The Technology Behind 'Time' Magazine's Innovative New Cover Will Wow You

It's a first for the magazine.

The theme for the latest issue of Time magazine is "The Drone Age," so it follows that the cover should be shot by a drone, for the first time in the publication's 95-year history. But Time took its drone usage a step further — or rather, 958 steps further.


The magazine teamed up with Intel to recreate the cover's iconic logo and red border using nearly 1,000 of the tech company's drones. You may have previously seen Intel's drones during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics earlier this year. According to Time's behind-the-scenes coverage, they can be pre-programmed to create a desired shape.

In this case, the drones were also set to a specific shade of red. They hovered in midair, up to 400 feet, over Folsom, California, after sundown. One resident who witnessed the display reportedly told a reporter, "Up in the sky, I saw the future."

In a video documenting the cover's creation, Tim Heath of Intel explained that the drones were 1.5 meters apart from each other, and one of the biggest risks was the drones colliding with each other due to wind. 

"I've looked at that border and logo every single day on a flatscreen monitor," said Time creative director D.W. Pine. "And to see it up in the sky, at 400 feet in the air, it was very moving for me. Just to see it flying above you was really special."

See the cover for yourself in the videos below:

Cover image: Elnur /


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