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The Welsh designer whose ‘TIME cover’ fooled the internet

28 Feb 2022 4 minute read
Patrick’s design on the left, the actual latest issue of Time magazine on the right

When graphic designer Patrick Mulder saw the horror unfolding in Ukraine, he wanted to make a statement.

He wanted to contribute a bold artistic message to the discourse surrounding Vladimir Putin’s ordering of Russian forces across the border.

It’s safe to say he certainly achieved that.

Using the iconic US news magazine TIME as his frame, his image of Putin uses part of Adolf Hitler’s face supplanted onto the Russian president. It was bold, powerful and effective.

Patrick’s image has been shared thousand of times, fooling the internet into believing the image they are reposting is in fact the cover artwork of the latest edition of Time magazine.


“On the morning Russia invaded Ukraine. I was on the phone to a friend in New York at the time and had a sudden rush of adrenaline that I tried to focus on something,” he said.

“Indeed, it was never intended to be a TIME cover. But when I finished the picture, I was struck by how powerful it was, and decided that it deserved an equally powerful frame.”

The Welshman described how his disappointment with the latest TIME cover, played a part in the creation of his own design.

“The image is one out of a sequence of three I created on the day Russia invaded Ukraine,” said Patrick. “I felt the official cover by TIME was uninspired and lacked conviction.

“I wanted to create something that added to the conversation around the invasion of Ukraine and captured the public mood.

“It wasn’t originally intended to be a TIME cover. The finished image was so powerful, I felt that it deserved to be framed in an equally powerful way.”

The comparison of Putin to Hitler was one that was inescapable, according to the designer.

“The comparison to Hitler was at the forefront of my mind because Putin is using Hitler’s playbook in his diatribe claiming Ukraine is part of Russia,” said Patrick. “ Hitler said the same thing in Mein Kampf when he insisted Austria should be part of the German motherland.

“Putin’s justification for invading Ukraine is eerily similar to Hitler’s pretexts for seizing Czechoslovakia and Poland. I used the image of Hitler because – strategic and ideological
comparisons aside – he is the embodiment of evil.”

“I tried to capture in my mind the public’s mood, their opinions on the conflict, the ever growing threat Vladimir Putin poses – and the ever growing list of parallels between him and Hitler.

“War is never simple, and as such a picture can never do it justice. But I’m pleased that so many people have been struck by it. And I hope that it is added to what is a very important discourse.”

Many people have praised Patrick’s design, just as so many have shared the image believing it to be a genuine cover.

“Thousands of people have saved it and reposted it to their own social media accounts without noticing that it is actually a piece of artwork and indeed not a real TIME cover,” he said.

“I am not in control of that. But I think it speaks volumes that so many people may have thought it was a genuine cover and volumes still that many more wanted it to be real.

“As ever, art is entirely subjective. And everyone is welcome to their own opinion about my work.”

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Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 year ago

Although I find that Time Magazine mock-up picture very evocative, and that indeed parallels can be drawn between Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine and megalomaniac Hitler’s invasion of Europe, but I find it strange when the world acts against Russia, rightly so I might add, but turned a blind eye to America & willing allies who with their illegal invasion of Iraq killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians on the proviso that Dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction when it’s been proven that it was based on lies and deceit. Reason being, America knew Iraq didn’t have… Read more »

Mark Hoffer
Mark Hoffer
1 year ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

What? Are you really that racist?

1 year ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

François de la Rochefoucauld famously said “Hypocrisy is the compliment that vice pays to virtue”. What worries me more than hypocrisy, though, is the open goals that the UK government leaves for Vladimir Putin’s spin doctors in their task of duping ordinary Russians into believing that we’re a threat to Russia. Expanding on your example, Iraq bought 39 tons of bacterial growth medium in 1988, and 10 tons in 1995. It’s estimated that the whole country needed about 200 kilos of this stuff a year (for hospital diagnostics & food safety tests), so it’s not unreasonable to surmise that the… Read more »

Dark Mrakeford
Dark Mrakeford
1 year ago

The comparison to Hitler is lazy history and pure propaganda especially when these are the early days of war. It also doesn’t tell the full story, Putin is authoritarian and using war as means to achieve political objectives is wrong. That doesn’t mean any other Russian leader (even any western leader in the same position) would or should allow NATO expansion as far as it has. Especially when the last government of the Ukraine had their leader removed by US backed fascist militias. So this democratic decision was not entirely democratic and backed by revolution. The US also lead Ukraine… Read more »

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