Main Features of Magazine Front Covers Sky Line Buzz Word Masthead Main Image Tag Line Main Cover Line (Lead Article) Cover Line Cover Line Cover Line Date Line & Barcode Two thirds Publisher
Main Image: Dominates the page. It’s positioned in front of the masthead. The artists’ gaze is pointing straight at the audience, who are addressed directly. Numbers let readers visualise the content and what they’re being offered. Date, barcode and price: Following conventions. It is a minor, but important part of the front page as it informs us. Masthead: The bold colours and large font grab the audience’s attention. It follows conventions as it is simple and the positioning at the top 1/3 of the page makes it visible on newsstands. Cover line: Accompanied by the British flag, which conveys pride. The use of “YOU” shows that Q values their readers’ opinion. This mode of address suggests that the readers have a say and impact the magazine’s content. Tag line: The magazine’s selling point. Cover lines: List of names and bands of many genres, from pop to indie. Most users are likely to find something that interests them. Main cover line: Corresponds to the main image. Bold font – colour stands out against the background, second biggest text after the masthead catches the potential buyer’s eye. Also, an unlikely quote from the article's interview has been put on the cover, which also interests the reader. Graphics: The graphics follow a simple combination of colours, predominantly red, white and black – reflecting the rock & indie style, and the simple block letters imply sophistication and thus target an older audience. Buzz words: “Free” and “Special” create the effect that this issue cannot be missed out on as it contains extra content. These words draw the audience into the product.
Masthead: A large portion if the masthead isn’t visible, which is a risky move for Rolling Stone as the name isn’t as obvious to read, however it is easy to recognise as the brand is well established in the industry. The colour green corresponds to the main theme of black, white & green colours used, representing the rock’n’roll style & conveys the personality of the magazine well. General information: The price and the dateline are vital elements of magazine covers, added for basic information. Font: The style and sizes of the text reflect the rebellious qualities of the magazine. All the cover lines are consistently in white, which stands out against the darker main image. Cover line: Similarly to Q, Rolling Stone lists the main artists and shows featured in the magazine, in case they aren’t a fan of the pictured artist. They try to target as many fans as possible. Lead article: The main cover line takes up the whole of the left side of the page, giving it a special position. The text “WILD IDOL” is the most grabbing on the page as the font is the largest and is the most readable and noticeable. The word “WILD” gives the artists a new perception – so the reader feels that they must read the article to find out more about the claims. Main Image: Dominates the entire page. It’s positioned in front of the masthead, maybe to suggest the artist is ‘taking over’ the magazine pages this fortnight. The mis-en-scene connotes rock music and gives the cover an edgy, young look. The costume (with chain-jewellery), hair as well as make up are black which put across a grungy style, along with the snake which represents a ‘creative force’, drugs, temptations and sometimes the devil. Mode of address: The magazine doesn’t address the audience in a personal way, which distances them from their audience. There is no tag line or buzz words. The main image and main cover line are left to attract the readers on their own.
Puff: Enhances the overall presentation of the magazine and appeals to the audience through words such as “FREE” and “ALSO” – readers think that they’re getting special content with no extra cost and makes them more inclined to buy this issue. Masthead: It’s positioned behind the main image and on the top 1/3 of the page, clearly following the conventions of magazine front covers. The font of the masthead is the biggest out of all the text on the page, drawing attention to it. Sky line: Follows the theme and font of the rest of the page, but includes a coloured photo in the corner unlike the rest of the cover. Mode of address: The cover lacks in personal address of the audience, with the buzz words and puffs shaping a type of identification and connection with the consumers. The front page is very expressive through the use of words like “honest” and “heartache”, and the frequent use of exclamation marks. Main cover line:Mojo only reveals a quote from the lead article making the reader interested in the content of it. The name is spread across the page attracting the potential buyer. Main image: The image is in black and white, conforming to the theme. The artist is placed in the centre of the page, giving her a ‘spotlight’ & showing her importance with the elegant dress against the plain background. Cover lines: Text surrounds the main image and dominates the cover. The font style and constant colour scheme indicate the soul & urban genre of the magazine. The white, beige and black colour scheme signifies its somewhat old fashioned attitude towards this genre of music. General information: The price, the bar code and the dateline are essential elements of magazine front covers, used to subtly give basic information. Cover lines: Instead of giving detail to the main articles in the issue, Mojo lists eight bands featured in the magazine, setting the genre and expectations and attempting to appeal to as many audiences as possible.
Sky line: Follows the colour scheme of the page: black, white and blue. The skyline is what is most visible on newsstands which means that the FOB article is a significant section of this issue. Blender must know their audience well as they dedicate the skyline to one band & market the issue based on this article. Masthead: It’s positioned behind the main image and on the top 1/3 of the page, evidently following the conventions of magazine front pages. The font of the masthead is the biggest out of all the text on the page, drawing attention to it. The main image and the image in the corner cover a small portion of it but still allow for the name to be visible enough to read and recognise. The font used appears as if it has been cracked connoting a more laid back and carefree approach . Mode of address: The use of personal mode of address is strong with repetition of “YOU”. It involves the readers, who feel as if the magazine is speaking to them individually, for example “Have we got a band for you...” – which creates a response from the reader. Main Image: The combination of the central image and the cover lines make the overall presentation of the page look fuller and more like a complete packaging of the product. The mis-en-scene, including the stylish hairstyle and jewellery, complies with the pop/rock feel of the magazine. The artists is looking straight at the readers addressing them directly. Cover Lines: The tilted boxes around the sell lines make the magazine come across more fun and young, but still maintain its sophisticated style via the consistent colour scheme. The colours blue, black and white flow well together giving the magazine a less harsh image, like a metal music magazine might do. Cover lines: Blender lists some of the featured bands in this issue, targeting a wider audience, but still gives detail to the more major articles, using up the space and fitting the main image well. General information: The price, the bar code & the dateline are essential elements of magazine front covers, used to subtly give basic information.
