Research, WBL 1

The tutors provided some magazines to look through that are out there at the moment so as a starting point I am going to look at them. here is a link to the company that we are working with and the current magazines that they have to read. They are free to read online, I don’t think the style of their magazines would appeal to students but that is where we come in.

Here is the Exposed Magazine latest edition,


I think Exposed magazine have it stop on for get younger peoples attention, using Arnold as the main story will get lots of people interested, also using the slang language will help and only the youths will be using the slang language. Also I think that it shows the magazine is from Sheffield and is intended for Sheffield because although I study in Sheffield using the word stogie for a smoke of some sort is something I have ever heard living out of Sheffield. I also really like the typeface they used for the masthead, it is clear and powerful, I also like the sans serif typeface they use on the headline, it gives you the sense of new and exciting.

exposed mag speard expo spread 2 expo speard3 feature

Here are some of the spreads they have in the magazine, you can read it for free online using this link but for the purpose of my research I am going to show some of the spreads in my blog. I like the way they design there spreads, usually you can tell if a magazine uses a grid system to design the layout of the pages, but I can’t quite tell with this magazine, I am going to say I think they are but I don’t think it is a modular grid. I like the way they have put the image and text together the titles on the page compliment the images and the text boxes fit well on the page, the type isn’t a struggle to read but sometimes on the ads the color contrast is very strong. I like the simplicity with the colors used by them but making giving the design a broader feel by using the imagery. I like simplicity as I think it has a cleaner feel about it and the two spread that are in black and white are really clean and well placed.




lafashon cover


This is a Fashion magazine, called La Vida. I’m not just looking at student magazines but a wide range for my research, Here is an example of one of their previous summer issues. I like the use of photography, I also like their masthead it is clear and clean and suits the magazine very well, I can understand the use of the sub-title but I think it could always get mistaken for the masthead if people didn’t now the magazine. They should have perhaps made it a little more clear but made it subtle.


speard i like fashion sperad

Here is two of their spreads that I picked out that I thought were the most effective and eye catching, the first one I picked for the reason that I feel is a very nice piece of design, I like the grungy texture using negative space to give the type a creative look. Now with the other one compared to the rest of the magazine, the black and yellow color really catch your eye. I was drawn into this spread because of the hand written type as well as the colors which then lead on to me looking at the information of this page. I would say I think they used a grid system throughout the magazine, I like the way it has been displayed on this page I like the layout, and I also like the colors to highlight parts of the information. I do think this is a break from the rest if the magazine and I  would look at this page more than any of the others.

hard to radthe whiteabitmessy

Here is two spreads I want to mention because there is a few things here that I would like to avoid if possible in my own magazine. First off the spread using photography is really nicely put together until you realize the information given is hard to read and unclear unless you look really closely. I do think that the choice of imagery is everything and the imagery is really effective for the page, also they made a good choice but I think they should have changed the type, maybe made it more clear by making it larger, changing the color or even changing the location.

Secondly I would like to point out that although it isn’t a real problem I think it is something I wouldn’t have in my magazine, The page looks unclear and jumbled together, It is aimed for men with the choice his not hers but it looks cluttered and its something I wouldn’t consider looking at for long. I would make it clear and more organised and make the imagery look like it has a place on the page, this is where I think a modular grid system would come in use, if they used one for this they could have utilized it better.


More Magazines

Chic MagazineCHIC mh

CHIC is a lifestyle magazine in Sheffield, it is aimed at young and upcoming professionals as well as people living the high life. Looking at the front cover of magazine I think they give a professional feel, the design is nicely put together and using the black and white adds to the high-life as it also makes it feel vintage. The masthead themselves I prefer the one used on the first magazine, I think this one would appeal more to the younger professionals than the one on the second front cover. I do think the other masthead is nice but I think it looks more like a clothing brand typeface, whereas the first one is much more professional. I like the typographic styling with the first one and the overlaying onto the page is a very nice and effective way to brand it, In conclusion I think they hit the nail on the head with the target audience, I think it would appeal to young professionals and high-lifers it also appeals to me. There choice on photography is nice but in my opinion I think Doc Brown could have been a bit more straight faced rather than looking like he kissed something, I fully understand why the decision to go for Doc as he is very popular with the young adults. I think the photography on the first one is a little better but maybe with girls like that it would maybe get confused with a fashion magazine rather than a lifestyle magazine or even come across as a girls magazine.

