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Front Page

The study of identities in magazine cover design

Archetypes Magazines that lead the way

Magazines as people What type of mag are you?

Layout Stick to the rules or make your own?

Jan 2011

Type What works and why

Imagery A fleeting eyecatcher or a whole lot more? PLUS

History Where it all began Famous covers + Merging archetypes + and more

A personal study by John Atkinson


FRONT PAGE | CONTENTS

CONTENTS ARTICLES 4  INTRODUCTION Does what it says on the tin. 6  HISTORY  From the humble beginnings of The Gentleman’s Magazine to Vogue. 10 ARCHETYPES Magazines that typify their genre. 14  MERGING ARCHETYPES What happens when the lines become blurred. 20  IMAGE Is it merely a way to grab attention or is there a bit more to it? 23  MAGAZINES AS PEOPLE If a magazine were a human what would it look like? 24  LAYOUT It can pay to stick to the rules but it can also pay not to. 25  TYPOGRAPHY How letter forms alone can effect our perceptions. 26  FAMOUS COVERS Why are these past covers still talked about today? 29  CONCLUSION What has this study taught us about the magazine cover and its identity? 30  BIBLIOGRAPHY

Typography - P25

History - P6

Famous Covers - P26

Image - P20

JANUARY 2011 | FRONT PAGE | 3


FRONT PAGE | INTRODUCTION

To find yourself in front of a newsstand, faced with a plethora of magazine covers vying for your attention can be an overwhelming experience to say the least. The newsstand is a strange place, a place where there is (literally) something for everyone. There is something for the younger ones, something for the older ones and something for the slightly unnerving and fanatical ones. Because of the sheer volume of magazines on our newsstands today, the covers of these magazines literally have to fight to be seen – like the newly hatched and hungry chicks upon the return of their mother with a juicy worm. In the same way that the chick must fight for attention in order to survive, the magazine must also grab our attention if it is to survive. So how do magazines go about this seemingly daunting task of grabbing our attention? The simple answer you might think would be an ostentatious cover, brightly coloured and bold in every way possible. This might work if every other magazine were the opposite, but even if it were to work it may not to be to many people’s tastes. A magazine cover may be just if not more arresting if were to have one single image and a title (as with Esquire). The truth is, there are very few magazines that will appeal to the majority of people. People, like

magazines, are all different. This means that a magazine must appeal itself to a certain type of person and to do this it must take on the personality (or aspirations) of that person. Magazines will often portray an idealistic image (whether it be a person, or lifestyle) that we ourselves would aspire to be or be like. Whether it’s the cover of Vogue, with its perfectly airbrushed and conventionally beautiful model or the cover of Country Life with its idyllic setting, many magazines will try to appeal to our inner most desires and aspirations. ‘Covers try to connect with our values, dreams and needs’. (Crowley, 2003: 7). Essentially the cover is a ‘showcase for the product’ (White, 1982: 1). This is the one and only opportunity for the magazine to do its bidding for the attention of the customer. As well as trying to connect with our aspirations, covers will quite often use curiosity to pull us in. Generally a technique preferred by gossip magazines like Heat, a quote will be used that tells some of the story but leaves out an important detail. It is then hoped the customer is tempted in to find out the rest of the story and either browses or buys the magazine. Job done. Whether it be curiosity or dreams, in order to be successful the cover should ultimately appeal in someway to the readers self-interest.

INTRODUCTION

4 | FRONT PAGE | JANUARY 2011

Every magazine has its own tone of voice, a persona that makes it different (if only slightly) from the rest of the magazines on the shelf. It is this persona and unique identity that will be the subject of this personal study. The study will aim to illuminate how a magazine utilises the cover to create its own personal identity and make it stand out from every other magazine on the newsstand. What is it that makes a trashy magazine appear trashy, what is it that makes a glossy magazine appear sophisticated – is it photography, typography, paper stock, or all of these and more? All will be revealed in the following pages.

There is something for the younger ones, something for the older ones and something for the slightly unnerving and fanatical ones.


FRONT PAGE | HISTORY

The front cover has come a long way in the last 200 years. Here we take a brief look at how far it has come since those early days.

Journals and periodicals have been in circulation for hundreds of years but the first publication to use the term magazine was The Gentleman’s Magazine, founded by businessman Edward Cave in 1731. The magazine was aimed at the educated classes and contained reports, biographies, illustrations and poetry. The cover of the magazine, an illustration of the magazines offices (Edward Cave’s stately home) remained the same for most of the time it was in publication. The birth of modern magazines coincided with the expansion of the regular press towards the end of the 19th century, due to industrial advancements in printing, cuts in printing cost and the increasing literacy of the masses. The covers were often colourful and illustrated by respected artists of the time. The first modern magazines had yet to see the cover as a marketing tool and kept the same cover from issue to issue. Magazines such as The Strand and Blackwood’s kept the same cover for the entirety of their circulation. The widespread use of illustrations was made possible by the development of lithography in the late 19th century, shortly followed by the offset process, which is still widely used today. In 19th century America magazines were becoming increasingly popular, due in part to there being no major

6 | FRONT PAGE | JANUARY 2011

national newspapers at the time. In particular Harper’s weekly, which had achieved a circulation of 160,000 by 1872 (Duperray and Vidaling, 2003: 11). Harpers Weekly published political sketches, in particular the depiction of Uncle Sam that has been reprinted and reworked innumerable times since. Satirical illustrations though were first initiated in French magazines, such as Le Charivari, which was constantly hit with censorship due to the often provocative and subversive nature of the content.

