On the cover: Illustration by the NBDY Design Co. For more info, go to nobodydesignco.com.

When I started at the Reader in 2009, the Road Trips Issue was known as These Parts, which ran in May a couple of weeks before the Summer Guide. After a print redesign in 2011, we made the decision to roll both issues into one, combining the summery travel stories with the summery lists of things to do. 

This year we split them up once again. We packed the Summer Guide with additional meaty feature stories and gave the travel writing some extra breathing room in an edition two weeks later. However, I wanted to keep the continuity between these sibling issues, so the covers were created as a set by NBDY Design Co., aka designer and illustrator Vince DeSantiago. (Here’s a fun, Highlights-esque game to play with the Road Trips cover: see how many destinations from the issue DeSantiago hid on the illustrated landscape.)  

Credit: Paul John Higgins

If DeSantiago’s work looks familiar, it may be because he was the hand behind the aesthetic of Riot Fest 2014. His illustrations are worth checking out, as well as his photography, which makes Chicago look dark and beautiful, a city virtually uninhabited but teeming with geometry. (Unlike our state capital, which seems just plain dark, according to Reader social media editor Ryan Smith. But, hey, maybe there’s a little glimmer of hope in Springfield after all.)

Now do as DeSantiago’s cover says: Get the fuck out of here and enjoy the weekend.