Since 1923, TIME’s cover has served as a historical record, documenting the most influential people, events and issues of the moment. In 2018, the red border chronicled a controversial Supreme Court nomination, a heated immigration crisis and a groundbreaking royal wedding. It displayed slain journalists, troubled politicians and undervalued teachers. It posed difficult questions over American identity, our relationship with guns and the future of democracy.
D.W. Pine, TIME’s creative director, calls the cover one of the most iconic pieces of real estate in journalism. “TIME’s cover has been around for 96 years, and the importance is always placed inside that red border and how is TIME going to crystallize the news for us,” Pine says.
To best fill the 8”x10” space, TIME’s art department commissions an artist or photographer each week, from Edel Rodriguez’s spray-painted “Year One” illustration of President Trump to Peter Hapak’s portrait of the Parkland shooting survivors to Nancy Burson’s face morph of Trump and Russian President Putin.
Watch the video above to look back at all of TIME’s 2018 covers with commentary from several of the artists behind them.