Sky Line: Given that on newsstands this is the only feature seen, apart from the masthead, the editors added buzzwords like “ticket give away” and “massive” to attract the readers and make them more inclined to pick up this magazine over others. Masthead: Conventionally positioned at the top 1/3 of the page. The font style appears as if it was smashed. The edgy look appeals to a younger audience and connotes rebellion. The fact that there is an exclamation mark after the name, helps the magazine come across as a rock music magazine. Main Image: The figure is the centre is positioned in front of the masthead, and with the two artist on the sides it looks as if the main figure is coming out of the frame – looking directly at the potential buyer. The mis-en-scene (like the hoodie), complies with the genre the magazine writes about . Main cover line: The lead article corresponds to the main image which is a convention for magazines. The name of the band is spread across the page and the other cover lines are on the bottom of the page so that the reader’s aren’t distracted from the main cover line. Since the main image covers some of the masthead, this main cover line is the key element which stands out and draws audience’s attention. Underneath, the sub-headline contains ellipsis which creates a sense of mystery and interests the reader further. Graphics: The font is simple but large so it’s easy to read. The page follows a colour combination of red, black and white – very strong colours which conform to the rock/indie theme. The entire space is filled which makes the issue come across packed and full of content and information. The lay out is successful in putting the spotlight on the main cover line/image. Buzz words: Puffs like “FREE” and “PLUS” are styled in a larger font comparing to the cover lines so they’re more likely to be noticed first and therefore the buyer will think they’ll be getting extra special content with the issue.
Puff: The puff is a part of the skyline – it is circled and it appears as if it has been stuck on separately on the cover. Skyline: This is the most noticeable section of the magazine on newsstands, so NME gave it the second largest font, and the white style stands out on the black, so it’s attracts attention. Masthead: The masthead is positioned in the left corner, giving space to the main image, the skyline and a puff in the top 1/3 of the cover page – which means that more features are visible from newsstands. Main Cover Line: The main line is in bold yellow and the red and black text stands out against it. It is tilted and seems to be ‘torn’ which reflects the rock and indie genre of the magazine. The main cover line doesn’t directly correspond to the main image alone but also matches the six smaller images on the left side of the cover. The sell line is in front of the main image suggesting its importance. Graphics: As NME’s audience is predominately male, the colour scheme and style of text specifically identifies this audience as red, yellow and black are mostly associated with men. The masthead is clear and simple, hence it’s recognisable. All the features on this page make it appear fuller. Mode of address: The audience is not addressed directly on the page, nor does it contain any reference to users; which creates a barrier between the audience and the brand. It doesn’t convey or establish a relationship with the potential buyer. Cover Lines: Similarly to other music magazines, NME lists the artists and bands featured in the issue, but goes one step further by adding images to the text, making the page more visually informative and attractive. The fonts and colours correspond to the main theme. Buzz words: “PLUS” tells the reader about even more content offered with the issue. The puff is at the bottom, written in small font and isn’t that noticeable on this cover as it fades out, because the colour scheme is similar to the rest of the page.
Main Cover Line: The main cover is simply the name of the artists on the main image, no details included – the potential buyers will be interested in finding out more about the article and so they’re more inclined to buy this issue. Skyline: List of artists featured in the magazine, attempting to present a variety of bands in order to attract as many fans as possible. Masthead: Spread across the top 1/3 of the page. Thick block style implies the fun pop and hip hop music and the white text stands out against the dark background. The text of the masthead is the largest on the entire page drawing attention to it. Graphics: The style of the font is simple enough to read, and the different font sizes suggest the importance of each cover line. The main image creates a fun look for the magazine and makes it appear less realistic. The main cover line is more or less the same size as the rest of the cover lines, so that all focus is on the masthead and the main image. Cover Lines: The sell lines consist of the artist featured along with some detail about the article. The artists’ names are bolder than the details so that the page isn’t overloaded and only with simple information. Main Image: The image is framed in a wide shot and the artist is positioned in front of the masthead portraying her as more powerful. The mis-en-scene (the costume) complies with the theme of the cover, adopting the blue/white/pink colour combination. This way the magazine appeals to both the female (pink) and the male (blue) audience. The cartoon flowers and animal correspond to the colourful and cool ‘Vibe’ the magazine is portraying. Buzz Words: There are no buzz words on the page. The space isn’t completely filled up so a buzz word could have been useful, however it could have been distracting from the main image and sell lines. Since the cover is so colourful, more features would have overcrowded the page. Mode of address: The audience isn’t addressed on the front cover forming a wall between the audience and the brand, and therefore keeping an impersonal relationship.
Mode of address: The audience isn’t directly addressed, probably because their users are less regular and less loyal because it doesn’t report of a specific genre or appeal to or involve a particular fan base. Skyline: The skyline is very small, but it contains a puff ‘DON’T MISS’ which inclines the reader to read on and later buy the magazine. Masthead: The masthead is unconventionally in front of the main image. The white font stands out against the darker image. It also uses red, yellow, blue and green to signify that the magazine is fresh and new, as the articles are all about mainstream music. Graphics: The + symbol is an unusual way of saying ‘PLUS’ and because it’s yellow it stands out from the rest of the text on the right side of the page. The text and graphics follow a colour scheme of blue, yellow, red, green and white; whilst the main image and background are darker which compliments the variety of colours. Main Image: The image is a medium close up shot so it was positioned behind the masthead. If the masthead had been placed behind the artists, too much of the masthead would have been covered up. The image is a combination of tones which work well with the colourful graphics. Main Cover Line: ‘M.I.A’ is the largest font on the page including the masthead drawing most attention to it. The main cover line includes a buzz word ‘EXCLUSIVE’ as well as some detail about the article itself. The buzz word ‘EXCULSIVE’ makes the reader think that they’re getting first class access to the latest celebrity news. Cover Lines: The cover lines communicate simple and straightforward information about the issue so the featured artists’ names are bolder, while the less important details underneath are in smaller white font. The cover lines are on the opposite side of the main headline so that the main cover line is noticed first. Buzz Words: A few uses of buzz words like ‘DON’T MISS’ and ‘EXCLUSIVE’ recompense for the lack of direct audience, giving the impression that they know exactly what their buyers want to read.