The covers were illustrated by respected artists of the time. One of the first magazines to realise that sensationalism could sell magazines was Le Petit Journal, founded in France by MoisePolydore Millaud. The magazine was predominantly aimed at the lower classes, who appeared to have an appetite for this kind of content. The covers depicted people, places and dramatic events illustrated in

colour, complete with sensationalist headlines. It was at this time that big headlines were being used for the first time to explosive effect. The cover of French newspaper L’Aroure ran with the headline ‘J’Accuse!’ preceding an open letter by writer Emile Zola accusing the government of antiSemitism. The fine arts were brought within touching distance of the masses with magazines such as Jugendstil and L’Estampe providing a springboard for young artists. The magazines exhibited the work of artists involved in movements such as Cubism, Surrealism and Art Deco. Covers by Picasso, Magritte and Dali were commonplace during these exciting times. Inter-war periods and the rise of Communism and later Fascism gave way to a new type of politically motivated periodical. These publications printed satirical sketches and caricatures alongside hefty texts of political rhetoric. The communist party journal Regards adopted a photomontage style for which the likes of Henry Cartier Bresson and Robert Capa produced cover art. Photography on magazine covers was not widely used until the dawn of photojournalism and the invention of the hand held camera. Magazines such as Life published covers with arresting and dramatic images such as scenes


FRONT PAGE | HISTORY

Harper’s Bazaar - 2009

The cover is now seen as a beacon of promise and opportunity.

from a WWII battlefield. The rise of radio meant that magazines would have to adapt in order to compete with this new media. The handheld camera provided magazines with an opportunity to capture people’s imagination with images of places and people that they may have only read about. Life was not the first of its kind, others before it had used photography on the cover (Vu and Voila – 20’s and early 30’s) but by this stage photography was now taking over from illustration for the place on the front cover. Prestigious photographers such as Man ray and Edward Steichen were regularly producing cover art for magazines that rivaled the best illustrators of the time. As radio had several years earlier, television now became a new competitor to the press. Whereas radio had made a stake for the monopoly on news, television was making a major stake on the image. Many magazines lost out in this battle, including the American magazine, Life. A new kind of magazine emerged at this time that accompanied television and so began a genre of magazine that today boasts one of the largest print runs in the sector. Magazines eventually regained momentum with publications such as The Nouvel Observateur and L’Express bringing about the emergence of the news magazine. As time went by these magazines retreated from the austere black and

white covers that they first published and began using the cover as an opportunity to seize attention and capture imagination. Magazines such as Stern even attempted provocative photomontage approaches that were considered very daring at the time. Fashion magazines, which had for a long time been the reserve of the upper classes, now heralded a new breed of periodical aimed at lower classes. Marie Claire was such a magazine, described as ‘the poor woman’s Vogue’ (Duperray and Vidaling, 2003: 18).

During the 1960’s fashion magazines such as Vogue and Elle began focusing intensely on the importance of the cover. In depth studies looking at what types of images led to increased sales were carried out. Discoveries about the type of model and angle the model was shot from were the subject of increased debate. This approach to covers of fashion magazines has been rarely deviated from in probably the most competitive market in the sector. From this point on marketing has played a major part in the appearance of the magazine cover, »

JANUARY 2011 | FRONT PAGE | 7


FRONT PAGE | HISTORY

 which increased the importance being placed on its ability to create sales. In fact it has been found that a successful cover can increase sales up to 20% (Duperray and Vidaling, 2003: 18). From The Gentleman’s Magazine, to the intensely scrutinised glossies of today, the cover has come a long way from its humble beginnings. No longer is the cover seen as merely another page, it is seen as the most important page. It is seen as far more than just image and text, it is seen as a beacon of promise and opportunity. Magazine covers today are highly sophisticated marketing tools that utilize complex psychology in order to tap into our sub-conscious. The magazine cover today represents a persona; the persona of the magazine and the persona of the person the magazine is aimed at.

View Magazine - 1945. Cover illustration by Andre Masson

8 | FRONT PAGE | JANUARY 2011


FRONT PAGE | HISTORY

The Gentleman’s magazine - 1759.

Harper Weekly - 1911 (top right), Life - 1945 (bottom right).

JANUARY 2011 | FRONT PAGE | 9


FRONT PAGE | ARCHETYPES

ARCHETYPES It would be impossible to list every magazine so in order to understand the many different strands of magazines, the following article will attempt to break them down into archetypes. For every type of magazine there is an archetypal example of that genre. When you think of a fashion magazine, what do you think of? Most likely Vogue, Elle or Bazaar. It is magazines like these that have stood the test of time and lead the way for other magazines of that genre. There is a reason why these magazines have stood the test of time, obviously the quality of content has been incredibly important but this is also down to the success of the cover. The cover in this case and every other successful magazine’s case has done the job of enticing the potential reader into picking up the magazine in the first place. Each type of magazine has found a formula that has worked, a formula that has been in many cases scrutinized to the nth degree. As previously mentioned, in the world of fashion magazines where competition is so fierce, deviating from the archetypal cover style could mean the difference between success and failure. So what are the archetypal magazines of each major genre of magazine? Let’s find out.

10 | FRONT PAGE | JANUARY 2011

The magazine covers that define their genre


FRONT PAGE | ARCHETYPES

THE FASHION MAG

The most competitive genre of magazine, typically aimed at women in their 20s and 30s. The cover will almost always follow the same tried and tested formula.

THE GOSSIP MAG

Typically read by women of all ages and some men (they’ll deny it!). Busy layouts and large headlines are what to expect here.

BREAKDOWN

BREAKDOWN

IMAGERY

IMAGERY

Portrait of beautiful female looking straight at camera.