Chic mag spread 2

I like the spreads in the magazine there is a lot of advertising though, but I can see why with it been a free magazine. I like the use of single colors, the page comes across as well thought out and positioned well. I like the choices in photography but you can tell everything is brought together using a grid system, I like grids, it keeps the pages organised and fresh without making them look tumbled. You can tell from the alignment how the text lines up perfectly to the picture above and below, also across the spread. I am going to use one in my work.

Chic maga spread


I like this magazine spread also I like the way that have used one color because this gives series to the pages it shows that is a style that the magazine is sticking to. this page evidently shows the use of a grid system, I assume that the grid is used on all pages throughout the magazine. The page content is shown clearly and uncluttered unlike a magazine that I used earlier on in the project, this makes it look more professional and appeals more to the target audience. For the next part of the project research I am going to find my own resourced magazines to get a better prospective of the spread layouts for my own designs.

Other Magazines

As I was looking through magazines The Review magazine jumped out at me, I actually decided to give it a look. I think the name dragged me in, I believe that a good magazine name is key, If someone reads a name and then thinks that cool they might pick the magazine up because of that. I also believe the magazine is picked up by the masthead and the front cover but I think the name is also a key part to this.

The review magazine is a London-based magazine aimed at hard-working people, happy with their life’s, people who don’t want to rock the boat. The magazine aims to get these people to want more, here is a quote form them. “The Review believes in an altogether different work-life balance. This is your life— and without wanting to sound too downbeat, it’s ending, one minute at a time. So, don’t settle when you could have more: be confident, make big choices, and walk tall.”

The review cover

This is the cover that out of all the magazines I looked at dragged me in, I like the way the magazine is, it looks professional and well designed, I think it looks like its made from really high quality paper. I could only see this magazine on the internet so I don’t know what the paper stock is like, but from the design and look from the magazine I can only imagine that it is high quality and maybe got a gloss finish. The masthead is simply but yet it works, I think this is because it is suitable so the magazines style and content, It is a high-class magazine trying to get people to want more. I think if someone picked this up they would get the feel for it that was intended, I’m not sure if the target audience would always pick it up if they don’t want to rock the boat but I think the style they went for is stop on in junction with what they want to get across.

You can see here that they went for the black and white again, I think the black and white color mix is very popular in higher class magazines because it has this vintage feel about it, also it is minimal getting it a feel that there isn’t too much going on so you know what you are looking at, I like this magazine but it is specifically at one range of audience and with all the people it is aimed at it could be a problem. I think the cover is effective as it worked with me out of all the magazines I looked at I decided to give this a look and that could have been the difference between someone buying or not.

the review spredthe review car feture

When I looked in the magazine I wasn’t surprised with what I had seen, all of the pages were full of advertisements trying to sell products of higher class, for example expensive clothing brands. Here is a spread that I decided to show in my research out of all the others for a few reasons, one of them been it’s a car review, but on a serious note you can see straight away that they sick to a grid system throughout this magazine, I think that their grid is a little to safe though, although the content is effective and suitable to the magazine I feel although if I picked it up there isn’t enough to look at on the page. I know there is imagery to go with it but it and it is clearly shown and well organised but I think the design is a little bit safe, I would get bored looking through this as every page is of similar design. I do like the slight touch of design with the title for the page with is the cars model but apart from that the page is very basically put together.

the review photos

Here is a page that was a little different from the rest I think the reason for this is, as it is very photography based they changed the layout slightly, I think they have used the same grid system for this page but I think think it is similar to the other pages as there isn’t to much as far as creative goes, I do think that this suits the target audience but if it was me I wouldn’t have kept reading or picked another one up for that matter.

