Audrey Hepburn, Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair

In today's digital age where print publications are struggling to stay alive, it appears that there are a few savvy tricks that still strike a chord with consumers.

Trick No. 1? Put a dead celebrity on the cover.

That's right, according to George Lois, a legendary magazine designer; deceased stars move newsstand sales like no other, he tells Women's Wear Daily.

The industry expert references a number of successful Vanity Fair covers featuring Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn (the best-seller of 2013 so far), Grace Kelly and Princess Diana, who graces the current September 2013 issue. 

Turns out the well-respected glossy has made a name for itself cranking out thought-provoking covers with familiar famous faces to generate an emotional response from readers right away.

"We love dead people," Jay Fielden, editor-in-chief of Town & Country said. "It's part of all of our lives, so why should magazines be lassoed to some sort of rule that doesn't apply to other parts of our lives? What genre of books is most popular? Biographies. And those are often about dead people."

And while Fielden has a point, it's not to say that our favorite (and very much alive) celebs do quite well pushing magazines, as well. 

Beyonce, Vogue Magazine Cover

VOGUE/Patrick Demarchelier

Take Beyoncé, who mesmerized readers on Vogue's March cover, looking positively flawless in an elegant updo and chic black-and-white ensemble that showed off her natural beauty effortlessly. The striking cover outperformed their April issue which featured an exclusive interview with Michelle Obama.

Proof that Queen Bey really does rule the world!

Other major mentions include Kim Kardashian in a push-up top on Cosmopolitan, as well as Miley Cyrus showing off her grown-up side in a sexy white pantsuit placing first and second in sales for the year, respectively.

On the flip side, the article reveals that Nicki Minaj, Rachel Bilson and Dakota Fanning all flopped when it came to their shining moments as magazine cover girls. 

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