Charismatic portrait image of well known man or woman.

TYPOGRAPHY

TYPOGRAPHY

Elegant, different weights of same font. Sans serif and serif.

Creative type treatment. Same font used, serif or sans serif.

COLOUR

COLOUR

Minimal colour pallette of normally pastel, feminine shades.

Minimal colour pallette of normally darker tones.

LAYOUT Often quite busy but retains order and a clear hierarchy.

LAYOUT

THE MENS MAG

Stylish and sophisticated and aimed at men in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Relies on a striking image and minimal colour pallette.

Often quite busy but retains order and a clear hierarchy.

BREAKDOWN

BREAKDOWN

IMAGERY

IMAGERY

Portrait of a known ‘celebrity’ amongst smaller ‘pap’ shots.

Portrait of very well known person of current relevance.

TYPOGRAPHY

TYPOGRAPHY

Same font for most part with different weights used.

Minimal usage, usually serif typeface of one or two weights.

COLOUR

COLOUR

Lots of red used as well as other bright and brash shades.

Black, white and usually one other colour keeping pallette minimal.

LAYOUT Often very busy use of type and image without a clear hierarchy.

THE NEWS MAG

LAYOUT

Aimed at a large range of people, typically over 30. Again relies on one strong image coupled with a standardised layout.

Usually quite minimal with focus on the image.

JANUARY 2011 | FRONT PAGE | 11


FRONT PAGE | ARCHETYPES

THE MUSIC MAG

Typically aimed at younger audiences of between 16-30, these magazines have vibrant covers with portraits reflecting the rock n roll lifestyle.

THE TECHNOLOGY MAG

Read predominantly by men of 20 and upwards. The covers are very different and paradoxically very vibrant and creative.

12 | FRONT PAGE | JANUARY 2011

BREAKDOWN

BREAKDOWN

IMAGERY

IMAGERY

Portrait of musician in typical rock n roll pose.

Portrait of athletic person usually looking into camera.

TYPOGRAPHY

TYPOGRAPHY

Expressive use of type with more than one typeface used.

Expressive type treatment with several different fonts used.

COLOUR

COLOUR

Strong, bold colours such as red, yellow and green.

Strong, bold colours such as red, yellow and blue.

LAYOUT Often quite busy but retains order and a clear hierarchy.

THE HEALTH MAG

This magazine is typically adorned with a portrait of an athletic young model with a body to aspire to, aimed at men between 20 - 40.

LAYOUT Often quite busy and hectic reflecting high energy aspect.

BREAKDOWN

BREAKDOWN

IMAGERY

IMAGERY

Digital illustrations, vibrant, bold and eye-catching.

Dramatic and striking images from scenes of recent films.

TYPOGRAPHY

TYPOGRAPHY

Quite a standardised type treatment using one typeface.

Expressive type treatments with usually only one or two typefaces.

COLOUR

COLOUR

Often quite bold colours as well as darker shades of black and grey

Often quite bold and dramatic tones that reflect film on cover.

LAYOUT Often quite busy but retaining a clear type hierarchy.

THE FILM MAG

Aimed at a large range of people, the film magazine cover is often dramatic, depicting scenes from recent Hollywood blockbusters.

LAYOUT Often quite busy but retaining a clear type hierarchy.


FRONT PAGE | ARCHETYPES

THE SPORTS MAG

Typically aimed at men between the age of 16 - 40, these covers usually have images of sports people in action with bold, typographic treatments.

THE LADS MAG

Read by young men, usually between 16 and 30. The covers are always plastered with images of scantily clad young, attractive women alongside bold headlines.

BREAKDOWN

BREAKDOWN

IMAGERY

IMAGERY

Image usually a photograph of sports person in action pose.

Usually scenic landscape photography is used on cover.

TYPOGRAPHY

TYPOGRAPHY

Often quite bold and expressive use of type with large headers.

Serif fonts are typical with only one or two weights used.

COLOUR

COLOUR

Usually quite a bold and masculine colour pallette.

Minimal colour pallette often using primary colours or pastel.

LAYOUT Often quite busy but retains order and a clear hierarchy.

THE NATURE MAG

Typically aimed at an older age range of 40 upwards, nature and country lifestyle magazines usually have photographs of pleasant, rural scenes on the front page.

LAYOUT Often very uncluttered, with a focus on the image on cover.

BREAKDOWN

BREAKDOWN

IMAGERY

IMAGERY

Portrait of a scantily clad woman looking into camera.

Original works of art typically used creating a varied range of covers.

TYPOGRAPHY

TYPOGRAPHY

Large headlines are used as well as bold sans serifs fonts.

Often only used sparingly so that focus is not taken from image.

COLOUR

COLOUR

Lots of bold, brash colours including quite often neon inks.

With the exception of the image typically quite minimal.

LAYOUT Often very busy use of type and image with a vague hierarchy.

THE ART & DESIGN MAG

Aimed at a large range of people, typically aged 20 and upwards. The art magazine cover is predictably quite an expressive piece of work with original works adorning the page.

LAYOUT Usually quite minimal with focus on the image.

JANUARY 2011 | FRONT PAGE | 13


FRONT PAGE | MERGING ARCHETYPES

Now we know what makes for an archetypal magazine cover, let’s now see what happens when two very different covers are gradually pulled away from their own very distinct style and merged into something really quite different. This article will examine the covers of two magazines; Esquire and Heat. Each magazine is stylistically very different from the other, in fact they were chose as they are polar opposites in terms of design. Esquire has a very clean and minimal design that focuses on a single portrait photograph to striking effect. Heat takes a very different approach, choosing to bombard the viewer with masses of ‘bite size’ bits of information hoping that at least one grabs your attention.