Sky Line: ‘Hip Hop on a Higher Level’ – the brand’s USP (unique selling point). One of the very few hip hop/rap based magazines. The skyline and the masthead are at the top 1/3 of the page, however they’re in the corner leaving a lot of extra space which could have been use to promote other articles as this is the only portion of the page seen from newsstands so using this method could have been useful. Cover Lines: There are two cover lines informing about the major articles in the magazine. Also, XXL lists a number of artists/rappers without any details in order to attract more fan bases without overloading the page with extra information, so that the potential buyers will buy the magazine to access this exclusive information. The cover lines are much smaller than the rest of the text, presenting them as more minor element of the issue, however it being white still makes it readable. In addition, one of the cover lines contains a question mark, making the audience interested in finding out the answer inside the issue. Masthead: The masthead is conventionally behind the main image. The name ‘XXL’ suggests that the magazine is full of articles and latest news. The white and red colours contrast each other successfully, so that the masthead is still recognisable even with it being behind the main image. Graphics: The cover follows a white/black/red colour scheme representing the rawer side of the hip hop/rap genre of this music magazine. The two shot fills up the space. Main Cover Line: The main cover line stands out the most of the cover as the font is large and the colours are prominent compared to the background. The strong word ‘DOMINATION’ represents control and even command for the reader to buy the magazine. In addition, alliteration is used effectively with the repetition of ‘R’ in ‘The Rebirth of Rap Royalty’. Main Image: The mis-en-scene, and particularly the costume, conveys the sense of hip hop and rap – specifically the chain necklace, the tattoo and the army green jacket. Both art- ists look straight at the reader which makes up for the lack of direct address. The reader feels closer to the artist than the magazine.
Skyline: Promoting the secondary lead article of the issue as it is on the top 1/3 of the page and is framed in a blue box the way buzz words and puffs are. Cover Lines: The sell lines consist of the artists’ names, followed by details of the article inside the magazine. Similarly to other magazine’s, the cover lines are on the opposite side to the lead article so that the first thing the reader notices is the main cover line. The ‘Stars in School’ cover line gives readers a taster by inserting three photos fro the article which encourages them to purchase the magazine. Masthead: Placed behind the main image leaving enough uncovered for the buyer to be able to read it easily as the block text is white and the largest font on the entire page. Interestingly, the “WEEKLY” part of the masthead is the smallest font throughout the page. Main Image: Involves three glamorous female singers, evidently targeting the female audience on the whole. The background is a simple spectrum of pink also suggesting the female target audience. Graphics: The combination of colours on the page is vivid: white, pink, blue, yellow and some black. The yellow block text is simple to read, therefore it is noticed faster; however the white text’s style is complex and unusual therefore it’s more difficult to read them. The space isn’t completely filled up and the cover lines should be shorter than what this magazine has done as the information looks jammed, particularly regarding the lead article. Main Cover Line: Uses the words ‘girls’ and ‘women’. Emotive language like ‘living they’re dream’ and the exclamation mark further aiming for the female audience. Puffs and Buzz Words: ‘FREE MUSIC’, ‘EXCLUSIVE’ and ‘PLUS’ leads the reader to feel special and that they’re being offered extra content which isn’t offered anywhere else. The word ‘RARE’ also leads readers to think they’re being offered special content.
Contents column: divided into five categories, so the reader is able to find the article they’re looking for faster. The latest news first on the top and reviews on the back pages – following conventions. The graphics follow the colour scheme: orange, black, white and grey which is an unusual combination. The black/grey/white spectrum leaves a calm feel whilst the orange page numbers are clearly indicated and stand out against the background so that the reader can easily navigate between the pages. Underneath, there is a brief summary of the article for extra information without overloading the page. This is a successful contents page as it’s easy to navigate through it, however there’s a lack of puffs and buzz words. The masthead is conventionally placed in the left side corner of the contents page, with the “This Month” line leading readers to think that this magazine has all the highlights of the month inside. Doesn’t use the word ‘CONTENTS’ to indicate the purpose of the page. Four images are used to illustrate the contents, as if the front cover is to inform the audience with the help of text and the contents let the readers visualise the articles. Page numbers are on the four images (four biggest articles) so that the reader can easily flick to the page they want to read without having to read through the column of the entire contents on the right side of the page. The direct mode of address strengthens the connection between the writers and the readers through the use of ‘your own pictures’ and ‘we talk to the stars’. Convergence lets the readers interact with each other by sending in their photos. The front cover of the magazine, with a subscription offer using the phrase ‘just £3 per issue’ encouraging the reader to join in order to get the discount which makes them feel special that they’re paying less than a reader not part of the offer.
Puff ‘CONTENTS’ sign, clear block letters. The black text on white background makes this the most noticeable text on the page. A message from the editor in chief to the readers. Creating a bond between the brand and audience. List of names of the production team at Smash Hits!, including editors, art directors and photographers. This indicates that this is a well established music magazine. Four images with page numbers indicating the four major articles in the issue, which is an easy way for the readers to flick through to what they will most likely want to read first. Similarly to other contents pages, the page numbers are in a different colour than the article titles and details so that it’s clearly designated and easy for readers to understand how the articles are construct within the magazine. Conventionally, the left strap is dedicated to background information about the writers and production team etc, while the right 2/3 of the page contain a list of contents, Publisher’s logo and details. The red, black and white colour scheme gives off a sophisticated look and helps the magazine come across conventional and traditional.
