Tips on Effective Print Magazine Design

Just as grocery markets intentionally display magazines near the checkout counter, magazines employ psychological design techniques that incentivize consumers to pick up, skim, read and, perhaps, buy.

How to Attract Readers

Every page should have a hook that makes readers want more. This can be done with typography, pull quotes, image and headline placement, colors and emphatic language. It typically takes readers about five seconds to flip through the pages and decide whether they want to keep reading the magazine or put it back on the rack.

Be strategic when placing images and graphics

Place unique and color-popping images and graphics on the outer edges of the magazine pages. This is useful for the majority of the population whose first reaction is to skim through the whole book before committing to spend more time on it. When a person skims, its easy to miss the contents on the inner sections of a page since a quick thumb through causes only the outer half to be exposed.

Create a central focus

If an editorial spread requires a jumble of objects, decide on one item that readers should gravitate toward as soon as they look at the page. Enlarge the object or make it stand out among others. Creating a central focus is helpful to readers because it gives them mental guidance.

Pull quotes

A pull quote functions as an image. It acts as an attention grabber since every page is an opportunity to impress. If a person accidentally skips the first pages of an article and lands on the page with a large pull quote in the midst of small text lines, it will most likely get read. It also gives the person insight on what kind of content to expect from the article.

Take advantage of spacing

Spacing counts. Leave enough vertical white space between the lines of text in an article. This is called “leading” (rhymes with heading) in typographical terms. Creating extra white space makes it easier on the eye and produces comfort to readers.

For photos, the arrangement and amount of white space depends on the style and tone of the magazine.
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• Be intentional and strategic with the magazine cover design

The cover is the most important part of a magazine since it creates the first impression. It has the power to visually say “pick me up!” and communicates the what´s-in-it-for-me factor. This is why the cover design should be well thought out and strategic. Headlines should be short and snappy with the absence of uncommon words and jargon. If a person is on the cover, he or she should have eye contact with the reader to establish a personal connection.