14 | FRONT PAGE | JANUARY 2011


FRONT PAGE | MERGING ARCHETYPES

JANUARY 2011 | FRONT PAGE | 15


FRONT PAGE | MERGING ARCHETYPES

SEPTEMBER 2010 | £4.35

SEPTEMBER 2010 | £4.35

EIGHT FIGHTS SIX DOGS THREE FACES TWO MARRIAGES

EIGHT FIGHTS SIX DOGS THREE FACES TWO MARRIAGES

MICKEY

MICKEY

BUT ONLY ONE...

BUT ONLY ONE...

ROURKE

ROURKE EXLUSIVE INTERVIEW

EXLUSIVE INTERVIEW

ESQUIRE

HEAT

MICKEY ROURKE BY AMELIA TROUBRIDGE

MICKEY ROURKE BY AMELIA TROUBRIDGE

MICKEY ROURKE BY AMELIA TROUBRIDGE

STEP 1

Additional information about the content is added to the cover. The type is clean and considered and the cover retains its identity.

STEP 2

A second colour (red) is introduced, design still feels minimal and sophisticated.

EXCLUSIVE!

EXCLUSIVE!

THE DIRTY SECRETS OF BRITAIN’S FUNNIEST MEN

THE DIRTY SECRETS OF BRITAIN’S FUNNIEST MEN

SEPTEMBER 2010 | £4.35

SEPTEMBER 2010 | £4.35

EXCLUSIVE!

RICHARD BACON JOINS ESQUIRE

EIGHT FIGHTS SIX DOGS THREE FACES TWO MARRIAGES

EXCLUSIVE!

HIS FULL AMAZING CHAT WITH ESQUIRE!

BUT ONLY ONE...

MICKEY

RICHARD BACON JOINS ESQUIRE

EIGHT FIGHTS SIX DOGS THREE FACES TWO MARRIAGES BUT ONLY ONE...

MICKEY

ROURKE

ROURKE

EXLUSIVE INTERVIEW !

STEP 6:

Large part of content is tilted for reasons unknown. Further adds to loss of identity as design is beginning to look ill considered and tacky.

16 | FRONT PAGE | JANUARY 2011

STEP 7:

New ‘smiling’ image is added to cover in replacement of original main image which appeared confrontational. Cover has lost some of its attitude created by this original image. New cover feels more approachable but blander in result. Additional typefaces are added and type hierarchy is becoming confused. Original identity now feels completely lost.


FRONT PAGE | MERGING ARCHETYPES

THE DIRTY SECRETS OF BRITAIN’S FUNNIEST MEN

SEPTEMBER 2010 | £4.35

EXCLUSIVE! THE DIRTY SECRETS OF BRITAIN’S FUNNIEST MEN

SEPTEMBER 2010 | £4.35

SEPTEMBER 2010 | £4.35

EXCLUSIVE!

RICHARD BACON JOINS ESQUIRE

EIGHT FIGHTS SIX DOGS THREE FACES TWO MARRIAGES

EIGHT FIGHTS SIX DOGS THREE FACES TWO MARRIAGES

BUT ONLY ONE...

MICKEY

THE DIRTY SECRETS OF BRITAIN’S FUNNIEST MEN

ROURKE EXLUSIVE INTERVIEW

RICHARD BACON JOINS ESQUIRE

EIGHT FIGHTS SIX DOGS THREE FACES TWO MARRIAGES

BUT ONLY ONE...

BUT ONLY ONE...

MICKEY

MICKEY

ROURKE

+

ROURKE

10 KEY TRENDS FOR AUTUMN THE GORGEOUS ALICIA EVE

RICHARD BACON JOINS ESQUIRE CONFESSIONS OF A USED CAR ADDICT HOW TO MAKE NEW JEANS LOOK OLD PLUS WIN A BESPOKE FIXED GEAR BIKE

STEP 3

Further information is added to the page including a simple ‘+’ graphic element. Two different weights of the same typeface are used but this serves to assist determining hierarchy and sense of order. Identity remains intact.

STEP 4

More images are added and central image is enlarged to head and shoulders. New images draw attention away from main image and begin to busy up the page. The image has now lost some of its impact and type appears less considered. Cover is beginning to lose identity.

Circle element added behind words ‘exclusive interview’ in attempt to grab attention. Rectangular graphics are added behind key bits of information. ‘Exclusive’ graphic added twice on page as numerous items now compete for attention. Magazine has lost its sophisticated and high end identity and is beginning to look cheap.

EXCLUSIVE!

EXCLUSIVE!

EXCLUSIVE!

THE DIRTY SECRETS OF BRITAIN’S FUNNIEST MEN

THE DIRTY SECRETS OF BRITAIN’S FUNNIEST MEN SEPTEMBER 2010 £4.35

SEPTEMBER 2010 | £4.35

EXCLUSIVE!

RICHARD BACON JOINS ESQUIRE

EXCLUSIVE!

HIS FULL AMAZING CHAT WITH ESQUIRE!

RICHARD BACON JOINS ESQUIRE

EXCLUSIVE!

EXCLUSIVE!

HIS FULL AMAZING CHAT WITH ESQUIRE!

‘I’VE BEEN THROUGH SOME S**T MAN!’ ‘AM I AGGRESSIVE? ABSOF**KINLUTELY!’

‘I’VE BEEN THROUGH SOME S**T MAN!’ ‘AM I AGGRESSIVE? ABSOF**KINLUTELY!’

STEP 9

Logo is changed to red and given a beveled 3 dimensional edge with additional drop shadow, most likely in an attempt to make it ‘pop’ off the page. Original identity felt expensive and refined, this now feels cheap and unconsidered.

