Join John McWade for an in-depth discussion in this video I learned design from magazines, part of Magazine Design: Getting Started.
- Magazines are where I learned design. Tabloids were my first love, and by tabloid, I mean the physical format, small newspaper. I like a tabloid for its cheap paper. I like that it's modest. It's not self-important. But at the same time, its size has real presence. You can do things on a big page that you can't do on a small one. Lotsa white, things can be very big, very graphical. And I love glossy magazines because of their gloss, and because of their resolution.
Type is perfect, images are perfect. They're deep; they're beautiful, incredible detail, super classy. They can project authority and they can bestow credibility. A magazine is hard to do. It's expensive; it's not easy to design, so you get a good one out there, and it can make a statement for you, and you want to do that. The magazine stand is an inexpensive education. When you stand at that wall of magazines at Barnes & Noble, or even the local market, there's a world of design in front of you, some of it by the best designers in the world.
Pretty sure there's more design in that one place than you can find anywhere else, including school, all in your field of view. You can see everything: Concept, imagery, typography in editorial design and in the advertising. You'll see not only how to design those things, but you'll find endless ideas that you can transfer to other venues: posters, brochures, web, everything. And it's thee place for type.
You'll see it in type choices, the way typefaces are combined, and sized, and work together and the voices that they make. Some of them will be perfect for you. And it all waits for you. In a magazine, everything is still. There can be magic in that. Real life is always moving, and when you freeze it, something changes. It creates a stillness that can pull you in, pull you up short, confront you, make you pause and feel and think.
In a magazine there's no flashing, no blinking, no luring you somewhere else. The web for the most part is transitory. Things on the web seem to have a lifespan of about 10 minutes. A magazine counters that. It's like a book. It provides a quiet, thoughtful, contemplative place, and it's permanent; I love that. I can pull a 20 year old magazine off my shelf and still read it. You'll want to keep this in mind when you're making a magazine. Voice and stillness are its prime assets.
That space it gives you, the time to settle in, to focus, to think about your material, and you'll want to take advantage of those. Don't try to be a print version of the web. You'll probably lose that battle. You need your magazine to do what a magazine does best. It's not a news delivery vehicle. It's a place to be.