Today's cover - Michael Stipe

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Vocalist and lyricist for REM, social activist and visual artist. Out Of Time, the band’s breakthrough, Grammy Award-winning album, was released 20 years ago this month
Can you tell us a bit about the thinking behind and creative process involved in your cover design?
It’s inspired by the re-emergence of op art in the past several years, in particular Vasarely. I’ve been kind of obsessively using stripes in all the visual elements for the next REM release, and I decided to extend this to the Esquire cover. The graphic simplicity and boldness define 2011. I am excited to see how the other covers look; I love the idea of seeing them all side by side, either on a newsstand, or on a wall. Thank you for the opportunity to have some fun with this.
REM’s new album Collapse Into Now is out on 7 March
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Just like Esquire, REM's Out Of Time, the band’s breakthrough, Grammy Award-winning album, was released 20 years ago this month. We asked Michael Stipe to explain the thinking behind his Esquire cover design (above).

"It’s inspired by the re-emergence of op art in the past several years, in particular Vasarely. I’ve been kind of obsessively using stripes in all the visual elements for the next REM release, and I decided to extend this to the Esquire cover.

"The graphic simplicity and boldness define 2011. I am excited to see how the other covers look; I love the idea of seeing them all side by side, either on a newsstand, or on a wall. Thank you for the opportunity to have some fun with this."

20th anniversary covers