My overall conclusion of this magazine is, I think it is effective for the target audience but if it was me I would have applied a little more design and creative page layouts or maybe put something exciting to look at here and there, the cover was obviously effective as it pulled me in, but as I have mentioned before a little more creativity on the other pages and I would have read the whole magazine.

Popular Magazines

As an end to the magazine research stage I decided to look at why the most popular were so effective and have a look at different types like gaming or music magazines. As I will also having to design the covers for these magazines I decided to look specifically their covers. I will start with the Rolling Stones Magazine and why I think it is really effective because I feel as though in the music industry this magazine is one of the biggest if not is the biggest.

rolling 1

Here is a few of the many magazine covers that the Rolling Stones have published, the reasons for me picking these certain few have many reasons which I will go into, I will start with this one with Jimi Hendrix. A couple of reasons why I think the rolling stones magazine appeals to lots of people is because they use icons for their covers I think this is the main reason for making this magazine so popular. Here for example Jimi is extremely well-known as a legend is the music industry which would appeal to all guitar players and people from the 60s and 70s who listened to his music, he is a massive icon to many musicians and for this reason will make people pick this magazine up just because of the choice of imagery.

The style selected for their covers depends on the features in the magazines, I like how they used clean and soft colors almost like a rainbow which adds emphasis to the fact that Jimi was a hippy. I think that the covers are also very successful as they use powerful headlines like, “pot bust nation” and ” The marine that snapped”. Headlines like these will get anyone attention, they don’t have a minimal look about them or even uncluttered but it is put together well, It shows all the information needed to get the attention they want. The masthead is effective as it is recognised as a brand, the typographic style is very 70s music which in effective gives the music definition, the masthead is the magazines image and if they changed it, it could change the magazines popularity.

rolling 4

One other thing I like about the Rolling Stones magazine is that they can appeal to such a wide range of people, for example here they have Tupac, Tupac is a rapper and known throughout lots of generations for the impact he had on music, this gives the magazine appeal to not just rock fans but anyone, Rap is such a popular choice in music these days and in the 90s it was massive even going into the early 2000s but. it is still big nowadays and this is why a magazine cover like this would appeal to a wide range. People that wouldn’t even give this magazine a glance is now interested and would buy it. This shows hoe effective the imagery chosen on the front can be, also they have the powerful subtitles but here is a prime example of why this magazine is so effective.

rolling 3rolling 2

Here I have two examples and two different reasons on why this would be effective, having someone like Justin Bieber on the front of your magazine is going to make it appeal to the younger generations of teens that listen to his music, he has had such a massive influence on the younger generations and already they will buy something like this because of him been on the front. I know I wouldn’t buy it because of him but I would buy the other ones, I think this shows how the magazine appeals to such a wide range of people and this therefore makes it more popular which makes the covers so effective.

I think the other magazine cover would appeal to older adults as well as the younger generation who actually know who she is, as the women is slightly nude and looks stunning the older teens to young adults are going to give this magazine a look therefore again giving it more than one appeal to different groups. this is why I think the rolling stone magazines are so effective because the clearly think there image out to appeal to a wide range of people making it so popular and effective.

I have another popular music magazine I don’t think it is as well-known as the Rolling Stone magazine but it is effective for different reasons.

mojo cover 2 mojo cover 3 Mojo cover 1

Here is three examples of Mojos magazines covers. The style they went for is very different but I think they are so popular because there isn’t any of them aiming for a lot of people they go for the certain target audience of which there magazine is intended for. I think the designs are quirky and stand out which is different to lots of magazines out there at the moment so if I was looking through one of these would jump out at you. They do feature popular musicians but this is a good thing for the magazine because they aren’t to mainstream, the style is a lot like punk. I like them and I think the one in the middle is the most interesting to lot at. Another reason for them been effective is even if it’s not a magazine you would look at they are interesting, this would make people pick them up and consider reading about them. If I was to say the target audiences for this magazine I would say older teens young adults to musicians and I think I would be stop on with that. Is this an example of how effective doesn’t always go with mainstream.

