The Art of Covering Business: This Year’s Fortune 500

Images from this year's crop of Fortune 500 covers include Spam, toothpaste, and old credit cards.
June 7, 2016, 2:00 PM UTC
Illustration by Pawel Nolbert
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Throughout Fortune‘s 86-year history, its magazine covers have become known as an art unto themselves, designed to reflect the longform storytelling that is a hallmark of the magazine’s business journalism. To celebrate the launch of the 62nd publication of the Fortune 500, our annual ranking of the best in U.S. business, Fortune commissioned five additional covers that appear inside the June 15, 2016 issue. See below for this year’s class of Fortune 500 covers and the companies that inspired them.

Monsanto (No. 189 in the Fortune 500)

For Beth Kowitt’s feature Can Monsanto Save the Planet? (MON), a story about the vilified company’s ambitious plans to feed the world, we feature a combine harvester bearing the number 500.

CVR.06.15.16.Monsanto Undercover Photograph by The Voorhes for Fortune


American Express (No. 85)

To illustrate Bill Cohan’s survey of The Last Days of Ken Chenault, CEO of the recently troubled American Express (AXP), we asked Bartholomew Cooke to create a collage of a centurion using pieces of plastic credit cards.

CVR.06.15.16.Amex Undercover Photograph by Bartholomew Cooke for Fortune

Netflix (No. 379)

For Michal Lev-Ram’s story about Netflix (NFLX) and its forays into TV and movie programming, Justin Metz created an illustration that evokes the long shadow the streaming service is casting in Hollywood.

CVR.06.15.16.Netflix.Undercover.RevisePhoto-Illustration by Justin Metz for Fortune


NVR (No. 498)

A photo illustration by Sinelab from an image by Jeffrey Milstein depicts an aerial view of an American suburb to honor homebuilder NVR (NVR), which returns to the Fortune 500 at No. 498.

CVR.06.15.16.NVR Homes Undercover Photograph by Jeffrey Milstein for Fortune; Post-Production by Sinelab


Hormel (No. 304)

For our company feature on packaged foods giant Hormel (HRL), we commissioned illustrator Ian Wright and photographer Edward Park to create a 500 using everyone’s favorite canned meat.

CVR.06.15.16.Hormel Undercover Illustration by Ian Wright for Fortune; Photograph by Edward Park

P&G (No. 34)

And on our newsstand cover, we feature an illustration by Pawel Nolbert, who envisions a 500 made of Crest toothpaste, one of the many products sold by consumer giant Procter & Gamble (PG).

COV.06.15.16.xmit Illustration by Pawel Nolbert

Check out the new Fortune 500 at for company profiles, financial data, stock quotes, CEO videos, interactive graphics, breaking news, and more.

A version of this article appears in the June 15, 2016 issue of Fortune.