Meet the graphic designer behind New York Magazine’s viral nepotism baby map

This week, New York Magazine declared 2022 the “Year of the Nepo Baby” and published an in-depth visual guide to what they call the “Nepo Verse.”

If you haven’t kept up with the discourse, nepotism baby is slang for a celebrity’s relative who is also famous, or at least benefits from their parents’ connections. For those who haven’t had their eyes on the guide, it maps every taste of celebrity offspring from that of the Saturday night live A change of pace for those who have become more famous than their parents. The chart includes a key for parents, stepparents, grandparents, and godparents. It also indicates whether a Nepo baby looks like their famous relative, attended a Nepo baby recognized high school, or is a Golden Globe ambassador.


The internet is obsessed with Nepo babies. Here’s why.

The map was quickly digested by the internet, and those with a passion for graphic design re-created the map for meme purposes, depicting iconic fictional families and forming clever family ties. Each fictional addition to the map was capped off with something like “Damn, that Nepo Baby article was thorough!” labeled. A Twitter user added the Roy siblings successor and Another drew family lines between cartoon cat Garfield and British actor Andrew Garfield.

We spoke to Susanna Hayward, Associate Art Director New York Magazine and graphic designer behind the infamous nepo baby map, what went into creating it and what it’s like to meme your work.

Tell us about your background. Has your passion always been graphic design?

In front new York I worked at Marie Claire, esquireand Even. I’m a huge magazine fangirl in every way. I love reading, writing and designing for editorial offices because it’s the most creative field a graphic designer can work in. We have the best source material to work with and sometimes that means it can go viral.

Working on infographics is really my bread and butter. I love dissecting the information and finding a visual solution. I realize people flip through magazines quickly, so I really want to make something that people can stop and stare at, show their friends, maybe rip out and save for later.

How long did it take to create the nepo baby map?

We’re working on a bi-weekly print schedule, but this project has been in the works for months by our editor Gazelle Emami and writer Nate Jones. I was brought in a few weeks ago and given an exhaustive list of about 500 names. We sat down and said, “Okay… how can we put this on a few pages in the magazine, how is it going to live online?” And then it went on. It was a huge effort for the magazine – our photo department, online visuals, social team, editors, art directors, everyone was involved. It’s the best kind of assignment.

How was the creative process?

The editor wanted some sort of taxonomy that would methodically categorize each Nepo baby based on projects they’ve worked on, presenting it in terms of fame, relevance, etc. connected in some kind of solar system.” That proved too difficult to put together to put it on paper.

So we broke it down to the basics: create a family tree for every Nepo baby. Keep it scientific and educational, like something you might see in an animal kingdom textbook or in a natural history museum, which I found particularly funny in connection with the rather simple subjects. The brilliance is in the text itself, the fun facts and legends grab your attention, so the design can be subtle and straightforward.

Our design director, Thomas Alberty, came up with the idea of ​​making this look like a chart spy Magazine in the 80s and 90s. Their famous infographics with little cut out heads, arrows and information depict some of the most absurd topics, but they are incredibly fun to look at.

Did you expect a strong reaction to the card?

The content is so at the pulse of what everyone is talking about right now, so I expected people to love it. I didn’t expect the design to be a topic of conversation!

How quickly did the memes get to you?

Within hours of the cover going live, Twitter was up with the memes on it. My friend sent it to me Ratatouille one, and I was like, “Oh that’s nice, someone made it look like the diagram.” I really had no idea that everyone would pick up on the format.

How does it feel when your work becomes a meme?

It’s hilarious! It’s such a silly concept, but it really makes me feel like people read what we write and react to it.

What was the most surprising thing about being meme-ed?

That someone cared enough to make their own version! I’m glad the story was as fun for everyone else as it was for us.

Do you have a favorite nepo baby map meme?

I think, Ratatouille is pretty awesome. However, Andrew Garfield’s jokes really are those chefs kiss.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Meet the graphic designer behind New York Magazine’s viral nepotism baby map

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