Five images representing the five main articles of the issue. There are no clear indications of pages, just mere details about what the articles are on. The page number can only be found on the right side strap of the page, which might be inconvenient. Name of the magazine, rather than a ‘Contents’ sign, to reinforce the brand and its identity in the magazine industry. The contents column is divided into three categories so readers are able to skip to what interests them. The page numbers are a different colour to the contents sub-headings making it clear and visible for users to read. The chosen colours strengthen the brand’s laid back approach to rock and indie music and emphasize that their target audience is predominately male. The images aren’t over-edited with special effects, just raw photos of live music events. There are no puffs, which could suggest that they aren’t necessary for attracting audiences as their readers are regular and loyal consumers. The editorial contributors, their pictures and their messages to readers. This method breaks down the barrier between the media text and the audience. It helps to portray them as real people rather than robotic writers. It gives them a personality,
Date line Not only are the contents categorised under five headings, NME also listed all the bands featured in the magazine with page numbers, in case the reader wants to read about a specific band or a particular artist. “NME THIS WEEK” – The masthead emphasises on the brand and its identity and the use of “this week” suggests to the readers that they will be getting a review of the highlights of the week. Also it implies that the information is fresh and current. Preview of the lead article and a photo to illustrate it. Offer of subscription with buzz words like “SAVE”, encouraging readers to sign up for the promotion. It tries to engage the consumers in the community. Buzz word: “PLUS” indicates even more content. Puff – arrows indicate the highlights of the issue The colour scheme: black, white, red and yellow, further represents the male audience. It also symbolizes the rock and indie genre of the magazine as the style is usually associated with these colours.
Cover date – conforming to conventions. Contents sign in the corner of the page. Clear, bright text. Message from the editor, brings the audience closer to the writers. The signature adds personality. Contents organized into nine categories – readers can easily find the pages they want to read. Only the names of the featured artists are included – no unnecessary details. News are at the beginning with features nearer to the middle of the magazine. Images with page numbers allow the readers to visualise the content and the main headlines of this issue which is practical for the users. The mode of address is personal with the frequent use of ‘you’ and ‘your’ which breaks the wall between the consumers and producers. The use of such address create a sense of community and unity. Subscription offer in a red box, which stands out from the page as the rest is yellow, white and black – strengthening the rock style.
Image of the front cover Puff – appears as if blood is leaking down the page – conveys the focus of the magazine – metal music Following the codes and conventions, Metal Hammer places the contents line in the corner at the top of the page with the date line underneath it. The right column is a message to the readers from the editor establishing a personal relationship with the audience. The signature on the bottom is effective as well, because it conveys individuality. Articles aren’t divided into categories as this is a niche sector magazine, therefore all the articles will more or less be about metal music. But the pages are indicated separately in red so that it’s less difficult to read and understand. There are short details underneath the article titles for extra information. The space is used successfully, with all the necessary features of magazine contents pages including, puffs, buzz words, images related to the lead articles and a message from the editor. The colour combination reflects the genre of music Metal Hammer writes about. The red exemplifies blood and gore and the black is associated with metal music. Both colours work well against the white background. The four images illustrate the main cover lines of the issue. There are two uses of the buzz word ‘PLUS’ The font demonstrates the style as it seems rough and not the typical font a mainstream music magazine would use.
The font is simple, thus it’s easily readable. The colour scheme is what conveys the rock/indie style. Date line for general information The bigger image portrays one of the main articles of this issue, with brief details and the page number indicated so the reader can skip to the page if the lead article. The image fills a lot of space because the band consists of four artists, however it could have been scaled down in order to include a message from the editor (for the audience to know who’s behind the magazine) or promotion and puffs, Brand’s logo on the side of the ‘CONTENTS’ sign in the top corner of the page – following conventions. Contents are split into three groups: features (the articles), every month (crosswords, offers and fan mail) and review (reviews of albums, singles as well as films as Q is trying to target wider audiences even beyond music. The chosen colours are consistent in every issue of Q: red, black and white. Conventionally, the page numbers are indicated in a bolder colour next to the articles listed. These colours symbolize the indie/rock/pop themed magazine and suggests a principally male audience. The audience isn’t addressed directly by the magazine creating a distance between the reader and the writers. The “OASIS SPECIAL!” line draws the attention of Oasis fans, leading them to think that there’ll be a number of pages dedicated to the band.
Date line - as the conventions instruct. Brand name with the tag line underneath which appeals to young people. Traditionally, the column on the left side lists all the contents in the magazine and divides them into four: regulars, features (conventionally nearer to the middle of the issue), exposure and lastly reviews (following the codes of the magazine industry). The ‘CONTENTS’ font implies a sense of horror and rock which complies with the rock genre. The use of red and black strengthens this. Identically to the majority of music magazines, the side opposite to the contents column consists of images representing the few main articles, along with the page numbers indicated clearly in red and brief descriptions – which make it convenient for the reader to flick through to the content they want to read. The images appear edited and more professionally refined than those in Mojo for example – which suggests that Rock Sound is more established, recognised and respected magazine. The numbers are very small and not a different colour to the listings which doesn’t make it unreadable but less noticeable. The style of text reflects the genre of rock – the rough edges and grimy looking lettering. The photo frames look cracked which depicts youth. The contents appear on page 4. Page 2 and 3 could be used for advertising.
The ‘CONTENTS’s sign is bold and most noticeable on the page. The style is modern which represents the mainstream, contemporary music Billboard magazine writes about. Volume and issue number As billboard concentrates on mainstream music, it dedicates the left side column to the latest music chart. With the magazine logo in the corner – barely noticeable. As conventions inculcate, four images are added to illustrate the four main articles of the issue with page numbers specified on the bottom corner. The images look more edited and refined which is expected from such a massive and respected brand. The text and choice of colours is suitable and appropriate for purpose – to inform. The contents list is divided into four categories, (similarly to other music magazines) which makes the contents more organised and clear. The categories are upfront (news and weekly updates), features (lead headlines) , music (reviews) and in every issue (regular features). On the bottom Billboard also informs the readers of the online content for the given week. The colour scheme is mainly black, blue and white which cultivates the well established status of the magazine and with the blue straps diving the page, it comes across clean, organised and sophisticated – aiming at the general public.
