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AS Media Studies Evaluation!

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  • 1. AMPLIFIED Magazine Evaluation Clare McAtarsney
  • 2. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Here is a flatplan of my magazine front cover. In designing my music magazine, creating a front cover, contents page and double page spread, I had to find some other well branded music magazines to analyse forms and conventions in helping me layout the design and style of my own magazine. I decided to look at KERRANG, NME and Q, these magazine all centre around the same rock genre of my magazine. Each magazine gave me ideas and inspiration, I took a few of there conventions and structures and developed them onto the front cover . I decided to have my magazine masthead in capitals and in black font, I got this theme from magazines NME and KERRANG. From the NME masthead I have taken the same red colour scheme as it has come to be quite popular in many of the magazines, therefore I employed it onto the masthead, I believe this would be big and bright to attract the reader as it stands out. The masthead has to be recognisable to the buyer as my masthead then becomes the logo for the magazine. The colour and font style also become the house style of the magazine as everything else matches it. I have found in my research that mastheads are not that important as they tend to cover parts of it with the model/image, whereas on my magazine the I decided to place the masthead onto of the image to draws attention to the reader/buyer. Along the bottom I decided to add this section where the reader/buyer will be attracted to as it allows them to see more of the magazine content, this is different from other cover lines as it stretches across the whole bottom of the magazine, yet the contents remains short and to the point which is easier for the buyer to read. This was seen in magazines such as KERRANG, I saw this convention and decided to utilise it in my own way. I saw this convention on most magazines (NME & KERRANG) where the cover line is placed directly in front of the centre image, this helps to draw attention to the main article, which is either a quote from the band or a band related fact.
  • 3. These are the forms and conventions utilised onto my magazine front final cover to match the genre of the magazine I set out to design. With the inspiration and help from other successful magazine conventions and forms I have taken and developed onto my own in a way that suits the style. During my research I found that most magazine would have a strap line or a section along the very top of the magazine. These seem to plug the magazine and sell the magazine as it often mentions bands that are featured inside the magazine and advertises gigs and tickets ales. I took this convention structure and decided to add a “regular” strap line “Best magazine for new music and gigs” which will then feature on every magazine, therefore attracting the reader/buyer and drawing the attention of new comers. As the strap line appears above the masthead it is easier to see when selling. The convention of the bar code is an important one as this is seen on every single magazine. I didn’t take any ideas or inspiration in placing my barcode. In NME and KERRANG both barcodes were placed at the bottom in two different positions one horizontal and one vertical. I decide to place my barcode along the top vertically so to not take up any valuable space. The barcode also has important information like the issue number date and price, as this is important to the reader/buyer I decided to place it at the top making it easier for the buyer. I decided to then develop the cover line and feature the name of the band this is quite common on most magazines like NME and KERRANG. This therefore draws attention to the and featured on the cover and gives short information on them enticing the reader to find out more.
  • 4. Whilst designing my contents page I researched NME and KERRANG to find there forms and conventions to then challenge my own contents page. Here I took some ideas and developed them to suit my magazine style and format. These are two contents pages I analysed and took inspiration from. I developed the same concept title for my contents page with the magazine masthead in a smaller case size alongside “THIS WEEK” drawing the attention to what specifically is included in the issue. This title is written in a larger font on the page to draw attention and as it is along the top of the page, it is easily seen and found whilst browsing through. Along the bottom of the magazine, I added a small section informing the potential reader how to find further information about interviews etc and how to subscribe to the magazine. This will also have a link to the magazines website, promoting the magazine even further. As in the above image two smaller images of previous issues of the magazine are used to show the variety of artists that are featured in the magazine, I imitated this idea and developed it into my own to give it that more professional appeal. In KERRANG magazine a large image is placed as the main focus on the page, followed by five smaller contents related images, whereas in NME, just one image is used, drawing our attention to the main article featured in the magazine. I like these format as it creates a less crowed layout and draws emphasise on the main article.