EXCLUSIVE!

“I WANT TO ACT AS LONG AS I’M BREATHING ”

“I WANT TO ACT AS LONG AS I’M BREATHING ”

‘I’VE BEEN THROUGH SOME S**T MAN!’ ‘AM I AGGRESSIVE? ABSOF**KINLUTELY!’

RICHARD BACON JOINS ESQUIRE

MICKEY:

MICKEY:

“I WANT TO ACT AS LONG AS I’M BREATHING ”

More copy is added to the cover in the form of pull quotes. These lines of text offer snippets of content from inside the magazine that try to tempt the viewer into opening the magazine to read on. All white space is now filled and clean design feel is long gone.

STYLE SPECIAL

EXCLUSIVE!

MICKEY:

STEP 8:

STEP 5

THE DIRTY SECRETS OF BRITAIN’S FUNNIEST MEN

SEPTEMBER 2010 | £4.35

HIS FULL AMAZING CHAT WITH ESQUIRE!

EXLUSIVE INTERVIEW

EXLUSIVE INTERVIEW

STEP 10

Esquire cover is now in style of Heat. Several colours are now present, as well as numerous typefaces and weights. The result is an overload of information, each part battling the other for attention which feels chaotic. Hierarchy appears to be confused as the eye feels like it is being dragged from one thing to the next.

JANUARY 2011 | FRONT PAGE | 17


FRONT PAGE | MERGING ARCHETYPES

EXCLUSIVE!

NEW UNSEEN PICTURES!

POSH & BECKS’ SHOW OF STRENGTH

EXCLUSIVE!

INSIDE KATY PERRY’S VEGAS HEN NIGHT!

£1.65 2-8 OCTOBER 2010

INSIDE KATY PERRY’S VEGAS HEN NIGHT!

EXCLUSIVE!

HER FULL AMAZING CHAT WITH HEAT!

CHARLOTTE:

“I WANT TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ”

ESQUIRE

£1.65 2-8 OCTOBER 2010

CHARLOTTE:

“I WANT TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ”

EXCLUSIVE!

This week’s hottest celebrity news

INSIDE KATY PERRY’S VEGAS HEN NIGHT!

EXCLUSIVE!

HER FULL AMAZING CHAT WITH HEAT!

EXCLUSIVE!

HER FULL AMAZING CHAT WITH HEAT!

CHARLOTTE:

“I WANT TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ”

‘THE REAL REASON ME AND GAV SPLIT’ ‘HOW I FELL FOR MY AMAZING NEW BLOKE’

‘THE REAL REASON ME AND GAV SPLIT’ ‘HOW I FELL FOR MY AMAZING NEW BLOKE’

HEAT

EXCLUSIVE!

This week’s hottest celebrity news

NEW UNSEEN PICTURES!

POSH & BECKS’ SHOW OF STRENGTH

www.heatworld.com

This week’s hottest celebrity news

www.heatworld.com

www.heatworld.com

£1.65 2-8 OCTOBER 2010

EXCLUSIVE!

NEW UNSEEN PICTURES!

POSH & BECKS’ SHOW OF STRENGTH

STEP 2

STEP 1

The colour palette is reduced to two colours instead of four (plus black). This has not made a significant difference to the look of the cover and it still looks pretty horrible. The typographic hierarchy remains unchanged and is still confusing as numerous elements compete for attention.

POSH & BECKS’ SHOW OF STRENGTH www.heatworld.com

‘THE REAL REASON ME AND GAV SPLIT’ ‘HOW I FELL FOR MY AMAZING NEW BLOKE’

£1.65 2-8 OCTOBER 2010 THIS WEEK’S HOTTEST CELEBRITY NEWS

INSIDE KATY PERRY’S VEGAS HEN NIGHT!

Colour palette now reduced to only one colour plus black, making the cover slightly more easy to stomach.

www.heatworld.com

EXCLUSIVE!

£1.65 2-8 OCTOBER 2010 THIS WEEK’S HOTTEST CELEBRITY NEWS

CHARLOTTE

CHARLOTTE

“I WANT TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT”

“I WANT TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT”

‘THE REAL REASON ME & GAV SPLIT’ ‘HOW I FELL FOR MY NEW BLOKE’

‘THE REAL REASON ME & GAV SPLIT’ ‘HOW I FELL FOR MY NEW BLOKE’

INSIDE KATY PERRY’S VEGAS HEN NIGHT! POSH & BECKS’ SHOW OF STRENGTH

STEP 6:

Typographic treatment is minimalised and a clearer hierarchy is beginning to be put in place. The top images still draw away attention from main image and text but some pleasing areas of white space are beginning to appear. Cover no longer feels like Heat.

18 | FRONT PAGE | JANUARY 2011

STEP 7:

Top images are lost and logo now has room to breath and can be made large enough to fill top of page. Type is considered and a hierarchy is established. Attention is drawn by image and then type. Starting to feel more refined with some nice areas of white appearing allowing the elements space to have impact.


FRONT PAGE | MERGING ARCHETYPES

NEW UNSEEN PICTURES!

EXCLUSIVE!

POSH & BECKS’ SHOW OF STRENGTH

EXCLUSIVE! INSIDE KATY PERRY’S VEGAS HEN NIGHT!

£1.65 2-8 OCTOBER 2010 THIS WEEK’S HOTTEST CELEBRITY NEWS

www.heatworld.com

www.heatworld.com

£1.65 2-8 OCTOBER 2010 THIS WEEK’S HOTTEST CELEBRITY NEWS

CHARLOTTE:

“I WANT TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ”

EXCLUSIVE!