The logo the background reinforces the personality of the magazine. The ‘CONTENTS’ sign is split apart which is unconventional, but not an interesting aspect of the page. The block text is still readable and attracts attention. The theme is grey, white and black (quite lifeless tone), but the heart on the artist’s shoulder stands out as it’s in red. From my earlier front page analysis I have noticed that Vibe magazine covers tend to be very colourful to represent the pop/rap/hip hop genre, so this contents page doesn’t conform with the theme of their front pages. The contents listings take up a very small portion of the page – most of the focus is on the artistic image. The contents are divided into two sub-sections (possibly more if this is a double page contents): features and fashion. Instead of reviews, like most magazines, Vibe chooses to focus on the fashion in music – which suggest the kinds of values Vibe holds. Maybe it’s more about the appearance than the music. Credit to the photographers and editors. Small writing – an insignificant but necessary feature. + Location and artistic team. There is no date line or issue number and the mode of address is rarely personal. There are no puffs or buzz words, possibly due to the fact that Vibe is an established and sophisticated magazine, and doesn’t need to attract the readers within the magazine pages, just on the front cover. Vibe has regular consumers. Vibe has an average circulation of 800,000 as of 2007.
Block capital lettering and font of varied sizes takes up a large portion of the two-page spread to convey a massive statement and conform to the rock style. The quote is the heading of the article. The black and white colours compliment each other and the black stands out effectively. By-line and credits Eye flow The artist fills up the entire second page of the spread. The fact that it’s a quote in speech marks, it creates a strong bond between the artist and the consumers. The costume, dark make up and hair (mis-en-scene) resemble the colours chosen for the text and graphics, keeping the rock and indie, house style. Standfirst is used to briefly introduce the article. The actual article doesn’t fill up a lot of space – the function of the first double page spread of the whole article is to attract the audience visually, and the following double page spread focuses on the text rather than the images and graphics. Drop capital – to indicate where the article begins. Basic layout – no excess information, puffs, promotions or advertising. Italics and bold font used in the text to emphasise on some elements.
Intertextuality – a reference to one of the artist’s songs. Image – the “USA” sign is behind the musician which could imply that she is taking over the US by releasing music there. Eye flow The double page spread focuses on the signer’s career in the USA, so the article is American themed, however Vibe decided not to emphasise on this by only using minimal blue and keeping in with the usual house style colour combination: red, black and white. The main image fills up the whole of the first page of the double spread. Writer’s and photographer’s credits. Standfirst sets up the topic of the article, with the artist’s name in bold, blue font. A questions closes the standfirst so that the readers are encouraged to read the article to discover the answer to this question. The artist’s black costume and red hair comply with the rest of the mis-en-scene as well as the constant colour combination throughout the two pages. No highlighted quotes to draw attention. Drop capital – indicates where the article starts. Vibe is following the conventions.
‘Special Edition’ leads readers to think that this is an exclusive story only available through Q magazine. Photographer’s credits. The magazine’s logo and the date line in the corner of the page. Standfirst is used as a short description of the article. It gives readers information about what to expect from the text before they read. The costume (mis-en-scene) reflect the feel of the magazine – pop, rock, indie and relaxed. The gloves, the necklace and the hoodie represent this genre of music . The costume is black and white – house style Drop capital follows conventions in guiding and instructing the readers on where to start reading. The page follows the house style theme with other colours in between to suggest mainstream music. The white text works well against the black background – it’s clear, readable and looks sophisticated. The quote creates a relationship between the artist and the consumers, as readers feel as if she’s speaking directly to them. Puff – fractures the theme of black, maroon and white. Eye flow
‘NEWS’ – the sub-section the articles has been categorised under – shows organised structure of the magazine. The quote is the title of the article – the large font and rock style attracts readers’ attention. The ‘WORLD EXCLUSIVE’ line sounds like a massive opportunity for loyal fans and readers. Two images of the band performing live – NME knows that their audience loves live music. The other two images are of the band members working in a studio; this is portrayed as NME are aware that their readers are keen prosumers therefore will be interested in details of music technology and production. Eye flow The standfirst informs the reader about the contents of the article, summarising the text. It gives readers brief information about what to expect from it before they read. Conventionally, the graphics and images dominate the double page spread, because its role is to grasp the interest of readers. The white strap gives readers exclusive descriptions and information about new MCR music. Similarly to other rock and indie magazines, NME sticks with the house style theme which is associated with this particular genre. Drop capital – indicates where the article starts. Places importance on the band’s name, My Chemical Romance.
Pull quote used in form of a slug. It’s on a white background, which stands out against the blue main image. The image is laid out over the two pages of the spread, because it’s a five piece band. Drop capital used to indicate where the article begins; and conventionally, it starts on the second page of the double page spread. Standfirst well incorporated with the image – it gives a brief introduction about the article, to encourage users to read it. Like the title, the bold white text is readable on the blue background. The background of the image is sky-like, and the fact that the band are jumping gives them an extraordinary quality, as it appears for them to be flying, conveying they’re status and success. Some of the image is coming off the page, which is usual technique for magazines when positioning images. The title of the article is “Kids in Glass Houses – Good Boys Gone Rad” – spin on the popular phrase. The colour scheme picked for this article is unusual, however the colours had to be adapted for this particular photo therefore white was the most suitable. The blue/black/white colours signify water and freedom which correspond to the message behind the image. Eye flow
Leading text – distinguished from the pull quote through the use of white – establishes that the writer’s words are in white and the artist’s in red- Image – well edited, not excessively. Artist is looking straight at the reader. It takes up one page with text skilfully placed over it, creating a translucent strap. Pull quote – bolder and larger font, gives the reader a preview of the article and encourages them to read the interview. Eye flow The title of the article is simply ‘Jamelia’ – the text font is the biggest on the entire page adopting the colour of the photo (the back layer). The standfirst provides a short outline of the article - ultimately to encourage the consumer to read on. The artist uses more ‘you’s than the writers, connecting the audience to the artist not the magazine. The house style colour combination (white, black and red) conveys the R&B and rock genre of the magazine. The style of text and layout is clear and sophisticated and evidently targets young people and adults. The interviewer’s questions are distinguished from responses through the use of different colours making the spread easy to follow.
