I have developed a true passion for magazine design. It is a wonderfully creative, yet highly intricate process!
In an effort to help you streamline the production of your own magazine, I have compiled some handy magazine design tips and tricks. I hope you find the info helpful, and would love to hear from you in the comments below!
1. Know Your Audience:
Ensure your content is relevant to the market(s) you aim to reach. ie: If you are targeting business owners within a specific geographical region, such as Calgary, an article highlighting business resources in Toronto is not the right fit.
2. Research and Develop Your Vision
Investigate different categories and styles of magazines that appeal to your target market. Note things you like, such as layouts, typography treatments, basic magazine flow, etc. Clearly communicate your vision with your designer, using these examples.
*Design Tip: Use consistent typography styles throughout your magazine. ie: use the same font styles/treatments for each of your headlines, body text, subheads, captions, bylines and so on.
*Design Tip: Typography and layout can be drastically different for print versus digital magazines. Keep this in mind and communicate your needs with your designer.
3. Manage contributors and advertisers in an organized fashion:
Provide an outline of guidelines and information for your contributors. Include details & requirements such as:
• vision and mission
• target market
• photo resolution specs
• minimum and maximum article word counts
• bio & contact info
• logo submission specs
• submission deadline
Provide advertisers with a media kit (rate card), outlining ad rates, sizing, file specs and any other relevant information. View an example here.
Magazine Flow and Sections:
What is your plan for a cover? What do you want featured? Do you have a cover story assigned? How about photos?
*Design Tip: Your cover design should have a focal point – something that draws the readers’ attention. If you have too many elements splashed onto the cover, it becomes cluttered and confusing to the readers eye. Simple is best – in most cases.
*Design Tip: Your cover is the FIRST impression, the key to encouraging your audience to open and read the content you have worked so hard to deliver! I strongly recommend investing in a professional photographer to shoot your cover photo. I also suggest that your designer be present at the photo shoot, to ensure composition works with the planned design/layout of your cover.
3. Table of Contents:
*Design Tip: If your magazine is interactive, consider linking each item listed in your Table of Contents, with its’ corresponding page in the document.
4. Impressum (Masthead):
This is a listing of everyone involved in the development of your magazine. Its’ purpose is to give credit to your talented team members.
ie: editorial contributors, ad salespeople, marketing and design team, publisher, editor, photographers, etc.
*Design Tip: Consider creatively highlighting the editor or publishing company within this section. Additionally, if space allows, it is a nice gesture to include website links to some or all credits.
5. Editor’s Message/Letter
How do you envision your magazine to ‘flow’?
• Organize featured articles – consider an order that helps break up the magazine. ie: long article, short article, long article.
• Place ads strategically.
• How will your sections be ordered, how will you highlight each one?
*Design Tip: Work with your designer to create a ‘flat plan’ (storyboard) showing the planned content flow for your entire magazine. It’s a highly effective way to keep track of content, advertising, pagination and the overall production progress. Ideally, the ‘flat plan’ will be a team collaboration and typically be revised at several stages throughout the project.
*Design Tip: Embrace the use of white space (negative space). It improves overall readability, provides a smooth flow and adds appealing balance to layouts.
I have had the pleasure of designing a few business magazines this past year.
I invite you to click below & check them out!
Thinking of publishing your own magazine?
Contact me today. I’d love to help you out!
About the Author Jaime Wedholm: Helping businesses SHINE with professionally designed marketing materials. Jaime provides design solutions in a professional manner, with the utmost integrity and dedication. Specializing in logo design, product packaging, trade show displays, brochures and point-of-sale materials. Website – Facebook – Twitter – Pinterest