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Understanding what makes a good magazine cover

From: Designing a Magazine Cover

Video: Understanding what makes a good magazine cover

Throughout history the most memorable magazine covers have been those that have the human face as their subject, whether film star, musician, politician, or your typical woman or typical man. As magazine publishing has become more competitive, the design of magazine covers has become about reflecting the right face to the right people. In recent years magazine covers have become somewhat formulaic, a headshot surrounded to an often claustrophobic extent by cover lines, enticing the reader.

Understanding what makes a good magazine cover

Throughout history the most memorable magazine covers have been those that have the human face as their subject, whether film star, musician, politician, or your typical woman or typical man. As magazine publishing has become more competitive, the design of magazine covers has become about reflecting the right face to the right people. In recent years magazine covers have become somewhat formulaic, a headshot surrounded to an often claustrophobic extent by cover lines, enticing the reader.

This is particularly the case with fashion and lifestyle magazines because the formula works. Publishers don't want to mess with it But there is a world beyond fashion magazines, and not all magazine covers have to have a glamorous headshot. Technical and consumer magazines might show a product shot or a picture of what can be achieved with the type of product they're addressing, a photography magazine, for example. An outdoor or travel magazine might feature a shot of one of the destinations featured in their articles.

A science magazine might have a more abstract conceptual or text-based approach. A current affairs or satirical magazine might use a photo montage to recontextualize a photo or to create a juxtaposition that wouldn't be possible with straight photography. In the UK, the satirical magazine Private Eye has a long history of combining topical news photos with carefully crafted speech bubbles. So while the headshot or body shot might dominate magazine covers, they are not the only solution.

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Designing a Magazine Cover

36 video lessons · 16505 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 1m 57s
    1. Welcome
      36s
    2. Using the exercise files
      35s
    3. Looking at the history of magazine covers
      46s
  2. 8m 27s
    1. Understanding what makes a good magazine cover
      1m 47s
    2. Deciding between photography and illustration
      1m 6s
    3. Understanding the parts of a magazine cover
      5m 34s
  3. 21m 7s
    1. Choosing a cover image
      3m 0s
    2. Understanding the technical requirements
      4m 32s
    3. Cropping the cover image
      2m 0s
    4. Working with color and tonal adjustments
      3m 50s
    5. Retouching the cover image
      7m 45s
  4. 48m 8s
    1. Setting up the cover document
      3m 17s
    2. Placing and positioning the masthead
      4m 5s
    3. Positioning, scaling, and cropping the cover image
      3m 57s
    4. Combining the cover image and the masthead
      4m 28s
    5. Creating a color palette
      8m 47s
    6. Adding cover lines
      4m 28s
    7. Using paragraph styles with cover lines
      5m 32s
    8. Refining cover lines
      4m 54s
    9. Including additional elements
      8m 40s
  5. 15m 30s
    1. Creating a preflight profile
      3m 52s
    2. Making a print-ready PDF
      9m 24s
    3. Packaging and archiving the project
      2m 14s
  6. 34m 16s
    1. Setting up the Photoshop document
      6m 19s
    2. Placing and scaling the cover image in Photoshop
      3m 11s
    3. Combining the image and the masthead in Photoshop
      5m 49s
    4. Working with text in Photoshop
      9m 33s
    5. Creating a peeling sticker in Photoshop
      6m 16s
    6. Preparing for print in Photoshop
      3m 8s
  7. 35m 7s
    1. Setting up the Illustrator document
      4m 35s
    2. Placing, scaling, and cropping the cover image in Illustrator
      3m 30s
    3. Combining the cover image and the masthead in Illustrator
      3m 5s
    4. Adding more cover lines in Illustrator
      9m 41s
    5. Adding cover items in Illustrator
      9m 32s
    6. Preparing for print in Illustrator
      4m 44s
  8. 1m 11s
    1. Goodbye and next steps
      1m 11s

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