Slug – makes up for the blank space between the top of the magazine and the title. The title is catchy and attracts attention. The font is unusual it appears like a hard rock/metal style. The artist’s name is bold in the standfirst which is a conventional technique for magazines. The standfirst describes the article as a whole in a few sentences. Eye flow The image is clearly a ‘behind-the-scenes’ photo which lets the readers into the exclusives and beyond the music gossip. This image takes up a whole page and can be torn out for a poster. It’s big and draws attention to it first. Drop capital – lets the reader know where the article starts. It’s the boldest letter on the entire page, so after the image and the title, it is the feature noticed next. Credits to the photographer, editor and artistic director. The text is shaped into one column. It’s easy to read as it’s black on white, which matches the black and white scheme of the main image.
Slug: ‘The Year In Music 2009’ – indicates the subject the particular section of the magazine is about. The main image takes up one page of the double page spread, and the black and white photo conventionally conforms to the usual house style and theme. The photograph focuses on the make up and hair of the singer. The fact that the image is framed in a close up, helps address the reader and gives the artists a powerful appearance. Eye flow Brief standfirst summarises the content of the magazine. Emphasis on the name ‘Gaga’ Interesting statistics about the artist’s sales. Gives the reader background knowledge. Artist’s discography – this is what Billboard’s most famous for: statistics, charts and updates. Relates to the slug in the top corner ‘The Year in Music 2009’. It gives an overview of the artist’s success. Billboard takes an impersonal approach to address the audience. The text is split up into an introduction, and the main body, which is conventionally formed into to columns. The text is very small and hard to follow.
The artists’ costumes conform with the colour scheme of the article. The combination is black and white as conventions instruct. However, the usual red in rock magazines has been replaced by a shade of gold associated with hip hop. Eye flow The arrow acts as a drop capital indicating where the article begins. The symbol matches the colour scheme. The title of the article is a question, motivating users to read the article. It’s also a pun on the artist’s name Will. Pull quote on a black background with white text – stands out and draws the reader in. Use of ellipsis engages the reader. Standfirst outlining the content of the interview/article. The black font is hard to read on this background. Brand name and page number – helpful for navigation. Main image – the photo had been edited so that the image of Will.I.Am is sharper and the rest of the band are in shallow focus. This indicates that the article is mainly about Will.I.Am. The eye flow is impacted by this too as the reader notices the figure in sharp focus first, whereas ordinarily they’d notice the band as a whole.
The article has no specific title – the highlighted name of the artist in the standfirst acts as a title implying that this writing is on the singer and her work. A sequence of black and white images across the spread, with a larger image in colour filling up half a page. Unusual layout. Eye flow The standfirst briefly informs the reader about the article. The name of the artist is usually highlighted as the article titles don’t tend to have the artists’ names included. Instead of a drop capital, the first clause of the article is made bolder. This is also a popular technique, especially in gossip magazines. Unlike the magazines that specialise solely in music, Now has text over half of the first page, and quite a fair amount of it on the second page of the spread – but it doesn’t fail to appeal visually through the interesting layout. Page number, and credits including photographer, editor, creative team and art directors. Pull quote in bolder black catching the attention of a reader, and giving a preview of the insight of the article. The predominant colours are black and white, whilst the artist’s red dress recaptures the conventional house style. The blue gives it a more fresh and modern vibe. Credits
Audience Research: Questionnaire Q1: What genre of music do you enjoy reading about? a) Mainstream b) Indie and rock c) Metal d) Country Q2: How do you prefer to listen to music? a) Live events, gigs and festivals b) Radio/live streams c) iTunes d) MP3 or mobile phone Q3: What makes you inclined to purchase a magazine? a) The artist on the front cover b) Special editions c) A free CD, accessories, posters, etc, coming with the issue d) I buy the same magazine regularly Q4: What do you expect from music magazines? a) Interviews b) Festival/gig coverage c) Latest releases reviews d) Chart updates and latest news Q5: List five of your favourite bands and artists. Q6: What websites do you use regularly? a) Social Networking b) Fan sites c) E-zines (online magazines) d) File sharing Q7: What tribe are you? (findyourtribe.co.uk) Q8: What do you consider to be an appropriate price for a music magazine? a) <£1 b) £1-£3 c) £3-£5 d) >£5 Q9: . Which of these magazines are you most likely to buy? a) NME b) Q c) Rolling Stone d) Billboard Q10: Please select your age group. a) 13-18 b) 19-24 c) 25-30 d) 31+ I will carry out this survey among 16-19year old class mates as this is roughly the audience I will most likely be targeting with my music magazine. However, to attain a broader range of responses from different cultures, backgrounds etc., I will publish this questionnaire on surveymonkey.com and I’m going to spread the link to it on social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, and music fan sites. This will provide me with a larger number of responses to analyse, which will give me a better understanding of what audiences prefer and expect from magazines; and I’ll be able to conform to those demands in my own magazine. I’m hoping for at least 20 responses to the online survey.
Audience Research: Online Survey I made my questionnaire on surveymonkey.com, which created a direct link to my survey (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QH2SQPL) . I sent out the link around Twitter, and Facebook, as well as specific music fanzines, including GagaDaily,.com, countrytune.com ,and NME.com and received I received 52 responses. I chose these particular websites as they are very popular around the world, and I intended to gain as many different answers and many diverse tastes as possible. I was aware that through the online survey I’d be targeting international music fans, therefore I adapted my survey. Beside the pound sign in the price question, I also put in brackets the equivalent cost in American dollars. Screen shot of my survey on surveymonkey.com and the post on GagaDaily.com Pg.1 Pg.2 Pg.3
Audience Research: Questionnaire Results I have combined the online survey results and classroom survey results to analyse through pie charts. I have chosen pie charts to represent my results as it is a visual method and I believe this way it’ll be clearer and easier to interpret throughout the project. Here are my results. From this chart I can conclude that the users choose to listen to music through MP3 devices or iTunes, rather than live music or radio, which tells me that this audience is very keen on modern technology. The results show that mainstream music is the most popular amongst the audience. Country music follows, and Indie and Rock is a close third. Less than 10% of the users preferred Metal music out of the choices listed. This chart illustrates that the kind of artist on the cover of a music magazine is important to the users and can ultimately decide whether someone chooses to buy it or not. Freebies are also an attractive feature. The four most popular answers to this question were Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Lady Gaga and Florence + the Machine. Evidently mainstream and country artists are the most selected options, which corresponds to question 1.
