Handy top-down guide to the anatomy of a much loved and persistent form. One interesting question that George Lois doesn't address here: How (and how much) does reading on a digital device affect what's been a remarkably resilient approach?
Magazine covers are a challenge to design, since they have to be both ever-changing and also consistently recognizable. For this reason, most publications stick to a standard set of practices.
This is the anatomy of a magazine cover, starting from the top. Literally.