STEP 3

Changes to typefaces are made at this step, now only different weights of Futura are used. This being said, the cover still feels very busy. Still feels very much like a Heat cover.

£1.65 2-8 OCTOBER 2010 THIS WEEK’S HOTTEST CELEBRITY NEWS

EXCLUSIVE!

HER FULL AMAZING CHAT WITH HEAT!

CHARLOTTE: “I WANT TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ”

STEP 4

Sea sickness is less likely now dutch tilt has been removed. Type still feels like it is competing.

EXCLUSIVE! INSIDE KATY PERRY’S VEGAS HEN NIGHT!

EXCLUSIVE!

HER FULL AMAZING CHAT WITH HEAT!

‘THE REAL REASON ME AND GAV SPLIT’ ‘HOW I FELL FOR MY AMAZING NEW BLOKE’

‘THE REAL REASON ME AND GAV SPLIT’ ‘HOW I FELL FOR MY AMAZING NEW BLOKE’

CHARLOTTE: “I WANT TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ” ‘THE REAL REASON ME AND GAV SPLIT’ ‘HOW I FELL FOR MY AMAZING NEW BLOKE’

STEP 5

Rectangular graphic elements are removed causing type to run into and directly over images causing legibility issues. Type feels scattered and unhinged but cover is starting to lose its identity due in part to removal of ubiquitous graphic elements.

heat heat

£1.65 2-8 OCTOBER 2010 THIS WEEK’S HOTTEST CELEBRITY NEWS

www.heatworld.com

www.heatworld.com

UNSEEN EXCLUSIVE! NEW PICTURES!

POSH & BECKS’ SHOW OF STRENGTH INSIDE KATY PERRY’S VEGAS HEN NIGHT!

EXCLUSIVE!

HER FULL AMAZING CHAT WITH HEAT!

NEW UNSEEN PICTURES!

POSH & BECKS’ SHOW OF STRENGTH www.heatworld.com

EXCLUSIVE!

£1.65 2-8 OCTOBER 2010 THIS WEEK’S HOTTEST CELEBRITY NEWS

CHARLOTTE

CHARLOTTE

“I WANT TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT”

“I WANT TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT”

‘THE REAL REASON ME & GAV SPLIT’ ‘HOW I FELL FOR MY NEW BLOKE’

‘THE REAL REASON ME & GAV SPLIT’ ‘HOW I FELL FOR MY NEW BLOKE’

INSIDE KATY PERRY’S VEGAS HEN NIGHT!

INSIDE KATY PERRY’S VEGAS HEN NIGHT!

POSH & BECKS’ SHOW OF STRENGTH

POSH & BECKS’ SHOW OF STRENGTH

www.heatworld.com

STEP 8:

Image changed to greyscale which evokes sophistication that the original cover had none of.

STEP 9

Logo is changed to black and loses its beveled edge. It now sits comfortably in the background and allows the image and type to take centre stage. The cover is unrecognisable from the original and looks far less tacky and cheap and far more expensive and slick.

STEP 10

Heat cover is now in style of Esquire. The cover relies solely on a black and white photograph to do its bidding. No longer feels desperate like a child shouting out for attention; eventually you just stop listening. The cover is minimal and understated and would stand out on the news stand due to its lack of copy and use of white space.

JANUARY 2011 | FRONT PAGE | 19


FRONT PAGE | IMAGE

IMAGE Some say the image is the most important element of the magazine cover. Others believe it is the words and that the image is merely there to catch the customer’s eye. Whichever you believe it is difficult to argue with hard, cold facts: In the 1960s sociologist Evelyne Sullerot undertook a study for Elle magazine. The results indicated that brunettes preferred covers depicting brunettes. It was also discovered that women who suspected their partners of harbouring an appreciation for blondes would not buy a magazine depicting a blonde model. More surprisingly though the results showed that the cropping of the image also played an important role: ‘none of the readers consulted appreciated faces that were so tightly framed that the top of the head was cropped or scalped by the top of the page. Sales figures proved the point: issues where the cover showed the woman’s face cut off across the top of her head sold fewer copies.’ (Duperray & Vidaling 2003: 18).

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Can an image speak a thousand words?


FRONT PAGE | IMAGE

Changing the image to greyscale has little effect to the look and feel of the cover. Still feels like an Esquire cover, as it is not uncommon for a greyscale image to be used. Esquire has a sophisticated identity so a black & white photograph (which can have the effect of looking more stylish than colour stylish) does very little to disrupt the aesthetic.

Shrinking the image goes someway to losing the striking effect of the photograph. Now feels a little bit lost within the background and the cover no longer has the same impact.

Enlarging the image and causing some cropping of the lower legs does not alter the aesthetic a great deal. The image does not have quite the same striking quality as the full length version but due to the high production value the feel of the cover remains almost the same.

Shifting the image to the left has caused the cover to lose some of its impact which it had when Katy Perry was right in the middle of the shot. As well as losing some impact the cover now feels a bit off balance and ill-considered. The unconventional positioning might cause people to feel a little uncomfortable and decide not to buy the magazine.

Enlarging the image even more so that we are left with a head and shoulders shot now alters the look of the cover. Because the image is now a relatively large image of a seminaked Katy Perry the cover is starting to feel a little less sophisticated. Now feels a bit more like a lads mag than a sophisticated men’s magazine.

Switching the image for one with less production value causes the cover to lose some of its high quality aesthetic. Esquire covers are always beautifully shot but with the new image the cover seems to have lost some of that quality. The red carpet type image feels like it would be more at home on a celebrity gossip magazine. Esquire will normally use a charismatic image also which this is not.

