The Making Of Forbes India Celebrity 100 Cover

Anjan Das
Published: 29, Jan 2013

“We live in a world where styles change constantly and fresh ideas are the benchmark. Professionals in every stream, especially design, must be aware of these changes and possess the flexibility and imagination to stay ahead of the trends”, yes that’s what my book of wisdom says. Currently I am the Design Director with Forbes India. Been here since last September and enjoying every bit of my work thoroughly, not to mention the fun with my team at work makes it a pleasurable experience. Prior to this I have worked with different publications such as Travel+Leisure (Thailand), Rolling Stone India, Grazia and Maxim India to name a few. I love conversations on design, be it conventional or out of the box; classy or anarchic; cleaner or clutter; print or digital; product or industrial. A sucker for typography and anything which has “a type” embedded in it. Striking visuals, a perfect colour palate and the right choice of fonts are top on my checklist when we put every edition to bed, so I must have to say “ business is good if the product is better” Hope to catch up from time to time!

It was challenging to create the cover for Celebrity 100 Issue on a business platform. How will the issue shape up? Will there be a bling factor to it? Will the colour palette be different from a conventional business fortnightly? Will there be a scope for breaking the usual mould by tweaking the template? Well, we kickstarted the design and visualisation process by keeping in mind all these questions. The aim was to create a dynamic identity, the “Celebrity 100” logo that was used across print and web which went through a series of design changes.... and then the tedious process of developing the templates, choosing the right fonts and an entire colour palate for the magazine.....Phew!!!! But the final result was astonishing.

Between all these, it was still undecided who would grace our first ever Celebrity 100 cover. A lengthy process of selecting that best face from the list of categories was on. In the end, it was a toss-up between the two most popular faces in the entertainment industry: The two Khans who have dominated the entire industry for almost a decade.

Our final vote went to Shah Rukh Khan, who continues to make the biggest bucks in Bollywood. A whopping Rs 202.8 crore with 23 brand endorsements to boot. On the total point tally he topped the List, living up to the monicker of King Khan and the Badshah (as people like to call him) of Bollywood.

For the cover, it was decided that Dabboo Ratnani (top celebrity photographer) will do the shoot. My colleague, Dinesh Krishnan, our photography director, writes on how the cover shoot with Shah Rukh went about. You can read it here. Between me and Dinesh, we decided that the look on the cover would be very classical, allowing the power of the image and the elegance of design to do the rest of the work.

Here is a video of the Photoshoot:


Since we had planned on what kind of an image was going to be shot (a dynamic portrait), I had decided that it would be interesting to experiment with the printing technique and take the cover to the next level, at least for a special edition like this. For a few special edition copies we felt that we would go for silver foiling on the cover with drip-off effect (Foiling is an innovative printing technology that enables you to apply metallic foil, in-line, at press speed, in an endless spectrum of colours. A drip-off is a special-effect print varnish that is applied in the final printing unit to  sections that have a matt appearance. Then, the coating unit is used to apply a conventional full-area that drips off on the spots previously given a matt coating. This maintains the matt effect on these parts and makes the rest of the areas glossy).

Below are a few examples of how the initial cover proofs had shaped up:

I am sure you would have enjoyed reading what it takes to make a Forbes India special Edition cover. I sincerely hope that you would enjoy browsing through the entire magazine as much as we did creating it.

Till then…… happy reading!









  • Mehr

    fantastic job ! Shah Rukh looks handsome as always ..banker !

    on Jan 29, 2013
  • kw

    thanks for share, very interesting...and absolute the best and right choice for the cover. nobody can mess with the institution srk!

    on Jan 29, 2013
Shooting Shah Rukh Khan
Forbes India wins the first IE Business School Prize for Economic Journalism in Asia