  • 5. This is the final layout of my Magazine Contents page with the forms and conventions I decided to include and develop. Each convention and form is broken down to show the final production of my magazine. During my research I found that most magazine contents pages had titles either stating “Contents” or “This Week” . I developed NME’s title as it states that the magazine is sold on a weekly basis and that the contents is new in every issue. In NME magazine the masthead is placed in the title, in the same size and font, although in it original masthead colour. I developed this form but in making the masthead title smaller because if it was the same font size the title would look cramped and unprofessional. Therefore more emphasis on the “This Week”. Along with the main image on the contents page I decided to add a quote from the interview further on in the magazine, I feel this makes the reader want to find out more, leading them to buy the magazine. In other contents pages, article titles are placed upon the image whereas I decided to place a quote to add variety as there was a cover line was placed on the front page. Along the bottom of the contents page I added Magazine subscription information and a website address for the magazine offering exclusive material. This was a common feature found in contents page research, therefore I decided to develop and design my own. The inclusion of the smaller image of the magazine or magazines in some cases adds a indication of professionalism.
  • 6. Again I followed the forms and conventions of KERRANG and NME, both magazines share similar conventions, which guided me in designing the DPS. Both magazines feature a image of the band or artist on a full page of the DPS. This draws the attention fully to what the band or artist looks like and how they come across to the reader. The image has to promote the band in a positive way that a “new” reader or fan will buy the magazine again. Both KERRANG and NME kept their DPS text quite short , both placing it into two columns. This tends to keep the layout tidy and allowing more room for text. Drop caps are used in both articles to draw attention to the beginning of the article and to add style and focus creating a more professional look. The main title to both magazines include the name of the band, allowing the audience to find out what the article is a bout, like in NME “ NME LOVES The Teenagers” from this title we learn that this is a new band that are featured in that issue. From KERRANG “We’re being the best MCR we can be”, from the title we know that they have been around for a while and the are still successful and continue to be that way. With the inclusion of the band name it focuses the reader entirely on them and allows the reader to want to find out more about them.
  • 7. This is the final construction of my DPS. I have altered and challenged some of the common forms to fit my house style and layout. I made the name of the band the main title for my DPS as it allows the reader to know that the article is entirely about them and that they are also a new band trying to make an impression. With the Name in large font and in caps it is easier to remember and hopefully would stick in the readers mind. I placed a pull quote in the middle of the interview to draw the attention of the reader to an interesting quote in the article this again lures the reader into finding out more about the related story. The quote also breaks up the text making it look less laborious to read. I placed small section titles in the text to once again break it up. The titles also give an indicator in to what each part of the interview is about as the interview is about a whole year about the band it allows the reader to read it without being confused or lost. The title are written in a red font to sit out from the rest of the text making it easier to find. I placed the magazine title in the top left hand corner of the DPS to remind the reader that Amplified is the only magazine to have an exclusive interview with this new band, promoting the magazine and the band is a positive light. Like most DPS I decided to place an image of the artist on a full page of the DPS, this draws emphasis on the tone and style of the band/artist. The inclusion of the instruments eludes to the genre of band it is and links to the type of magazine Amplified is.
  • 8. Challenges Here are some of the forms and conventions in that of a normal everyday music magazine challenged me in the creation of my own. Here I included a strap line where in many magazine this would have been used to promote something inside the magazine like posters, competitions or interviews. Whereas I decided to add a phrase that would be placed at the top of every issue.. “Best magazine for new music and gigs”. In many magazine the barcode is placed at the bottom corner of the magazine where it is out of site from the reader when placed on a self at shops. I decide to put the barcode in the top corner of the magazine as it is easily seen by the reader and not hard to find when purchasing. The barcode also has important information like the date and number issue which is important to see when potentially buying. In many music magazine contents pages there are numerous images to follow the contents of the magazine. Whereas in my own contents page I decided on one image to be used drawing more attention to the main article and promoting the new band therefore if any other images where used attention would be taken of the artist.
