The Evolution of National Geographic


In the past, images were just part of the cover

National Geographic, the iconic magazine that has been capturing the wonders of our planet for over a century, is renowned not only for its breathtaking photography and insightful articles but also for its distinctive and captivating covers. Each cover tells a story, encapsulating the essence of the featured topic and enticing readers to explore the world in a new light. Let's learn at some of the most unique covers from the National Geographic magazine that have left an indelible mark on the world of publishing. 

July 1959 - First photograph on the cover -- and its the American flag with 49-stars due to the fact that Alaska was added to the Union. 

In the December 1959 issue, the word "Magazine" was excluded from the title. For three months the publication was called "The National Geographic". But by March 1960 the name of the magazine was simply titled "National Geographic." 

Starting with the January 1962 issue, National Geographic included large photos, enveloping the entire cover. 

June 1985 - "Afghan Girl": Perhaps one of the most famous National Geographic covers features the haunting image of a young Afghan refugee with piercing green eyes. This cover not only highlighted the magazine's commitment to storytelling but also became an iconic representation of the refugee crisis. This is a collector's item! 

January 1990 - "The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill": In the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, National Geographic chose a cover that starkly illustrated the devastating environmental consequences of the disaster. The image showed the heartbreaking impact on wildlife and the delicate balance of nature. This cover served as a stark reminder of the need for environmental stewardship and the importance of protecting our planet. 

April 2003 - Afghan Girl Found After 17 Years: A stark National Geographic cover featuring the now grown (and fully-covered) "Afghan girl" holding a copy of the National Geographic from 1985 in which she was featured. See 50 years of cool covers here

National Geographic's unique covers serve as a testament to the magazine's commitment to visual storytelling and raising awareness about the diverse challenges facing our world. From iconic portraits to thought-provoking images that tackle global issues, each cover is a work of art that invites readers to explore, learn, and engage with the remarkable stories that unfold within the pages of this renowned publication. As such they make great gifts for people celebrating milestone birthdays. Not only are the articles filled with interesting information, the ads also give a glimpse into times past.