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Front Cover

“Acoustic” magazine is a magazine which is a “sister” magazine of “Guitarist”, which focuses
primarily on playing the guitar, and anyone particularly successful surrounding this. It was first
launched in 1984, hence it is the longest –running guitar magazine in the entirety of Europe. I
decided to analyse “Acoustic” as it features more of a pop-rock vibe and focuses more on the music
as opposed to the guitar itself. Also, I feel that this would be relevant for my personal music
magazine as I am aiming to create a pop-indie/rock type of music magazine as it links in with this
The denotation of the magazine itself is that it is targeting anyone interested in “acoustic” music eg;
artists that play the guitar. The semiotics of this is that the decoder can then interpret that acoustic
music usually reflects singer-songwriters and people who are particularly famous for this. The
connotation of the magazine is reflected in the fact that Jason Mraz is stood in-front of the
masthead, this is because it is implying to the decoder that this magazine is so successful and famous
that it does not even require the whole name to be visible. The fact that Jason Mraz is stood in-front
of the masthead relates to the fact that the magazine is giving the artist a sense of respect and
significance as they are more important than the name of the magazine itself. There is a header
which states “Guitarist presents”, using “Guitarist” magazine’s typical house-style in order to create
a sense of identification amongst the target audience so that they are allured into buying the
magazine. The word “presents” in the header has slightly spaced out lettering with two diamonds
either side; this represents the frets on the guitar which helps to encode the aesthetic appeal. The
words “he’s yours” in the centre third, which immediately catches the reader’s eye. Likewise, the
personal pronoun “yours” directly refers to the reader which bait and hooks them with his wellknown name immediately below. The fact that it is only his article made prominent on the front of
the magazine helps to encode the significance of Jason Mraz featuring on this article, it also makes it
the prominent feature of the magazine which prevents all other aspects from distracting the reader.
As the audience for this particular magazine has a wider demographic, this is key in ensuring that
everyone is focused on Jason Mraz, as essentially anyone who likes this magazine will be allured by
his name and image. The other various taglines are placed towards the bottom third of the magazine
as they are evidently less significant but still provide the audience with a sense of understanding as
to what else the magazine will provide.
The main image is of Jason Mraz, he is dressed in an extremely casual way, with a simple hoodie and
a t-shirt, using direct mode of address. The fact that he is dressed in such a casual way appeals to the
need to identify (uses and gratifications theory), this is because anyone can identify with his casual
nature and look, which creates a sense of friendship and belonging (Maslow’s) between the encoder
and decoder, through the artist. He is photographed holding his signature instrument (his acoustic
guitar) this is because it is essential in selling his “typical image” which appeals to this particular
demographic as they will be able to recognise him. The footer of the magazine contains thumbnails
of the other various elements inside the magazine, this is essential in targeting the primary target
demographic as they will still feel that the other “continuous content” is significant in their magazine
purchase. Likewise, there is a “cut-out” image of an acoustic guitar which the encoder has included
in order to guide the audience in term of ease of access and providing information in terms of a
secondary feature article. The word “reviewed” is shown to be cutting through part of the neck of

the guitar, implying a stamp of approval and also implying authenticity of the review to the
The price is separated from the typical format and placed in the top right hand corner in miniscule
writing, away from the barcode. This is because the magazine is fairly expensive and therefore the
encoder does not want the price being the primary focus of the decoder’s attention.

Contents Page
The contents page follows the same basic house-style of the magazine and the front cover, it
continues the classy colour scheme of primarily black and white, which implies an element of
sophistication and the idea of being “genuine”, which is a key ideology of “acoustic guitars”. The
header simply states “Contents” which makes it clear, clean and simple to the demographic that this
is the navigation page in terms of negating their way around the magazine.
The contents page consists primarily of images of beautiful and dramatic pictures of both artists and
of acoustic guitars. This provides a sense of high-quality to the magazine as only a high-quality and
high-finish magazine could afford to print this great detail. Likewise, this also informs the decoder of
the other special and specific articles that may interest them, whilst still breaking up this text, hence
this is also important particularly due to the wide demographic of the magazine. The slogan
alongside the date “The acoustic’s guitar player’s quarterly”, implies a sense of authenticity with the
magazine as it is a continuous magazine. The various different articles are separated into different
sections in order to provide a sense of ease for the demographic. The feature article of Jason Mraz is
also re-emphasised in a large black box which contrasts the rest of the page, in order to emphasise
how special this feature is to the reader. The decoder has also left the main colour scheme plain in
order to keep to the house-style which creates the professionalism which any prominent magazine
would aim to do, this also allows the images to stand out largely from the contents page

Double Page Spread
The double-page spread features a large close-up shot of Jason Mraz looking particularly friendly,
alongside the use of direct mode of address. This connotes to the decoder that Jason Mraz is a
friendly, kind person and therefore you should continue to read this article. He is pictured against a
wall, this provides the “rustic” vibe and the more “genuine” feel because it does not appear to be a
high-production photo-shoot, this again emphasises the sense of identify (uses and gratifications
theory), between the artist and the decoder, created by the encoder. Likewise, the fact that Jason
Mraz is holding the guitar quote close to his chest implies that his music is “personal” which implies
that this interview is “personal” and “exclusive” to this magazine, which is essential in targeting the
demographic, as it makes them feel like this magazine is particularly special and different to any
other music magazine. The image bleeds slightly onto the left-hand side page in order to create an
element of continuity between the two pages.
The layout of the page is split into two basic columns in order to break up the block text and make it
clear that it is in an interview format. This is then emphasised by the use of bold text to signify the
questions and quotation marks to signify the answers to the questions. This is effective in alluring
the demographic as it is simple and clear, much like the rest of the house-style of the magazine; this
continuity provides a key sense of professionalism. The left hand page uses a drop capital in order to
signify a clear start to the article. This also provides a sense of aesthetic appeal to the demographic,
making the whole article appear more enticing. Also, the magazine has a small summary at the top
of the page to provide a quick summary of who Jason Mraz is, this refers to targeting the need to be
informed so that the demographic feels like they can identify with the artist feature, prior to reading
the interview. The small but clear arrow following the last sentence of the interview directing the
demographic to their right signifies that this interview will be continued on the following pages. The
encoder makes it clear to the decoder that much of the interview still remains in a clear and
aesthetically appealing way, which is significant in appealing to the wider-demographic as too much
text or too many symbols can make the page appear overcrowded and unprofessional.