Audience Research: Questionnaire Results Continued... This chart shows that consumers prefer using social networking sites and fanzines, followed by file sharing in third; which suggests they like to interact with other users, which is expected from the teenage audience. This chart explains that users expect to find interviews and reviews in music magazines, as over 50% have chosen the interviews option. The users are keen on finding about artists beyond listening to the music. Most of the users convey through this chart that they are willing to pay up to £5 for a music magazine, which is significantly above the average price, which demonstrates their loyalty. Less than 5% selected the £5+ option., which is understandable as the audience is teenagers who might not have as much money, Out of the many different responses, these four were the most popular. From this I can deduce that the users tend to follow the latest trends and fashion. I will analyse this further and more in depth in the following slides.
Audience Research: Questionnaire Results Continued... This chart shows that most participants would choose Rolling Stone to buy out of the options listed, which could be because the magazine writes about a variety of music and is an established, world wide recognised magazine. Country Weekly comes close second which complies with the most popular genre amongst the users. Most of the users are between the ages of 13 to 18, and 19-24 year olds are in second. This shows that users of these ages use the social networking and fan sites the most, which means they’re following the trends, so this is a very good audience to be targeting music magazines at. About 23% of all the users were 25+. Older users can be loyal to a particular site, but not as far as social networking goes.
Audience Research: Questionnaire Results (Find Your Tribe) Smart Urban – This is also knows as the ‘preppy’ style. The tribe focuses on looking smart, well-off and part of the popular group. Members of the tribe are out to get the best job and hate drugs or violence. This tribe would most likely be into indie or country music. Indie Scenesters – Cross between James Dean and Grace Jones look. This is a tribe defined by findyourtribe.com as always being “ahead of the game”. This style is popular among NME.com users, as it specialises in indie music. Townies – this was the most popular result for the survey contributors. The ‘Townie’ look consists of lots of jewellery, attitude, tied up hair and weekly shopping outings. The tribe cares a lot about the latest mainstream music. Scene Kid - One of the most popular styles today. Findyourtribe.com defines this trend as being all about the funky, spiky hair and statement clothes. Music is usually a passion for this tribe.
Audience Research: Results Mood Board
Evaluation: Front Cover Analysis From analysing the front covers of magazines, I have noticed common features and methods being used in order to attract the potential buyer. I chose the ten covers carefully, because I wanted to make sure that I specifically analyse music magazines only, with the intention that I’ll find precise techniques common to music magazines alone, and I’ll be able to draw on these ‘systems’ and adapt to them with my own magazine. Firstly, I identified the main features of covers, so that I knew what I was looking for whilst analysing the front pages. I referred back to this page throughout the analysis, which helped me recognize the features or lack of some. I spotted that one of the conventions is that the artist/band on the front cover tend to be positioned in front of the masthead, which brings a sense of power to the artist. The main cover lines are always the boldest font on the page. Also the cover lines are the second boldest text on the page, whilst the (occasionally used) brief outlines of the articles are in smaller font so that the page isn’t over packed, and the potential buyer notices all the cover lines, before the extra information. Regarding the main image, the mis-en-scene (especially costume) is significant because it’s part of what conveys the overall vibe and genre of the entire magazine. For example on the Rolling Stone cover, Adam Lambert wearing all black, with make-up and jewellery implies the rock and soft rock genre that Rolling Stone is; and the snake he’s holding signifies the rock’n’roll life, drugs and temptation. The main image always follows the colour scheme so the target audience is clear. I discovered that the top 1/3 of the magazine is the only part of it seen on newsstands, therefore for this reason mastheads are always put on the top 1/3 and also this is the purpose of skylines. Skylines appear insignificant, however they’re right at the top so they’re what is seen the most of newsstands, and can ultimately be a factor whether someone becomes interested or not. Puffs increase the visual quality of the magazine and encourage to buy the issue. Moreover, barcodes, datelines and price lines act as extra general information for the reader. Frequently, magazines use the personal mode of address such as “you” towards the readers, addressing them directly in order to break the barriers and connect with them, which creates a sense of community and bond between the readers and editors. This also implies that the audience is part of the magazine and they get some input about what topics the articles are on etc. The indie and rock magazines tend to follow the house style colour combination, whereas mainstream music magazines choose the more colourful schemes, whilst country magazines opt for the lighter blend and tone. Whichever selection, the graphics tend to be limited to three colours in order to make the page easy to read, attractive and still conforming to the genre and style of the magazine. I think that the most significant aspect of magazine front covers that have learnt is that it is important for all these features (masthead, cover lines, puffs, etc.) to work successfully together; otherwise the badly incorporated graphics and aesthetics will create an untidy page and will confuse the reader. The mere fact that the graphics are artistic and very visual on their own doesn’t make for a successful cover. It’s vital to think about it as a whole and decide what will work well when put together. I will apply all the knowledge I’ve gained and refer back to research when producing my own magazine front page.
