INSP Awards: discover the top 10 street paper covers for 2015/16

From the political to the cultural – and Beyoncé to Jesus Christ – the range of hard-hitting and beautiful covers nominated for the INSP Awards underscores the creativity in our network.

All this week, we have been revealing the longlisted entries for the editorial categories of the INSP Awards.

Today we unveil the top ten in the Best Cover category (presented below, in alphabetical order). These will now go forward to the first of our international design panels, who will decide our finalists. We will announce the finalists in May.

If you’d like to leave a comment to tell us which is your favourite cover – and why – we’d be delighted to present these comments to our panels.

The ultimate winners of all awards will be announced in June at the Global Street Paper Summit and right here on

You can check out our monthly round up of international street paper covers here.

The Big Issue South Africa

“According to the World Health Organisation, there were approximately 450 000 cases of active tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa in 2013. This makes South Africa one of the countries with the highest burden of TB in the world… Our readers loved the use of the African continent as the patient’s lungs, emphasising the relevance of this topic in this country, and on our continent as a whole.”

The Big Issue Taiwan

“The Assassin is a 2015 martial arts film directed by Taiwanese director Hou Hsiaso-Hsien, who won the award for Best Director at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. We chose this exclusive behind-the-scenes photo of the main actress Su Chi as cover, hoping to deliver the process of making a film and all the effort the crew made. Our designer used the Chinese characters to form a square layout, which symbolises the special framing of the film The Assassin.”

Faktum, Sweden

“Staffan Heimersson is 80 years old and has worked as a journalist for 65 years. He has covered most war and conflict zones around the world – in 2013 he was stationed in Aleppo, Syria. This is an addictive life style for Heimersson, and he loves it. He was a lonely child who grew up in a place where he didn’t fit in. On the cover he is portrayed as the stereotypical old-school journalist, almost an extinct species.”

The Contributor, USA

“For our feature story, Jesus: Lost in America, we used a photo montage of Jesus wearing a Donald Trump inspired ball cap, using a selfie stick and holding an American flag to drive home the editorial focus of the story. Jesus is depicted as a selfie-taking, self-absorbed American in contrast with the actual teachings of the selfless Jesus.”

The Curbside Chronicle, USA

“The cover for this issue features Robert – a long-time vendor for The Curbside Chronicle and a favourite of many customers. In this issue of Curbside, we featured a fashion article highlighting local bow tie makers The Clad Stache. We showcased the best bow ties of their 2015 Summer line, and the ever-so-handsome vendors of Curbside modelled all of the bow ties. It was a lot of fun and a great way to further incorporate our vendors in the production of our publication. It’s also a way to showcase our vendors in a different light to readers.”

Лице в лице / Lice v lice, Macedonia

“This issue was dedicated to SOCIAL (in) JUSTICE. The cover translates these many layers of social justice, into situations that everyone will comprehend. The gap is obvious and it becomes even deeper when one is ‘face to face’ [Лице в лице, the street paper’s name, means ‘face to face’] with ‘the other’ member of the different societal layer.”

Megaphon, Austria

“Be wild! That is something truly primal, something powerful that can easily get out of control – and, negatively, lead to violence. Where are the limits? How far can we go in being unfettered, stormy and free?”

Mi Valedor, Mexico

“Our fourth edition ‘EXTINCTION’ was an exploration of all the things that are endangered in Mexico City, from traditions to trades. The cover is a tongue-in-cheek way of dealing with our own recognition that, as a printed magazine, we are a dinosaur amongst many of our contemporaries, whom cherish speed, mass production, and all that is digital.”

StreetWise, USA

“The art from this cover is striking and unique. It completely fits within the atheistic of StreetWise, using polygonal shapes to create or accentuate pictures. The image is recognisable and is clearly visible across the street from a vendor. The image was also replicated into posters that were spread throughout the city in effort to attract new readers.”

Surprise, Switzerland

“In February 2016, citizens were called to vote on a referendum initiated by the nationalist and conservative People’s Party, the strongest political power in Switzerland. The proposed bill was aimed at foreign citizens, demanding that they be expelled even for petty crimes and no matter how long they have been living in Switzerland.

“For their campaign the People’s Party used a notorious cartoon: white sheep kicking a black one off a white cross, the symbol on the Swiss flag.

“We put the sheep on the cover because it had by then once again become the symbol of a political power which was about to go berserk. The image very comprehensively inverts the perceived role of the aggressor.”