Production Log: Research Into Double-Page Spreads (DPS’s)

•March 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

27th March 2009:
Research and Analysis into double-page spreads and the elements that make them visually acceptable

For my research into double-page spreads, i have decided to study examples practically as well digitally. Using a friends collection of Kerrang magazines, i had many examples of DPS’s to study with each magazine containing no less than 3-5. Below is a photograph of one such Kerrang DPS and below that is my analogy.
Left PageRight Page

The first thing i noticed is the use of numerous fonts in the DPS. It appears that more important text (words/phrases/sentences that the company wanted to stand out more on the page) has been given a more noticeable form, for example in this case the main header, “anything could happen”, has had its size increased to fill around 30% of the left page alone, had an interesting colour scheme added which is found nowhere else in any individual piece of text on the page and has a font that is also unique to only the main header of the page. The text below that is then given a similar colour scheme and similar style to soften the contrast that exists between the ‘extravagant’ header and ‘plain’ text, whilst the article itself is primarily white besides the red seen in the first letter of the opening paragraph. I have concluded that Kerrang have done this in order to keep the reader engaged after being primarily captured by the bold text at the top of the page. The readers attention is then softly taken below to the title of the article before being transferred easily and ‘non-dramatically’ to the article/main text. This ‘easy-reading’ is crucial for a double-page spread and dramatic change in colour or style will result in the reader being undirected and reading whatever their eyes looks at first. This is obviously not what editors wish to achieve when giving different text different appearances. 

Although Kerrang provided several sufficient examples of DPS’s, of which i learnt a lot about how double-page spreads are configured, i felt that by studying an article not featured in a music magazine, i would gain a insight into magazine design diversity and also what factors are common in all double-page spreads.

DPS 2

DPS 3

Both examples above are not from music magazines. The first is (i assume) from some sort of film magazine, perhaps featuring an actress/character profile. The image below that shows a DPS taken from a photography magazine. Firstly the common factors. Like the Kerrang DPS, the photography example features a photograph blown-up across both pages of the spread and is not boxed-off or cut into to make way for the articles contents and text. This style is common across the majority of double-page spreads that i have studied. However this does provide me with a lot of interest into the ‘Angel’ example. The title of the article takes up the whole of the left page, accompanying a design adopting the DPS’s colour scheme. The rest of the spread is then virtually blank/white and the only image is situated to the extreme right of the right page. The article sits in a similar vertical fashion to the image, resulting in a neat and organised “rule-of-3′ design. I feel the DPS works, but would not be suitable for a music magazine. I think i will use a full 2-page photograph for my double-page-spread. Another thing i like is the way that the text on both the Kerrang example and the photography example does not seriously spoil or intrude upon the image or the images main focal point. I will try to use this style in my magazine, as i agree the image on a double page spread can be equally as important as the article itself. Another point worth consideration is perhaps integrating the image and text in such a way that the interact off each other which if done correctly would create a very dynamic DPS.

Production Log: Contents Page Research

•March 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

14th March:
Research into the appearance and different elements that make up contents pages

Here i have simply analysed several different contents pages from several different magazines and identified key elements of each one. I shall differentiate between common factors and indifferent factors really seen in contents pages. The first page i have chosen to study is a contents page from a november edition of Q magazine.

 

Q Magazine Contents Page

Q Magazine Contents Page

Obviously the focus point of the page is the large image of an artist here unusually placed on the contents page. Usually an image of this size will only be found on the front cover of a magazine, however i think it works here very well. I found that the text used all over the contents page is fairly small and no text stands out on the page as a focus point. I don’t like this and i feel a large text somewhere on the page will work more effectively.

contents_bkg

This image isn’t obviously from an established magazine, and i presume it is a students work, however i chose to analyse it for the bold feature included. I do not like the image or colour scheme the editor has chosen to use, however i love the way that the masthead (“Contents”) has been placed to the left of the canvas, and not only that, but the word is unusually facing outwards from the centre of the page, unlike other pieces of text which would normally faced inwards if placed on their side. I think i will use this technique (placing text down the page as appose to across it) as it keeps the page expressive without using images of large size.

Production Log: Front Cover Final Draft

•March 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

26th March 2009:
Completion of final draft of front cover

Applying feedback from my surveys and information gathered from my research into music magazine front covers, i have decided to name my magazine Fried. A magazine aimed at the indie/ new alternative scene offering an unrivaled insight into the lives of popular bands and artists. Features taking readers behind the scenes and even into the lives and homes of their favorite bands. Exposes who influences the featured artists as well as who influenced them when they were starting out. Advice from artists is given as well things such as secret hobbies and “guilty music pleasures”. I feel that such a simple house style and creative/original title contrast nicely to give the magazine a certain ‘edge’.

I have created several fictional band names for my front cover, one of which i think shall feature on my double page spread but this is not yet final. I have also added some new features in addition to the ones that i used in my preliminary task. These include an above-masthead header containing a catchy tag-line which is not yet finalised and also a stamp above the barcode containing a ‘free!’ offer.

