computing, a start up project for Lewis Dvorkin who had become editorial director of Ziff Davis computer magazines. He continued to work with Dvorkin on a series of projects including the start up of PC Week Inside and redesigns for PC Computing and Windows Sources. In 1995, Kosner joined Dvorkin and Jonathan Sacks, who had been the publisher of Corporate Computing, to found Virtual City magazine as a joint venture with Newsweek. He took on the responsibilities both of art director and also managing editor, overseeing much of the magazine’s cultural coverage. Virtual City also only lasted a year, this time it was the bursting of the first internet bubble that sent Newsweek packing.
After Virtual City, He resumed project work for Time Inc. He did more books for People including the People Yearbook, and a book about Princess Diana and the first incarnation of People Online, on CompuServe. Kosner began an association with Time editor Kelly Knauer and produced Great People of the 20th Century and redesigned a wonderful book on the history of photojournalism by veteran Time writers Richard Lacayo and George Russell called Eyewitness. He also art directed a mutual funds special issue for Money and worked with editor Nancy Smith (a Business Month alum) on the 20th anniversary issue of Working Woman.
In a bizarre twist of fate, in 1996 Kosner was tapped by editor Clare McHugh (now editor of Time Inc.’s All You) to be the launch art director of a new magazine that would “explore all of the options available to men in the post-feminist world.” That magazine turned out to be the U.S. launch of Maxim—a publication with no reference point to feminism of any kind. After two issues, many fashion, lingerie and quasi-celebrity photo shoots and lots of layouts featuring shiny pointy things, he was deemed (by broad agreement including his own) not “laddish” enough for the job. The torch passed, mercifully, to the genuine article and Maxim attained its brief moment of world domination.
In 1997, he worked as an art director at Business Week and did a series of special projects including the 21st Century Economy issue and Where to Invest Guide. Kosner also worked on the redesign of Business Week Online and Business Week Enterprise, beginning his immersion in large-scale websites. He continued to produce books and special issues for People, Including 25 Amazing Years, 25 Years of People Covers and Unforgettable Women, and Time, Including the Time 100, Great Images and 75th Anniversary Celebration. In 1999, he also got to collaborate with legendary editor Dick Stolley (who procured the Zapruder film for Life and went on to found People) on a special tribute issue on Katherine Hepburn. Kate didn’t die for another five years, but when she did, People released the issue virtually unchanged but for a simplification of the headline font.
In 2000, Lanny Jones, who Kosner had worked with at People, recommended him to John Curran, a Fortune editor who was charged with repositioning an upstart magazine with a large circulation called Mutual Funds that Time Inc. had just purchased. He worked first as a design consultant, re-staffed the Florida office for an initial redesign and took on the day to day management of the art department when the magazine moved to New York. Kosner increased the newsstand impact of the covers, improved the presentation of data graphics (due in no small part to hiring infographics expert Tommy McCall) and made the layouts more accessible to a wider audience of readers. The more thorough redesign that he produced in 2002 was, at the time, the highest rated redesign in terms of reader satisfaction in Time Inc.’s history and won an Ozzie award from Folio magazine for the best consumer cover of the year (January 2002 issue with a dalmatian and the headline “Pick Your Spots.”) Sadly, a cyclical advertising slump that coincided with a change in the way fund companies marketed to consumers led to a consolidation in the finance magazine category. Time Inc. folded Mutual Funds’ readership into Money at the end of that year.
In 2003, Kosner joined editor John Curran and associate art director Sue Ng (now AD at Smart Money) to develop and test a prototype for a national real estate magazine that Curran had conceived called Property. He also collaborated with former Mutual Funds senior editor Maggie Topkis on the launch of a newsletter on Asian economics for Matthews Asian Funds called Asia Now. TV Guide briefly had a strategy under editor Mike LaFavore to branch out into special interest publications. Kosner art directed special Holiday DVD and NASCAR Preview issues. In 2004-2005 he was editor and project packager for two special tribute issues for TV Guide: Ronald Reagan, An American Icon and Pope John Paul II, Champion of Faith. In 2004 he also began designing catalogs and fiction book covers for Maggie Topkis’ new Felony and Mayhem Press (which has gone on to be voted best small press in New York by the Village Voice).
In 2005, Kosner began working with travel guide genius Arthur Frommer on a new bargain shopping magazine called Arthur Frommer’s Smart Shopping. Originally a joint venture with Time Inc., Smart Shopping was wildly popular with readers owing to its relentless mission to save them money, but less so with advertisers which undermined the viability of its business model. He continued his association with Time with the design of the covers and photos of the year section of the Time Almanac. The following year Kosner began producing Neurology Now magazine with former Sports Inc. editor David Rosner for the American Academy of Neurology.
In 2006 he began a large-scale product development project for ESPN the magazine editor Steve Wulf to produce a new web hub for sports parents and youth sports. SP, as it was dubbed, went through many iterations from print magazine to service oriented internet hub to daily blog before it lost its funding to more profitable ventures. Kosner also redesigned the ESPN Coaches Fundraising website. Wolters Kluwer Health, the company that publishes Neurology Now, launched a new patient magazine, Heart Insight, for the American Heart Association. Working with editor Ruth Papazian, he made health information appealing and accessible to a very broad audience. Both health publications have won numerous industry awards for patient communications.
Also in 2006, Wing and Ko., newly relocated to Maine began local community outreach, redesigning the website for the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust and becoming a training site for interns from the graphic design program at the Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland.
In 2007 Kosner was tapped by publishing consultant Sam Schulman to take over the art direction of a new business and economic policy magazine for the American Enterprise Institute called The American. Working first with editor James Glassman and then his successor Nick Schulz, he tuned the visuals to the subject matter of the stories, improved the use of information graphics and increased newsstand sales with bold, eye catching covers. In 2009, The American was forced to abandon print and now exists as a web publication.
More updates coming…
[If anyone mentioned, or not mentioned, in this history remembers things differently, please contact us and we will be happy to rewrite, redact or reboot as necessary!]