Magazine Design

Anna Atsingers magazine design
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First I would like to begin by saying this: magazine creation is not my forte, which is something I discovered throughout this wonderful process.

My personal goals for this project were 1. to create a design I was happy with, and 2. complete all of the requirements for the project. I would say I met both goals, the second goal a little more than the first. Number one was the most important to me, because I usually focus so hard on goal number two that
I forget to have fun with projects and they end up looking boring. While I like my design, I do wish there was something different. I am not sure what that something is, but I did try to the best of my ability and just because it isn’t the best magazine design ever made doesn’t mean its not good (at least to me).

Let’s move on to my design choices. I thought about who I wanted my audience to be for a long time, and after switching back and forth from a college age audience to an older audience, I decided to go with the older audience. In my mind, I was designing this for people over 30 who are established and love traveling for more than going to a beach in Florida. The people reading my magazine like simple, easy to read designs, with nothing too outrageous. I chose the picture of Big Ben for my cover photo because I loved how it was simply but still beautiful, as well as all of the space around Big Ben to add text. Going back to my audience, I needed to choose a typeface that was modern looking and easy to read. As for the “The London Issue,” I wanted this to stand out so I changed the font to something still simple, but just different. I also changed the color to a gold color (which I took from Big Ben), in order to once again make it stand out as well as match the story it goes with. I chose to do this with the numbers for the other stories on the cover as well because when I left them black, it just looked boring. By changing the numbers to match “The London Issue,” I was also continuing that reoccurring design. For everything on the cover that is gold, I chose to do an outer glow on them because it was slightly difficult to distinguish them otherwise. By adding the outer glow I made the characters easier to see, and I also believe it looks nice this way.

I wanted to do something that would carry on throughout the design, so I looked at all of the pictures and was SO happy to find the little lines that are the routes on the map of the underground. I thought, “these are perfect!” but I guess I wasn’t the first with this idea, as when an example was pulled up in class someone had done the same thing. I decided to keep it in my design though because I genuinely liked it.

Alright here we go…the alternate story form. My least favorite part of this entire project, mostly because it was the most difficult. I do not hate my design for this, I just wish I was more creative. After coming into the classroom the day this project was due and seeing everyone’s ideas for this, I had so many great ideas pop into my head, but of course 5 minutes till it’s due isn’t the best time to completely rework a page. I ended up doing a simple design to appeal to my audience again, having the albums neatly presented on one side with a short blurb on the right side. I chose to add the red square to give the page a little more pizzazz, and got the color from the flowers in the cover of The Beatles number one album cover. I understand this doesn’t match the color scheme I set for the underground story, but I thought about it and this has nothing to do with that story, so I deemed it okay. I also added the little circles that you see throughout the magazine that represent stops on the map to connect it slightly, as well as filling empty space.

Moving on to my title page for my story. I was originally going to split the body text up on four pages, but I realized I could fit it all on one, and I didn’t need to added it where it wasn’t needed. So bare with me here on this idea of mine: I chose the image that you see on both pages because I like it and how vibrant and colorful it is. Then of course my actual story has a very bland color scheme, basically the same color for everything. This was supposed to be a play on of “going underground.” At the top (the title) it is colorful and vibrant, but when you go underground, it is neutral and dark. This also explains why I chose all black and white photos for my visuals. It held together with the theme, as well the fact that I loved those pictures. Anyways, back to the title page really quick: I chose not to add text because there really wasn’t room for any and I think just having the title is more dramatic and appealing anyways.

Alright back to the actual story! As I mentioned, I purposely chose to make this page “bland” in a sense. Catering to my audience once again, I figured they wouldn’t want colors popping out at them the entire time and distracting them from the story. On top of that, the color scheme is mature, and this story is definitely intended for a mature audience (in the sense of knowing kids probably won’t care about the history of the map and underground). I chose to tilt the image on the top left purely out of creative choice. When it was straight it just seemed too bland for this page, which is hard to do. I added borders to connect the images to the color scheme as well as give more color to the page. As you can see, I added a very transparent image of the original map to the background of this spread. Once again this is simply out of creative choice, I just liked the way it looked, and it was cool to get to use another image in my story. I think it also ties in very well with the theme.

Lastly, the lovely sidebar. This was another thing I am not super happy with, but don’t hate. I just didn’t know what to do with so many images, but at the same time, only using a couple felt wrong too. Ultimately I decided to showcase them in a unusual fashion by tilting them, which I believe is okay because it balances out the seriousness of the story with a bit of goofiness. The sidebar topic itself is goofy in its own sense, so I felt making it even more goofy was fitting. I feel like I should also mention that I am aware my story goes from a three column to a two column, but I did this by choice. There was no need for a third column, and I thought a sidebar looked better there anyways.

Now to talk about my process. I went into this a little more confident than I should have. I designed a magazine for C226 last spring, so I figured this would be cake for me. BOY WAS I WRONG. One thing I didn’t consider was that I couldn’t take my own photos. I had to choose one, which in a sense limited me. I took the photos for my last magazine design with purpose in mind, things like “Oh I’ll make sure to leave a lot of background space so I can add body text there” and such. This time around I didn’t have that luxury, but this is a better example of how the real world works. Odd are, the person taking the picture won’t be designing the magazine, so it was nice to learn how to deal with that. InDesign isn’t my favorite by any means, but this time around I slightly enjoyed it. It was kind of therapeutic to mess around with my design and learn how to do new things. One thing I got good at this time around was adding images to fit the area I wanted them to, and cropping and sizing them just right. Something I could definitely use some work in is effects and typography. I love getting to pick out fonts, but it is stressful because there are SO many to choose from. As for effects, there are so many things you can do, and I can definitely improve on learning which things are good to use, and which should be used sparingly.

Overall I have a fun time doing this, and if I could change anything it would be to “cheat” in a sense and look at google pictures of sidebars or ASF’s for inspiration. NOT copying, but just to see how other people vision things, and get my creative juices flowing. Similar to how I felt when I walked in and saw my classmate’s versions and instantly thought of more ideas. It was hard to start with a blank page and make it stand out and be super awesome! I have so much respect for designers of magazines now, I never really understood how hard of a job it is. Now every time I pick up a magazine I feel like I will be haunted by always critiquing the design based off of what I learned in class, but I guess that can’t be a bad thing, huh?

Author: Anna Atsinger

Senior at Indiana University studying PR and marketing. Buffalo wings are life.

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