After thinking about other popular magazines it has been brought to my attention that the target audience for my magazine would be influenced by music, TV, film and games, so this is somewhere I would have to look at their magazine and see why they are all effective and how different they are. As I have covered music I am going to look into popular magazine for the other factors as I will need to consider finding something in the middle of them all.

Gaming, TV and Film

OXT77.cover.indd oxm


For this part I said I was going to look at other popular magazines, this time it would be about other subjects that interest students which is gaming, music and film. Here I have two covers of the popular OXM magazine, OXM is a gaming magazine for Microsofts Xbox gaming console, as the Xbox 360 was such a successful console this magazine was a big hitter, I think the masthead used for the magazine is why it came to quick success, the brand for Xbox is recognized right away because of the console so I think that helped. The masthead is really well done though because it fits perfectly on the magazine, but they also have the branded logo. They did have exclusive content inside which was a big hitter but for the suit of purpose the magazine cover is really good, the imagery chosen is really fit for purpose and you can see that the magazine is about gaming.

The fact that they use world exclusive will get them more sales as they use powerful subtitles like the music magazines, The type they use is also fit for purpose using the games that they feature to sell the magazine, I think many of these pointers I have shown are why this magazine is a popular choice, although I think the brand is the reason for the success early on.

gameinformer gameinformer2

I haven’t seen this magazine before as it is only based in the United States, but I can give many reasons for why this magazine is also popular, I will start with the masthead, I don’t really like the typographic style they have used but it will have become their brand identity, it does work well with the magazine cover though, with the inside of the type been hollow this will allow as you can see for it to fit to the cover imagery well, while been clearly shown and easy to read.

The choice of imagery I guess chose itself with it been a gaming magazine, one thing that I have noticed with Gameinformer though is they use more cartoon type imagery, They so use the right type of imagery and features, using the biggest game of the year for their cover is going to increase the chance of people buying the magazine. I think it is suitable for the purpose but I personally prefer the other gaming magazine but this is the biggest one in the USA, this means it must be doing it right, I think they achieve this from the right choice of imagery and features because they have the biggest features and a style that suits the industry intended for the choice of magazine.

ent mag 3 ent mag 2

Here I have an example of an entertainment magazine, I think you can get that from the name as it is fully a giveaway, that is good though when it comes to a magazine you don’t want people getting the wrong idea when it comes to buying a magazine. People like to know what they are buying right away and Entertainment Weekly is certainly not going to give you any mixed messages. I think they use the right photography from the cover I have seen, it’s clear and clean, also with the use of popular celebrities and catching subtitles they are going to drag you in to want to read, I think the main reason is people are generally curious as to whats going on.

To start with the choice of using the Twilight as a feature is going to drag people into find out whats going on, Twilight has such a big fan base they will be curious to find out whats going on behind the story, as following Jennifer Aniston’s life people who know who she is will be very interested to know whats happening. I think with the good choice of imagery and subtitles this magazine is already sold to people that are interested in celebrity news and so on.

I do think the magazine is designed well, it seems well proportioned and the layout isn’t messy there is only a few things I would change. The masthead is again very adaptable for the cover imagery and header story as you can see from the examples they have changed it. This is such a good asset to have as you won’t use the same cover image for every copy you publish. I like the type style they have chosen, it isn’t to modern but it isn’t classic styling, sans serif is massively popular at the moment and they use a mixture which provide for the younger generation as well as the more mature adults. I guess with this diversity they also added to the popularity of this magazine.

ent mag ent mag 4


Here is two other copy’s of the same magazine but I wanted to just mention with these separate from the others that, the first one has an example of he mixing typefaces and the one to the right is using the massively popular celebrities, and Robert Downey Jr is huge after the release of Iron Man, I did this to back up my argument which was mentioned on the other two versions above.

