How to Design a Magazine

Choosing the perfect look and feel for a print magazine means a focus on Pr-design. Follow these basis steps for a successful publication. Before designing a magazine, it´s important to understand the publication´s content and editorial mission and goal. The initial look and feel of the pages will create a long lasting impression that will either draw people in or repel them.
Magazine Pr-Designing Process

Borrow ideas from other well-designed magazines. Cut out and collect favorite pages and elements whether it´s the TOC (table of contents), photographs or footers. Then make sample/dummy mock-ups until the ideal design concept is achieved.

Basic Steps on How to Design a Magazine

• Create the publication´s logo and choose a colour scheme.

• Select several fonts to be used consistently throughout – for the title, subtitle, picture captions, body text and pull quotes. There should be no more than three fonts for the entire magazine. Choose fonts that match the desired brand image and style.

• On the design program (usually Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress), begin creating the template for each page. Remember to include the spine of the magazine, which gives information on the magazine title, volume number, issue theme and date. Set the margins for each page.

• Place the logo on the cover and determine its size and where it should be placed for every issue.

• Begin filling in empty spaces with “test” contents – articles, images, photos, illustrations, graphs, etc.

Magazine Cover Design

Covers are essential and there are different types to consider. Whatever choice is made, ask: Why would this work with this magazine? What makes this unique or appealing? How does it set itself apart from other magazine in terms of color and style?

• No-word covers. This was popular in the 20th century where covers were seen more as art.

• One image cover with one main line – perhaps a holiday or seasonal theme such as “Thanksgiving Issue” or “Summer Issue.”

• One image with several feature cover lines.

• Busy cover with many images and words as depicted by US Weekly and All You magazines.

• Covers with all graphics as seen in Wired and New Yorker.

Get opinions and feedback from as many people as possible, especially from the target market audience. This can be done by forming focus groups or conducting online surveys.

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Remember that cost and creative choice can conflict with each other, especially if there isn´t a big budget to work with. For example, if the magazine focuses a lot on people, it can drastically increase production costs because of the time and money that goes into photo shoots. For more guidance on magazine design, read Tips on Effective Print Magazine Design.