Evaluation: Contents Page Analysis The analysis of the magazine contents pages gave me an insight further into the common techniques that magazines use to make the pages informative, convenient and easy to read, but not lose its style and vibe. Again, I chose to only concentrate on music magazines, because other genres of magazines are likely to be using various other methods of attracting their audience. The contents list is often sub-categorised, with latest news on the first few pages, followed by the major features, followed by the reviews and ‘regulars’ like crosswords and advertisements. The list tends to be shaped into a column, whilst the other side of the page is dedicated to (usually four or five) images which illustrate the main features of the issue. Most do, but some pages don’t have page numbers corresponding with the images, which is inconvenient as the reader has to go back to the list to find the page number. Page numbers are very useful as they allow for the reader to flick through to the page they’re interested in reading. In addition, they’re often a different, bolder colour to the article name. Some, more established and respected magazines, have a message from the editor on the left side of the page, which forms a writer/reader bond and connects them as people, more than just a media/user relationship. Puffs are less frequent as by the time the reader has reached the contents page, they would most likely have bought the magazine, therefore the process of attracting the audience is completed. The puffs on contents pages usually tell the reader more about the issue, which is more of a ‘to inform’ technique than ‘to persuade’. Each contents page often has the name of the magazine in the top left corner of the page, reinforcing the brand and its values. Identically to front covers, contents pages conform to the particular combination of colours, to keep the graphics consistent and set up the style. Usually, contents pages lack in the personal address approach, however the more specialised magazines like NME.com, have a few references to the readers, such as “Your photos!”, because the community is very close and united. The style of the font is usually very simple and readable, and only more esatblished magazines try unconventional lay out techniques. From this thorough analysis, I can conclude that the contents page is like another front cover and the purpose of them is to give more detailed information about the articles, plus clearly indicated page numbers, most conveniently in a different colour. It has to be easy for the reader to navigate, therefore the contents can be categorised for an easier, quicker find.
Evaluation: Double Page Spread Analysis The double page analysis pointed out even more common features and methods to me. Double page spreads are rare on the internet so I had a some trouble finding them to analyse, but I managed to scan some spreads onto the PC. I’ve also had to use one music double page spread from a gossip magazine, which is only a little off my focus. I identified the eye flow for all ten spreads to recognise a pattern, which is that the reader is firstly drawn to the big image, then to the title and then the drop capital. Double page spreads tend to have slugs in the top corners, classifying the features running in those particular issues. The more established magazines also add credits and by-lines. The main image usually takes up one entire page which counts for visual aesthetics and the conventional standfirsts below encourage the reader further as they give a brief overview of the article. Pull quotes are often used (sometimes even as a title) in order to make the reader feel closer to the artist, beyond the music. It’s a convention, also, for the name of the artist to be highlighted in the standfirst. Billboard, which is known for it’s maistream music facts and figures, gives details of the success of artists through statistics which help the reader imagine and comprehend the sales, records, achievements etc. Like on any other page pf the magazine, the mis-en-scene, and predominantly the make-up, is carefully chosen to depict the specific theme and vibe the magazine is aiming for. For example, Lily Allen’s hair and make up is dark for NME, as NME portrays rock and indie. Her outfit is red and black, which complies with the conventional house style. Sometimes, writers put their own spin or use a pun on the article titles to attract attention, for instance “Going Gaga” or “Good Boys Gone Rad”. The conventional house style (black, white and red) target the younger audience, between the ages of 14 to 25. The font is also adapted for the audience and purpose. Cracked and dirty looking fonts is used to attract youth and it also signifies the rock lifestyle and live events. Whilst, Vibe and XXL would use sharper and more refined fonts to retain the sophistication. Overall, I will apply this knowledge when creating my magazine double age spreads, as I have discovered many modes of attracting the audience, some being so subtle we don’t even notice them. Double page spreads are usually made up of one page photo and half a page of text, which suggests that the first two pages are meant to visually attract, which is why the text tends to carry on onto the following pages.
Evaluation: Audience Research Being aware of the target audience, while producing a media text is vital, which is why audience research helped me massively on deciding on the audience I will be targeting. It’s much easier to aim at a more specific audience, like Metal Hammer does – knowing the exact needs and demands. However, such measures attracts less readers. Magazines like NME target a wider audience, therefore they have a lot or readers and the circulation numbers are high. However it’s much harder to comply with the needs of a wider audience. To give me a better understanding of audiences, I created a 10 question questionnaire, which I have given to my class mates (aged 16-18) to fill out. But knowing that such questionnaire will give me a limited number and diversity of responses, I produced an online survey (consisting of the same questions) through surveymonkey.com, and invited people on social networking sites and fanzines from all over the world to respond to it. I had received 52 online responses and along with the 12 classroom responses I had 64 responses altogether. I put my results into pie charts so they’re easier to understand, but also so that I can refer back to them later in the project. The most popular genres were mainstream, rock and indie and country. I decided that I cannot go with the mainstream idea, because I have to take my own photo for the magazine pages and it’d be impossible for me to take a good quality photo of any of the current chart artists for it to match with the purpose of the magazine. Rock was another very popular genre, however knowing that there are already many rock and indie themed magazines, I had decided to go with the second most popular choice, which is country music. Country music is mostly popular in the southern states of the United States amongst teens and adults. And drawing on the ages in my survey, I will target 16-28 year olds and the magazine will hypothetically be sold in the US. It is a challenging objective, but this audience research has given me enough information and a clearer understanding so I think I’ll be able to conform to the expectations of this target audience. Thanks to the survey, I was able to discover that my target audience like file sharing, interacting with each other and modern technology like iTunes and live streams, which gives me ideas for the adverts and puffs I will be putting into my magazine. I found out that it’s important for my audience what artist is on the front cover of the magazine and that this is the factor which inclines them to purchase the magazine. The audience expects interviews from music magazines, which tells me that they want to get closer to the artist they love and have a connection with them. In the question “List five of your favourite bands and artists” mostly mainstream and country artists were put forward, like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Carrie Underwood, Regina Spektor, Ellie Goulding and Lady Antebellum. I will take these as suggestions for cover lines for the front page of my magazine. The fact the audience are willing to pay up to £5 for a music magazine tells me that they’re so passionate about music that they’d be willing to pay over the average selling price of tabloid magazines, as music magazines have more legit information. Findyourtribe.com is a good website for identifying trends an d the current tribes, which is what magazines try to follow and conform to. I asked my target audience to take the quiz on the website and the four top results were Smart Urban, Townie, Scene Kid and Indie Scenester. I can deduce from this that music helps them express themselves, and that they care about fashion too which will help me come up with suitable buzz words for the front page. I created a mood board according to the results of my survey which I will refer back to for inspiration. In the process of producing my magazine, I will always keep in mind the target audience.