Using skills learnt during the construction process of my preliminary task, i have put quite a lot of technical skill into creation of the text included all over the front cover, the title in particular i am very proud of and the colour scheme i have chosen for both the title and indeed the rest of the cover is, i feel, very original and unique and adds to the magazines personality.

I have yet to take any original images for my front cover, however i intend for the images i will take to look quite similar to the internet-sourced image i have included on my final draft.

 

Fried Magazine

Fried Magazine

Production Log: Minor Edit

•March 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Following a problem with my original images, i had to find a new model to feature on the front cover of Planet magazine. However, finding someone proved to be more difficult than first anticipated and as a last resort i had to photograph a male. This of course does not fit the persona of the character mentioned on my magazines front cover and contents page; “Diana Starkins”. I do not consider this name to be of any importance to my magazine, but my earlier survey did show that the name “Starkins” was very popular. So keeping that, i simply changed “Diana” with the name “Ray”. I put this name forward along with 2 others; “George” and “Dan” to a small group of students and all agreed that this name worked better with the established surname than any of the others.

Preliminary Task: Final Piece

•March 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

 

Planet Magazine Cover

Planet Magazine Cover

 

Planet Magazine Contents Page

Planet Magazine Contents Page

Preliminary Task: Project Evaluation

•March 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

For my foundation portfolio i chose the print (magazine) pathway. When first presented with the 2 different options, i initially preferred the idea of creating a short film in the video pathway. I am a fan of video and felt i would enjoy it greatly, however the many elements and challenges that come with the print option appealed to me greatly. Our task was to produce the front cover of a school/college magazine using an image manipulation program (Photoshop). The cover had to feature a photograph of a student in medium close-up with appropriately laid-out text and a masthead. To demonstrate our understanding of the program used, we also had to create a “mock-up” of the magazines contents page. All of the images that we used had to be our own and completely original.

After being given our assignment brief, we then moved straight into research and development of initial ideas. Firstly, i chose to simply examine examples of established magazines (music magazines ‘Q’ and ‘UNCUT’). I examined firstly the magazines as a whole entity, analysing complete articles, general page style, etc. I did this in order to see whether magazines maintained their style throughout, and also to see how the magazines particular style was enforced into simple things like page layout and articulacy of headlines. I then studied the magazine front covers in great detail, noting the use of colour schemes, text placement, font, etc and then examined how these elements blended and worked with the main image on the cover. I found that ‘uncut magazine’ in particular tended to use black and white imagery on the cover which effectively contrasts with the use of the colour red is used in both their title and main headline(s). This gave me the idea of choosing an unfamiliar colour scheme. When studying other magazines including Rolling Stone magazine, i found that they also adopted the popular colour red to integrate into their magazine style. I then decided to make sure red was not included in my style and although it is clearly popular and works well with mastheads, etc, i wanted my magazine to clearly stand out in terms of its colour scheme. I also concluded that the font used in the title of a magazine was very important and because, in many cases, the magazines title is it’s logo, i wanted to really dedicate as many new skills (in Photoshop) as i could into creating the title’s appearance. 

After noting numerous style details of different covers, i then began drafting ideas on what my magazine would essentially “be”. Because the assignment brief is a moderately specified one, i initially assumed that the choices i would have to make in relation to the magazines genre and style would be very limited. However, when studying the brief again i noted that it only specified the magazine had to be for a school/college and for its students, it did not give specific detail into the college itself. I then had the idea of creating a fictional college of which my magazine would be for, thus of course allowing much more imagination to be put into the project. At first. my ideas consisted of recognisable specialist colleges such as a sports college, a performing arts college, etc, however i felt that by having such a large “blank canvas” and only filling it with simple ideas was a waste of an opportunity to show creative imagination. I then come up with the idea of a college of astronomy. This would mean i could feature very indifferent headlines and give insight into a community that would otherwise remain quite unheard of.

With several ‘initial ideas’ to think about, I then finalised 3 of them which i would put before a focus group in order to take feedback about which sounds most interesting and which was of course more popular. These 3 ideas were all based around my idea of having a specialist college which would house my magazine and i had a un-finalised title, main headline and theme for each of them. After proposing all 3 ideas, everyone agreed that the astrology magazine would be the best to create. The main reason they gave was that it was very different to anything else that had been suggested. The focus group of about 30 students also agreed that “PLANET” would be the best title for the magazine, as appose to 2 others i had suggested which were “Cosmos magazine” and “Stars magazine”. Using the focus groups strong feedback and opinion, i finalised the magazine as belonging to a college of astronomy and being named Planet.

Before construction could take place, our class (with the majority opt for the print/magazine option) were given approximately 5, 4-hour-long sessions including training and tutorial on how to use the image manipulation program; Photoshop. Were were taught how to use basic features including layer management. Whilst learning new skills in college, i also used the internet at home to learn more Photoshop skills which i would also practice at home using the latest version of Photoshop. Every session i would create a new idea about the creation of my magazine cover as new skills were given to me, for example, the many elements put into text and font. With training over, we were then asked to begin the construction process. This could have been done in several ways: some chose to create draft after draft, taking teacher/mentor feedback every time in order to improve the next, while others chose to put a lot of time into specific elements resulting in a very detailed and refined production.