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FRONT PAGE | MAGAZINES AS PEOPLE

MAGAZINES AS PEOPLE As we know, all magazines have their own identity, a persona if you will. So, what would a magazine look like as a person? Below are four types of magazines as people, do you recognise any of them?

THE MENS MAG Male between 25-35. Drives a BMW M5, fancies himself as a bit suave. Buys his clothes from designer outlets and gets his hair cut at toni & guy (it’s a good opportunity to chat up the salon girls). His watch is worth more than your car and his sunglasses are the ones James Bond wears.

THE LADS MAG Male between 18-30. Drives a Golf GTi with a sick set of alloys on it. Buys his clothes from sports shops and Burton’s. Does his own hair; number one all over, not like those poncy salon boys. Has an on/ off girlfriend he met in Malia who may or may not be pregnant. Loves a nice cold pint of Stella.

THE COUNTRY MAG Drives a rover that he’s had for 17 years and is still in perfect condition. Thinks the youth of today are all lazy and should take a leaf out of his generation’s book. Buys his clothes from M&S as they are comfortable and a reasonable price. Loves country walks and only drinks real ale.

THE GOSSIP MAG Drives a VW Polo with fluffy pink steering wheel cover and fluffy dice. Buys her clothes from miss sixty and has four pairs of Ugg boots. Is seeing a lad at the moment but he’s messing her about and apparently he’s been seen chatting up the bar maid in the local pub. Loves JLS and blue wkd or rosé.

JANUARY 2011 | FRONT PAGE | 23


FRONT PAGE | LAYOUT

LAYOUT

ELLE COLLECTORS EDITION

MAY 2008 £3.30

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Elle cover from September 2008. The cover and its layout is very typical of a women’s fashion magazine. The logo is sat at the top, as is the date and bar code. The rest of the layout is open to change with the exception of these elements. The image also sits above the logo, which is a very common technique to make the model appear to be coming out of the page.

Moving the barcode to the middle of the page has quite a significant effect to the layout. This is an unconventional position and feels very strange. Although the barcode is something we never really notice, moving it to an unusual position makes a big difference to the layout. It is now distracting us from the image and type which could even have an impact on sales.

Bringing the logo above the layer of the model changes the look of the cover as the image appears to be set back and lost beneath all the type. This simple layout change has made little change to the look of the cover although the layout feels a little busier and cluttered now the depth of the type has been removed.

The logo on all Elle covers is the highest element on the cover. By putting quite a large line of text above the logo has a considerable effect on the layout and specifically the hierarchy. The logo would normally sit at the top of the page and the top of the hierarchy as a familiar masthead that the customer relates to. To break this familiarity could have a detrimental effect to sales.

By moving the barcode to the bottom left we have not managed to disrupt the layout too much or damage the look of the cover. The barcode is normally found in one corner so this change has made very little difference although it now feels a bit heavy on the left side of the page.

By moving the logo to the very bottom of the page we completely disrupt the layout. The cover now feels upside down, as we associate the logo as being at the top of the page. The has made the most considerable change to the layout as it breaks the biggest convention in the most drastic way. This change completely changes the look of the cover which could have catastrophic effects on sales.

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FRONT PAGE | TYPOGRAPHY

TYPOGRAPHY

ELLE COLLECTORS EDITION

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Elle cover from September 2008. The typography on this cover is quite elegant and light in weight. The two typefaces are both quite fine and delicate, which gives it quite a feminine aesthetic.

Changing the logo typeface now to a san serif has resulted in the cover losing its identity. The existing font is iconic to the brand and switching it for something totally different runs the risk of alienating the current subscribers. That being said the font feels right for this cover as it is too elegant and slender. As it is the same as the headers though it gets lost a bit in the hierarchy.

Adding extra weight to the type has an immediate effect on the aesthetic resulting in the feminine feel becoming lessened somewhat. The cover now feels a little clunkier and less considered and refined. Where the previous cover had room to breath the extra weight on the type seems to have caused the cover to feel slightly cramped.

Changing the typeface now to a very heavy weight causes a huge aesthetic shift. Whereas the original type treatment was understated and elegant this now feels like it is shouting and almost a bit desperate. This no longer feels like an Elle cover and more like a gossip magazine where large, bold headers such as these are commonplace.

Switching the serif typeface to a different serif typeface has again resulted in the cover looking slightly less refined and sophisticated. Whereas the previous typeface was slender the replacement font feels a lot more functional and a lot less stylish.

Totally randomising the typography has a massive effect on the look and feel of the cover. It now feels totally unconsidered but also utterly confused and confusing. There is so many different looks going on now that no one aesthetic can be singled out. This highlights the importance of considered type choices in retaining the magazines identity and aesthetic as both here are completely lost.

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FRONT PAGE | FAMOUS COVERS

There have been certain magazine covers in the last 50-60 years that still get talked about today. What is it that made these covers so iconic and so memorable?

Probably the most famous Esquire cover of them all. Muhammad Ali is cast as the martyr Saint Sabastian after his open opposition to the Vietnam war and refusal to fight. Esquire’s covers are often very striking and this combative approach has lead to the magazine creating some of the most iconic covers of the last 50 years.

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FRONT PAGE | FAMOUS COVERS

AIZ magazine commissioned John Heartfield to create this cover and many others in the time leading up to the 2nd World War. Heartfield was a prominent and brilliant critic of the Nazi party and created photo-montages to stunning effect.

The cover of Time magazine upon the event of Hitler’s death. The image of a cross over Hitler’s face is instant in communicating the message as well as being incredibly striking. Due to the subject matter and expertise in design thinking it is no surprise this is a very famous cover.

