AS Media Coursework – Analysis of Q Magazine Masthead The masthead follows conventions of a typical magazine. It is enormous and eye catching – as it is the largest textual element of the front cover it places emphasis on the identity of the brand. As it is in the same place in all publications, mainly with the same colour scheme, it is easily recognisable. This makes it a convention of this magazine and establishes a house style. The simplicity of it, as it is only one letter, helps add to its memorability this makes it idiosyncratic. Additionally, this helps it have connotations of the music industry – initially, the magazine was called “cue”, referencing a cue note. This could help target a niche audience of those strongly familiar with music, i.e. those with musical backgrounds or who play instruments. As this has been simplified to a letter, it helps reach a larger audience, while also retaining this smaller audience in its history due to the similarities. The simple letter also creates minimalism and a logo, thus helping to establish a more recognisable cover. Main image The main image is imperative in establishing a message and overall ambiance, helping the magazine to portray itself in a way that can help reach its specific audience. The focal model, Cheryl Cole, has been portrayed in such a way to have certain connotations and messages to help her separate from her stereotypical portrayal as the “nation’s sweetheart”. The mise-en-scene, with dark makeup (such as a smoky eye), bold lipstick and messy hair implies strong sexual connotations. This links in strongly with the idea of the male gaze – the intent here is that with Cole sexualised in such a way, it will appeal to a male audience. However, this could be less effective as empowered women could potentially view this portrayal as misogynistic – it could be viewed as showing her as a sexual object, thus distracting from her music. The image is a medium close up; she is the central focus of the image and therefore connotes importance. The use of direct address helps give the illusion of power, thus portraying her as a stronger character, while similarly making a personal connection with the reader. The outfit and overall image of Cole is important – the use of her tongue out, licking a knife is important. It holds connotations of violence and ferocity. This links in with a different music genre – it helps her distance herself from a pop area, targeting a more hardcore audience of rock and alternative. The use of her outfit, a leather jacket, similarly adds to this as it is an icon of the punk genre and therefore carries this association. I feel it is successful at targeting a wide audience. It attracts an audience from the exceptionally popular pop genre, while also carrying star power due to Cheryl’s presence. Due to her sex appeal, it likewise attracts a typically male audience. Additionally, it could attract a female audience due to their representation on the cover – it could act as a role model to them, while also being relatable. Price The price of the magazine is placed in a white box, attracting less attention than the more colourful aspects of the composition. The text is miniscule and unassuming; therefore, it is less noticeable so people will not be dissuaded from its higher price than a typical magazine. It is £3.99, therefore more expensive than a “typical” magazine that retails at around £2. This allows it to obtain more profit so more money can be placed back into the publication and therefore improve its quality. Due to this, the magazine often is printed on glossy paper and shown as a collectible. Advertisers also include samples, free gifts and coupons to entice readers, making it a worthwhile investment. Additionally, this higher revenue means that more popular celebrities can be involved in the magazine as the institution has the funds to pay for it. However, the steep price point could be disadvantageous as it limits the audience the magazine can reach as not everyone will be willing to pay this amount. Therefore, its target audience is more specialised towards those of a higher class who would be able to pay for it. While the audience may be limited, it could draw in readers who think the magazine will be of a higher quality due to its larger budget. Cover lines The cover lines are typical of a music magazine. They contain buzz words and vague descriptions of the magazine’s contents, thus enticing an audience to actually buy the publication. The design of the cover lines, by displaying them in a rectangular textbox, gives a listing effect. In addition, by having a large variety of artists featured, it targets a wider audience of those who are fans of these, thus maximising profits of those who might be interested. The listing effect also means it is simple to view at a glance. The descriptions are vague, therefore causing fascination to the actual interviews. The cover lines on the left are reversed out text, thus standing out against the dark background of the main image. Additionally, the names of the artists have been capitalised, thus making them stand out and highlighting their importance – this could show to an audience that the primary focus of the magazine is musical artists.