  • 9. How does your media product represent particular social groups? I feel that my music magazine represents those of mixed social groups and backgrounds, as the music and artists featured in my magazine are those of alternative rock, indie and popular bands and singers at that moments. The magazine has more of a rock, edgy tone, but does not entirely focus on the rock genre of music. Bands such as The Kings Of Leon, The Killers and Florence and The Machine are what I believe to be the type of music and bands readers of this magazine would listen to. My magazine also includes articles and sections on new bands and music which attracts a range of readers. The front cover image of a teenage artist in a alternative rock band is what sort of band my ideal reader would be attracted to, as they are new and fresh and fit into the same music genre that is related with my magazine. My media product does not represent the disabled in that no none that is disabled are seen in images or articles throughout the magazine. My magazine does also not represent people from the over 25 year old age group, as my magazine is aimed at the older teenage age group, promoting gigs, festivals and new music that usually attract a younger audience.
  • 10. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? IPC Media IPC Media is one of the UK’s leading magazine producers which offers everything for someone making it diverse and popular among buyers. IPC media reaches 27 million readers and 20 million more readers and subscribers on the internet. The IPC media institution is likely to be choice for the distribution of my magazine as it has success and high popularity ratings from music magazines such as NME magazine which is one of the longest running music magazines in the world. IPC media has success wit over 85 now iconic brands, allowing each magazine to become known and attract a different audience to each one. As IPC media has such a varied audience, I feel that my music magazine would fit into one of the 3 main categories of readers but could make its own as my magazine a a slightly younger audience, which would therefore attract more buyers and raise the popularity of IPC Media.
  • 11. BAUER Media Bauer Media is an institution that successfully produces over 80 well known brand names. Bauer media reaches over 19 million readers and consumers throughout the UK. Not only does Bauer produce magazines but has radio stations on digital radio. With music magazines such a Q and KERRANG, where I took much inspiration from. These magazine have gained loyal readers, each attracting a huge audience and supporting a Rock music theme yet featuring different music and artists throughout. KERRANG attracts a younger rock based readership whereas Q in its classier mature layout is aimed at an older age group but with some of the same bands. I would distribute my music magazine with Bauer Media as it produces media in varied conventions such as TV, Radio and of course in printed media thus reaching many more consumers and popularity. I feel my magazine would fit into the particular genre of music magazine Bauer represents.
  • 12. Who would be the audience for your media product? I have chosen to aim my magazine at a target audience of 16- 25 age group as these are usually people who spend their money on items like weekly music magazines. To learn more about the reader of the magazine I produced a questionnaire and readership questions to help create the suitable magazine for my specific audience. The questionnaire was given completed by both male and female consumers and music magazine consumers. This gave me an insight into what was needed in my magazine to attract that specific audience. Knowing that 16 – 25 year olds are more interested in mainstream music and the popular music genre my magazine represents than any other age group, therefore this was the most fitting audience. In the readership questionnaire I asked open questions like favourite television programmes, sport, shop and holiday. I received similar answers in each which made it easy to create the contents to my magazine. The common reader of my magazine would be a 17 year old girl, shops in Topshop, listens to bands such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Florence and the Machine and likes to go to festivals for their holidays.
  • 13. How did you attract/address your audience? In attracting my audience I had to include things that the specific age group that are suitable like, New signed/unsigned artists, Gig/concert promotions, Music entertainment Gossip, etc. In choosing who would feature on the front cover I decided to feature a young, fresh, new band focusing on the teenage lead singer of the band, not only the model but the shot type and background. The image is in black and white giving the magazine an edgy theme. I took many camera shots in various angels before I settled with a simple mid-shot, as the model looks straight into the camera making eye contact wit the reader. The bland expression on the models face represents the common moody teenager. The background is a white wall along with drums and guitars to make it look like a common band practice area. In the contents of the magazine I had to again feature popular areas of contents that would be seen in a common music magazine and stick to the genre and theme of my magazine and promote new bands/artists, gigs and festivals as well as the front cover feature article. The colour scheme and layout of the magazine is important an how I attract my audience, the colours I chose I feel represent the edgy rock theme my magazine represents. As my magazine is quite laid back in its layout, with one image and cover lines in house style colours I feel this attracts the audience as it is seen as simple yet effective and not busy and too colourful like some younger aimed pop magazines.