This cover of life magazine from 1969 showed a photograph taken by Buzz Aldrin of American astronaut Neil Armstrong upon landing on the moon. Life magazine created many iconic covers during its existence using arresting images of immediate current relevance.

Another Esquire cover depicts pop artist Andy Warhol sinking into a giant can of Campbell’s tomato soup. The image is again responsible for why this is such an iconic cover. Andy Warhol’s art was on the subject of mass consumption and in this image he becomes consumed by the subject of his own work symbolising the end of an era.

JANUARY 2011 | FRONT PAGE | 27


FRONT PAGE | FAMOUS COVERS

This is one of the most iconic magazine covers of all time not only because of the brilliant image but also due to the tragic and fatal circumstances that followed shortly afterwards when John Lennon was shot dead. The photograph is taken by renowned photographer Annie Leibowitz.

Another cover by Annie Leibowitz, this time depicting a heavily pregnant Demi Moore. The cover was considered very controversial at the time with many people being shocked by the image. This image as with all iconic covers does the job of capturing people’s attention extremely well.

This alarming image coupled with the text creates an undeniably arresting image and memorable magazine cover.

The planes that crashed into the twin towers on September 11th 2001 shook the world and it was this image that appeared on the cover of Time magazine and numerous others that told the story of the sheer annihilation caused on that tragic day.

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FRONT PAGE | CONCLUSION

CONCLUSION At the beginning of this study it was identified that all magazines have their own identity. In studying each of the different elements of design it is hoped that a better understanding of why these identities exist and how they aim to relate to the content of the magazine but ultimately the reader. In studying magazines from history we can identify that even the first magazines had their own identity. From these first magazines and journals to art publications of the early 20th century it is clear that the cover played a part in creating a unique identity for the magazine. Whether these magazines were aware of their own identity let alone actively shaped their own identity in order to sell magazines is unlikely. It has been identified that magazines did not gain an awareness such as this until the 1960s when marketing and psychology were exploited to find out what makes a person want to buy a magazine or not. It was discovered at this time that the image plays a vital role in not only capturing attention but also appealing to the readers desires and aspirations. Not only that it was discovered that the job of the image is to relate to the reader and adopt the persona of that reader: A magazine that expresses itself as sophisticated and stylish will appeal to someone who either believes they have those qualities or someone who aspires to have them. Each category of magazine has a magazine that typifies all the other magazines of that type. These archetypal publications rely on a tried and tested formula to sell magazines and have an identity that is both strong and recognisable. Magazines such as Vogue whose covers have followed strict guidelines for many years have done so to cement their identity in the fickle and highly competitive area of women’s fashion magazines. Then attention was turned to experimenting with archetypes in an attempt to identify which elements were

particularly responsible for maintaining the clear identities of these magazine covers. Heat magazine was merged with Esquire magazine; two polar opposites in design terms. It was made clear during this experiment how far the identity can be stretched and bent out of shape before it becomes broken and lost entirely. It became clear that each element was in itself responsible for upholding the look and feel of the magazine cover and when these elements became tampered with it was immediately apparent that it had been to the detriment of the magazine’s identity. The image was then studied in greater detail and specifically the cropping of and image as well as the production value of the photography. It was obvious in the case of Esquire that when the image was cropped larger than had been intended the tone of the cover became altered. Once the image was switched for a lower quality image it was also clear that the refined and high end aesthetic that Esquire had cultivated had become damaged.

Heat magazine was merged with Esquire magazine; two polar opposites in design terms.

A light hearted look at magazine personas then allowed us to see what the human equivalent of four different publications would look and act like if they were real people. This shed some light on the personas that magazines create in order to relate to their target audience. For example, a men’s magazine like GQ will try to create the same mood and feel of other high end brands in order to identify itself with its reader. Layout and typography were then tackled to see how

What have we learnt

they are utilised to maintain identity. It became clear that when dealing with a magazine like Elle whose design elements are strictly positioned that when something as seemingly insignificant as a bar code is moved it can have a huge effect. It was clear to see that these guidelines were in place to maintain a familiarity with the brand that is vital in the competitive world of fashion magazines. Typography was then observed in greater detail to see how subtle and not so subtle changes can have an effect on a magazine’s aesthetic. Simple changes to the weight of a typeface displayed how fragile a magazines identity can be. Whilst retaining the same look and feel with a similarly elegant typeface, the cover still lost its identity due to such strong associations with the original logo type. Then finally past covers from the archives were dug out to see what could be learnt from some of the most iconic pieces of design in recent history. It became clear that a striking and incredibly engaging image made for an iconic cover. When this was coupled with clever copy, such as ‘more Demi Moore’ (Vanity Fair) or ‘if you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog’ (National Lampoon) the impact is memorable. It is images though that appear to have the most impact, they are what first catch our eye and draw us over to the shelf or newsstand. It is also the choice in images that have helped build firm identities for magazines such as Time and Esquire and keep them one step ahead of the game in terms of gaining a unique identity and competing with rival publications. Magazines will continue to think of new ways to give their brand something that will set them apart from the competition. In many cases it will be a case of continuing along the same well trodden lines in order to cement their own unique persona and identity.

JANUARY 2011 | FRONT PAGE | 29


FRONT PAGE | BIBLIOGRAPHY

BIBLIOGRAPHY Crowley, D. (2003) Magazine Covers, London: Mitchell Beazley. White, J. (1982) Designing for magazines, London: R. R. Bowker Company Duperray, S. and Vidaling, R. (2003) Front Page, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson McClean, R. (1969) Magazine Design, London: Oxford University Press

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