Join John McWade for an in-depth discussion in this video Magazine design: An interactive process, part of Magazine Design Start to Finish: The Cover.
- A magazine and especially a paper magazine is a fully curated experience. The editors and designers select every image, every article, every word for you, you see only what they've chosen and in the way they present it. A friend of ours gave her five year old a paper magazine and the next day asked what he thought of it (laughs) he scowled and said, "It's an iPad that doesn't work". But is true, in a paper magazine your captive to what the staff has prepared, no clicks, no links, you can't go anywhere else but that's also its beauty, it's a quiet experience, no distractions, no interruptions, nothing flashing or blinking.
You can dwell, you can think, you can mark your place, you can return and reread, you can learn. In our online world paper magazines are changing generally speaking they're less mainstream now and more boutique. I should add that a magazine if you don't already know this is very expensive to create, print and distribute which I bring up only to say that you wanna bring your A game to it, it makes no sense to cut corners.
I mean really there are lot of competing voices out there, the best writing, the best photography and the best design really will make a difference and it will make it worth the money you're spending. This is the first of a two part course where I'm designing a magazine front to back. Today we're looking at the cover, next time the interior pages and I'm taking you with me explaining as I go how things work, what I'm thinking and the choices I'm making. I'll tell you now it's not a step one, two, three process, it's not formulaic, a magazine is a living breathing story telling machine, all the parts interact a change to one ripples through the whole, words affect images which in turn affects words.
It's art, it's iterative, there are surprises but how you make it look your skill at presenting stories with presence and drama and nuance will have a huge impact on how your readers perceive your magazine. Our magazine is called Leaf & Mortar The New Urban Garden. It is obviously a magazine for gardening in the city. It deals with the standard issues of gardening, soils, light, irrigation all that but it also deals with the challenges unique to the city, noise, smog, limitations, space, access, time, is for busy people who garden on the side.
There's concrete, there's steel, there's glass. We want a modern vibe to it this is not Earth mother, not rural, not low me and lush we wanna vibe that's simple and sleek possibly minimal, certainly mechanical, in other words urban. What's cool about the name is it embraces two compatible concepts. Mortar is the hard scape the built environment, straight lines, hard edges perfectly suited to designing on a grid.
And the leaf part is opposite, it's soft, it's free flowing, it's organic and it lends itself beautifully to freeform layout. We can look at the two separately and they also work beautifully together. Because typography is central to every magazine in fact it's a dominant factor let's start there.
- The interactive design process
- Making design decisions
- Selecting typefaces and fonts
- Gathering design influences
- Designing nameplates
- Full-bleed layouts
- Partial bleed layouts
- Open-space layouts