Design tutorial: Understanding the parts of a magazine cover |

Design tutorial: Understanding the parts of a magazine cover |

Here I’m going to identify the common parts
of our fictitious fashion magazine. Of course, not all magazine covers have all
these elements, and the emphasis given to them will vary. I have created this in InDesign using Layers,
and using my Layers panel I’m now going to reveal these Layers one by one. I’ll hold down my Option or Alt key and click
on the bottom layer, revealing just the cover image by itself. Typically–and is the case here–we have a
single image, and it bleeds to all four corners of the page. This doesn’t have to be the case, National
Geographic and Time, for example, famously have colored borders surrounding their cover
images. Monocle magazine, rather than using a single
image, uses a grid of images. The model picture may be a full face or a
body shot. I will be talking specifically about the choice
of our cover image in the next movie. Next, we have the Masthead, and in the case
of our magazine, the masthead has been created as a vector file in Illustrator and then copied
and pasted into InDesign. The conventional wisdom for the masthead is
that it’s best to use a fixed consistent masthead for easy identification. Some magazines placed their masthead against
the flat field of contrasting color. While most magazines use a consistent masthead,
there are again exceptions. In the early 1990s, Ray Gun magazine designed
by David Carson changed his masthead every issue. While it’s rare, it’s possible for the masthead
to use transparency to integrate with the cover image below. With an established masthead, it’s popular
to have a portion of the model’s head overlapped with the masthead type. Even though this partially obscures the masthead,
it remains legible because the brand is already well established. I’ll be showing how this can be done in a
later movie. This is a popular technique, but it is not
the only way to integrate the model with the masthead. Here are a couple of other approaches. In the case of our magazine, the overlap has
been created by putting a cut out portion of the image on a separate layer. So we have created a sandwich with the cut
out portion at the top, beneath that the masthead, and at bottom the full frame cover image. Next we have the Cover Lines. Competition on the newsstand means that it’s
common to have many Cover Lines. These are arranged around the cover image,
hopefully without detracting from the image. The colors of the Cover Lines are often suggested
by the colors in the cover image, and that is the case here. Here are some contemporary examples with many
cover lines It’s important that the Cover Lines remain readable, even if they run over
the image. It’s common, as is the case with our example,
for the Cover Lines to have a Kicker in a large font and an explanatory line in a smaller
font. Because covers have become so crowded with
Cover Lines, some magazines produce a separate subscriber’s addition with fewer. Some magazines favor a poster style approach
with a single often understated Cover Line, letting the cover image speak for itself. This works well when the cover model is instantly
recognizable Other elements of our cover include the Barcode, which is used to provide a unique
means of electronically identifying the magazine at all stages of the distribution chain up
to the . final sale by the retailer Most commonly,
the barcode is positioned in the bottom left, but it can be placed anywhere on the page
so long as it doesn’t interfere with the artwork. The Date line and Price tend to be understated
but should always be readable, set against a solid contrasting background, or a quiet
portion of the cover image. Note that monthly magazine usually hits the
newsstands a month before the cover date. You may also include a Model Credit, although
it’s more typical to include this on the contents page, rather than on the cover itself. And then we have Flashes and Slashes, a flash
above the top left-hand corner of the masthead and a sticker advertising a promotion. Finally–and this is entirely optional–I
have created a layer of guides, and to see these, I am going to press W to turn on my
non-printing guides, and this just gives me a framework within which I can work so that
it takes some of the guesswork of where I place the different elements on the page. So these are the parts of a magazine cover. We’ll see how we can create this cover from
scratch in upcoming movies.

8 thoughts on “Design tutorial: Understanding the parts of a magazine cover |

  1. Can I as you, if I was to design a front cover using a famous Magazine company like vogue name. Would that be breaking any rules?

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