Day 1 of construction and i chose to start work on the title, an element of my cover which i really wanted to stand out above other elements. With the title, “Planet” now finalised, i began browsing different fonts in different sizes to see how well they blended with the word. To gain a realistic idea of how my title would look against my original image, i chose to create drafts of the title against a random image i took from Google Images. The font i decided on was Stone Sans ITC TT. I chose it because unlike other fonts it remained simple looking even when i added a bold effect and if it was given a drop shadow. Now happy with my font, i spent a long time creating the effect of my title. I decided that my yellow, green, black and silver colour scheme worked well with the shape of the title and also experimented thoroughly using different ‘text-tweaks’ and warps. My finished masthead looks, in my opinion, very effective and because of the high level it has been tweaked; totally unique. I now however had a very unusual colour scheme to work with and i thought i would struggle to integrate it into the remaining elements of my magazine cover, but this was not as challenging as i first assumed. I concluded that by not including any or too much green in my original image, the text would contrast effectively with the remaining colours in the image.

Production Log: Magazine Cover Research

•January 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

29th january 2009:
Research of existing magazine covers, acknowledging key factors or USP’s of existing magazine covers

For this stage in my research section, i have decided to simply browse existing magazine covers and pick up on distinctive factors. I will then analyse each factor individually whilst including exemplar images of what i am referring to. To begin with, i have noticed that Rolling Stone magazine adopts a style in its covers with almost every cover it is possible…

Rolling Stone Cover 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rolling Stone Cover 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In study of this magazine i have noticed that the featured artist or act on the front of every magazine will (dependent on the nature of the image) Overlap the masthead; Rolling Stone. This is not the case for the rest of the items on the page such as sub-headers or captions, etc yet the title is rarely full/complete visually. With many products, i think that a name (company name, designers name, etc) is very very important to the products success or even ability to sell. For example, if the Cadbury logo accompanies an image or word, no matter how unheard of, you will trust the product is a good one as you know and trust the company who’s logo is on it. Another situation this can clearly be applied to is designer wear. A designer pair of sunglasses may be equally as impressive or good looking as any other pair of sunglasses, but because it says gucci on the side, the product is instantly more desirable. So with this in mind, it is easy to conclude that Rolling Stone magazine does not sell simply because it is an established or trustworthy magazine, but it is down to the artist or content on the front page. The title (name/logo) is important, yet in this case secondary to the magazines success. 

Kerrang cover 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Rolling Stone Cover 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here, i have observed the nature of all text included on the front cover. In the examples above, i glanced at each cover several times to discover which element of text of each cover is most noticeable/ attracts the eyes attention most immediately. Certainly with the rolling Stone example, obviously besides the image, the first thing that caught my eye was the name “Avril Lavigne”, after that the other artist names on the cover began to stand out. This is because the largest text on the cover is the featured artist name in addition to it being a bold black colour. Other lines of text of this nature (darkly coloured and perhaps larger than other text) are all names of artists. This is because a music magazine is primarily purchased because the customer is interested in either the genre of the magazine or the artists included inside it, so it would make sense to make the names the boldest features of the cover. With the Kerrang cover, the featured artists name is again the most ‘attractive’ text and like the RS cover, the names of the remaining artists featured share the main bolder colour as the main name. I will now try to include this method in my magazine cover as i feel it is very important.

Q Cover 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Q Cover 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When observing established music magazine, “Q”, i recognised that it was different to many other covers i had studied but could give a reason for why i thought this. Obviously because the title is a one-letter-logo the magazine will look different, but i think the way the rest of the magazines features are placed is quite significant. For example, in both covers i have included, there is an average amount of information displayed, yet somehow the cover does not look as crowded and busy as other covers i have studied. I have noticed that a fair amount of information is displayed in places that are not instantly noticeable, for example the footer at the very bottom of the physical canvas and in some cases information is actually included on the spine of the magazine. Additionally, on both covers a lot of emphasis is put onto the artists featured in the magazines. I also recognised that in “Q”, much like many other music magazines, the title is made of a red and white colour scheme. I am unsure as to why this is but will perhaps integrate this colour scheme into my magazine.

Production Log UPDATE

I have decided to finalise the 3 ideas i put forward last session. The 3 names i have chosen are certain as well are the 3 music magazine styles and I’m pretty certain that the titles i have assigned to each idea are best suited. This said however, when presenting to a focus group i will ask participants to give me feedback as to whether one of my final titles would perhaps better suit another idea. Below are some possible motto’s for my magazine ideas: 

Fried Magazine – The indie worm taking you further inside

Wired Magazine – Bringing undiscovered rock to your sweaty palms

DiscoFiction Magazine – We dance, you dance everyone MIX