  • 14. Here are two bar charts that display the feedback from my music magazine questionnaire. This helped me in figuring out what genre of music magazine I was going to create. Most questions were answered by listed answers, this helped me in deciding small conventions like colour and genre. But I also had open end questions that allowed the target audience to put their own feedback into the research. All the collated results helped me in learning how to attract the specific audience for m magazine. Such questions such as preference in music allowed me to finalise my designing on what genre of music magazine it was going to be, and as seen from the results the rock genre of music was most popular. Other questions such as what would you most like to read about, gave me an insight into what to feature in my magazine contents.
  • 15. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? I have learnt a lot from the process of constructing my magazine. From never using photoshop to now having a completely new knowledge of how to use it for editing images and designing my magazine pages and identifying and using tools. Before I would use an image straight from the camera, whereas now I edit it using blending tools and brightness and contrast tools. This allows me to make the images look much more professional and suitable of my media product. At the beginning photoshop was very stressful in that I didn’t understand how to edit a simple picture, then with the help of tutorials on YouTube and questions answered by my teacher it slowly but surely became more simple. I used other technologies such as the digital camera to take the images for my music magazine front cover , contents page and DPS. The memory card reader came into use as well which I hadn't before used. I learnt what angles to take photos in as it gives the images that little bit more effectiveness and attracts the buyer and also how to take a photo using the camera rule of three grid which again I wouldn’t have usually used.
  • 16. Photoshop Photoshop being one of the most time consuming and frustrating technologies I had to work with was probably the most important. With this tool box on the left I learnt that I could edit and change my chosen images in a number of different ways. There was a tool that enabled me to pick up a certain colour to use somewhere else in the photo, I often used this when editing the background of photos. Then use of the magnetic lasso and crop tool, with this tool I could go round the photo and it would cut it out allowing me to place it anywhere. On the right hand side of photoshop was the layers panel. When starting at photoshop I hadn't a clue about layers, I have since learnt that this is an important factor when working on my magazine. The layers allow users to work on separate images in order to modify sections without changing the entire image.
  • 17. In communication I learnt quickly how to do so as most of the work was done on the computer with access to the internet, therefore if I had any problems I could go onto the internet and access school email and our blogs PBWorks within school to ask girls in the class for advice or opinions. Then at home when working on blogs or the magazine product I could go on Facebook and chat to the girls at any time (as long as they are online). At the start of our magazine productions, we would usually talk to each other about our colour schemes and magazine mastheads, together we shared ideas and gave advice, critiqued and complimented each others work Class Discussion Communication
  • 18. PB Works PB Works was used daily in the completion of the music magazine. The blog was used to keep all of our work in order and to be updated whenever we had finished a task. On PB Works we could see how others were getting on with their magazine and research, we could also interact with each other by leaving comments and helping with each others personal feedback. The blogs looked quite bland and boring and had limited qualities and options. As seen from this print screen one of the frustrations about PB Works was the slow pace when loading images and files. I constantly found my PB Works freezing or taking precious time of me when having to upload something quickly at the end of class. I sometimes had to cancel uploads as it took too much time that I did not have!
  • 19. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? From looking back at my preliminary task one of the main things I have learnt is that audience research is a very important factor. Not only did my magazine front cover not have common magazine features but also it didn’t have the professional everyday magazine layout and style. In my music magazine I have learnt how to use not only the audience feedback but used the magazine layout/styles/colour schemes that I actually planned to use in my planning and flat plans. I feel that I have improved from my preliminary task to the main music magazine task and have improved in my understanding of small but important things like colour schemes, font style, image and cover line layouts. In the preliminary I didn’t consider how cramped the front cover looked as the cover lines where all placed at angels to fit around the badly edited front cover image. The image was of bad quality in that it was blurred and cut out by the lasso very roughly. I feel from my preliminary task that my photoshop skills have improved. In general I am happy with my progression from my preliminary to my main task and am pleased with how it worked out.