Empire Empire2


Here is examples of a filmography magazine, I think it is one of the most popular but it is certainly my favorite. I love the design with the masthead it pulls me in right away and also the way they change the layout depending on the main feature for example look at the Wolverine cover compared to the James Bond cover. The Skyfall cover is very minimal and classy showing the British style which is classy and clear, with it been about a British agent they kind of have to go for this style. Using another style for this would have given a completely different vibe, Here is an example of what I mean.

total film


I don’t think that the design is bad at all that isn’t the message I am trying to get across but the reason I am saying the vibe is different because this version gives you a more serious look and feel. This plays more on the fact of action of the MI6 agent which in my opinion is a very good asset also to play on. Back to the Empire Magazine I think that the clearness of the masthead is another good reason for why is it never mistaken for another magazine at distance but with the diversity of their covers they need it to always be clear. I absolutely love the typographic style they used here.


It is different creative but also clean, this gives it a new clean style yet holds the important integrity that it is a filmography magazine. They have a good choice with imagery as this is already self chosen as its is based on the biggest film they feature in that publication. But what I was saying about the masthead on these magazines is look at the Iron Man one compared to the Hellboy cover, they adapted the type by adding effects to give it depth and add something to the image, I works so well that it doesn’t even distort the text or make it unclear, The effects really do give it something. I don’t really have to mention why having huge films on the cover or well-known characters will give it more than one chance of been looked at.

Research Review

After the research I have done so far I think I have a good idea on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to designing a magazine, for the next stage of my project I am going to start developing a masthead I already have a few ideas which is always good to start but I am going to start with pencil and paper to get my ideas down as I think this is the best way to start off a design. I will need to refer back to my research at times as well as looking into more research throughout the project but I do feel as I know where to start with designing a student magazine and so on.

Building Ideas for my Masthead

To start off with I need a name for my magazine, I can’t move forward without a name so as a starting point I am going to brain storm ideas. Here is the photos of the brain storm that I did for the name.

storm Storm2


I started off with imagining things that are relevant to students and the things they are involved with. After that I started to single out names that I liked and thought were the best. I started with things that students use a lot, like computers. I also looked into trends students follow e.g. Clothing and music. Then I put more thought into the type of students this magazine will be published to, as this magazine is going to be published to Sheffield students, I needed to put thought into this as well. As you can see from the picture above I got things like city and street, but also gave a thought about silver as Sheffield is known as the silver city, because this is, and was a leading manufacturer for steel. I wanted to stay away from this as it’s following Sheffield’s heritage. Other students picked up on the heritage, I wanted something different and fresh.

I got the ideology, because the night before, I was researching for a previous project and the word popped up in my research. I thought this an interesting word, as it means where something originated from I was thinking that could be involved with the younger generations trends and so on. Also that I found it while researching, students do a lot of research for their courses, so it has relevance. For this idea you can see that I shortened the word to get the two names, this allowed me to see how the words sounded apart.

Another train of thought I had, was computers as students and young people usually use them all the time, I thought names like screen and this also has relevance to TV and film. With the name NIU it came to me from the abbreviation uni, for university which has relevance to the students of course, I thought as a name it couldn’t just stay like that so I changed the letters around and got the name NIU which would be pronounced like the word (new). I really liked this name as typographically there was ideas coming into my head and the new had a suitable fit for the trends part.

After narrowing the names down to three of which I liked best we was asked to present our chosen names to the class in order to receive feedback, and this would allow for us to see which of the names people thought was best fit for purpose. After receiving feedback they liked all the names but Screen and Ideo stood out the most, so this gave me something to think about for the chosen name.