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Magazine Front Cover - Supporting Notes

Magazine Front Cover - Supporting Notes

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Published by nepaliain
Useful for GCSE Media Studies...
Useful for GCSE Media Studies...

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: nepaliain on Jan 05, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Magazine front cover – some key design features &marketing devices:
Title of publication
– placed in the top third so that it is easily visible,particularly when stacked with other magazines in limited shelf space.Note the distinctive typeface (or font) – in time, this becomes establishedas the magazine’s logo and, once sufficiently well known, can be partiallyobscured by the cover image – allowing both for design flexibility and aknowing sense of recognition on the part of the ‘loyal’ audience.2.
– a short, catchy statement or phrase, intended to ‘sum-up’ themagazine’s image and to stick in the reader’s mind.3.
Central image
most magazines tend to employ a single, strong centralimage which serves to ‘anchor’ the cover i.e. provide it with weight andfocus, and help establish the magazine’s core values and identity. Whenusing human models, the designer will be careful not to obscure themouth or eyes, as they are the most expressive part of the face. It isinteresting to note that magazines aimed at both males and femaleaudiences commonly use female cover models – the difference will usuallylie in the way in which the model is ‘addressing’ the gaze of the camera.4.
– once the cover is anchored by the image, text will bestrategically placed around it so as to advertise the contents of themagazine. Usually, there will be one larger ‘flash’ and a series of smallerones. The larger one will often be placed in the bottom left quarter of thecover and frequently connects with the central image. This is an exampleof a ‘convention’ – a common device to which the audience have becomeaccustomed and whose ‘sense’ they take for granted.5.
Free offer
– magazines sometimes come with small gifts or product ‘promotionsattached. Usually a short message will alert the reader incase the object has gone missing! To be effective, these gifts need to beclosely targeted at the magazine’s core consumers.
Colour scheme
– in order to avoid a cover becoming too ‘busy’ andtherefore difficult to ‘decode’, designers tend to stick to a limited colourscheme. Certain colours are generally felt to work well together and toprovide a particular ‘vibe’ – oranges, reds and pinks are warm and ‘fun’;blues, greens and blacks are cool and fresh. There are no absolutely hardand fast rules regarding colour – red, for example, depending on thecontext, can suggest ‘danger’, ‘boldness’, ‘passion’, ‘sex’, ‘heat’ or ‘energy’ or a combination of them all. Experienced designers develop a ‘feel’ for theway colour works – their skill lies in combining colours effectively to createan impression that might ‘feel’ right but be extremely difficult to place intowords.7.
Name Checks
– the name checks on the front cover act as a clearindicator of the ‘cultural territory’ on which the magazine focuses. Thesenames act like signposts to map out the region in which the magazine isinterested. Note that, in this issue of J-17, while Freddie Prinze Jr, DermotO’Leary and the rest clearly feature inside the magazine, Britney gets aprominent name-check even though she does
feature inside. It is alsoworth noting that the magazine can assume that the TA recognise certainindividuals by their first name alone – Britney, Robbie, Cameron, Christinaetc. Surely this represents the true measure of celebrity!8.
- the language employed on the cover is also significant. It willbe snappy and ‘economical’, with no wasted or unnecessary words. Oftenquasi-poetical devices will be used – puns, plays on words, metaphors,alliteration and so on. The idea is to interest and intrigue the audience inas short a ‘read-time’ as possible. The vocabulary chosen will reflect theTA and will often be chosen so as to ‘reward’ them for understanding it –specialist terms or slang words help to make the reader feel more intimatewith the magazine:
we both speak the same language; we’re all part of the same gang
!Most often, covers will only employ one or two different typefaces, varyingthe effect by using different point sizes and bold & italics. Too manydifferent typefaces tend to make the cover feel disorganised and lacking infocus. Some typefaces come in ‘families’, giving several versions withdifferent weights or modified formats e.g.
Eras Light, Medium, Demi and Bold
Using one of these families can provide for a tidy, harmonious feeling.9.
– competitions and other opportunities to win prizes are afurther way of ‘seducing’ the reader. Quizzes and questionnaires can alsoserve to ‘draw readers in’ and make them feel more personally involvedwith the publication. These are an example of ‘interactivity’.10.
Direct Address & Asking Questions
– magazine covers frequentlyaddress their readers as ‘YOU’, as if they were in direct communicationwith them. By asking a question of their readers (“Could YOU be a moviestar?”, “Which Atomic Kitten do YOU fancy?”), magazine covers give theimpression of opening a dialogue that can only be continued by purchasingthe publication.11.
Bar code, Date and Price
– for straightforward selling purposes, allcommercial magazines need this information on their cover. However, mostdesigners will consider them an encumbrance and will make them as smalland inconspicuous as possible, so as not to compromise the ‘integrityof their compositional work.

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