AS Media Coursework – Analysis of Q Magazine Rule of thirds The rule of thirds is applicable to this magazine’s composition. Cheryl is in the centre third, thus attracting the most attention and making her the central focus of this publication. With the logo in the left third, this is effective. This magazine would be published in a western civilisation due to its language (English) – as it reads from left to right, this means the logo would be the first element seen. This is recognisable and helps emphasise the magazine’s persona. Main cover line The main cover line, “3 WORDS: CHERYL COLE ROCKS,” is successful for its purpose. The purpose of a cover line is to link in with the main article and image, giving an ambiguous idea of what the subject will be. A valuable cover line correspondingly relates with the main image and adds to the front cover’s tone. This cover line is a bold statement, thus fitting in with the striking main image. This anchors to the audience the bold message that Cole is putting forward, therefore creating an identity that people can relate to or be interested in. There is a duality of meaning in the words “3 words” – while too creating suspense and a bold feel, it is also the name of one of Cheryl’s albums. This element acts as a reference to fans, including and enticing them to the cover. Furthermore, the word “rocks” also has a dual meaning. It could relate to the idea of Cheryl rocking and being “cool” – this slang could resonate with a younger audience. Likewise, it could be in relation to the idea that she is breaking away from the pop genre and moving into the rock/indie scene, therefore she is “rocking.” This language is strong and efficient – it helps make the overall cover’s composition cohesive and effective. The audacious, prominent mood of the cover is emphasised. Strapline The strapline, “THE UK’S BIGGEST MUSIC MAGAZINE”, appears factual and intrepid. The lack of detail gives largerthan-life, impressive feel. Due to its presence at the very top of the cover, it is conspicuous and one of the first things noticed. It gives the publication a more reputable status and would attract an audience due to its compelling reputation. Fonts The fonts are mainly a sans serif typeface – this gives a more clean, modern appearance therefore targeting a younger audience. There is a variety of fonts within the cover lines, creating a more interesting appearance and helping to emphasise certain words. This manipulates the reader’s eye into paying attention to certain areas which are more enticing, therefore causing more interest in the contents of the magazine and causing them to be more likely to pay for it as they will want to read it. Juxtaposing with this, the Q of the masthead is a serif font. This appears more sophisticated and classy, while also linking back to tradition and appealing to an older audience. Colour scheme The cover utilises four main colours for its scheme: red, black, white and grey. This edit utilises a common technique in magazines: using a mainly monochrome background with a bold accent colour. In this case, it is red. This links in with the main image; a daring, striking picture of Cheryl. The colour red carries many connotations that help contribute to this eye catching look. Firstly, due to its association with traffic lights and stop signs, it is an attention grabbing colour. This is useful in a magazine as it will divert attention and generate more interest. Additionally, red is symbolic of violence due to its association with blood and gore. This helps create a stronger, more threatening look to Cheryl, tying in with her more aggressive look. Finally, red can be symbolic of romance and love, thus tying in with her feminine look and the view of her through the male gaze. It is an eye catching colour scheme and used to create a tone within the cover. In addition, it draws the eye to certain areas of the magazine, helping to manipulate the reader so it can maximise effectiveness. Box out The box out stands out against the darker, bolder colours of black and red as it is a light grey. The circular shape is very different from the angular, audacious image, thus juxtaposing with it. Therefore, while not the most attention grabbing aspect of the publication, it still is different enough to hold interest. It adds a small element that can make the cover more interesting; it is also a good way to draw attention to a popular artist or article inside. In this case, the box out is showing that John Lennon is featured within the publication. This attracts an older audience and helps exploit reach and potential profits.
AS Media Coursework – Analysis of Q Magazine Website The inclusion of a website link is very supportive. Firstly, it creates synergy between the online and print texts, thus establishing an online presence. This allows the magazine to target a younger audience who are more familiar with being online, therefore maximising interest. It can attract younger audiences who perhaps do not have the ability to pay for the magazine, therefore causing interest within multiple classes. It can also be an alternative way to generate profit due to the ability to place ads which can gain revenue. Target audience As mentioned earlier, the male gaze theory can be applied to this magazine. Therefore, a strong potential audience is males; the aforementioned sexualisation of Cheryl Cole supports this idea. In contrast to this, a niche feminist audience could be attracted. While she is being sexualised, Cole appears in a position of power; this could appeal to a strong female audience who may wish to see this represented in their media. An older and younger audience can be attracted due to the variety of artists included within the publication. Similar to gender, a younger audience could be attracted who view Cole as a role model, but also an older audience who relate to her could also be enticed. Cole carries star power; therefore, her fans would also be a target audience. In contrast to this, I think the main audience targeted is older teenager/young adult, with a higher class and female sex. While it could be interesting to a variety of people, I think this is a primary audience. Due to the more sophisticated, sexual appearance of the magazine I think it would dissuade younger teenagers and children. Also, due to the promiscuous appearance of Cole, I think this would not appeal to a more conservative older audience. I feel like a female audience would be more targeted as typically they hold more interest in the music business and the pop/rock genre – the focus on female artists additionally emphasises this. Finally, a higher class would be targeted due to the high price of the magazine – a lower income class would be less likely to buy this as they would be less likely to spend a large amount of money on one publication when other music magazines are free or less expensive. However, the magazine has been carefully constructed so it is not limited to one specific target audience – I feel this is exceptionally effective. While it can be specifically attractive to a certain group of people, it is not limited in this regard and therefore can generate more income as a large number of people will be interested in purchasing it. This would be something to consider when making my magazine as I think it is a helpful technique.