Evidence of conventions - research into similar products
Front covers, contents & double page spreads
Rolling StoneLooking at the Rolling Stone magazine covers, it can be suggested that the typical shottype used is a mid shot. This shot is usually taken from the waist up and you can seewhat the artist is wearing. They use this because the audience can see what the artist iswearing and from that be able to recognize them and the feature story that goes withthe image can be shown through costume. Particularly in the top right corner, the ZacEfron cover. A mid shot is used along with the cover line “American Teen Heart throb”through the use of his shirt almost coming off it leaves the expectation of more andsupports the “teen heart throb” line.It is typical of Rolling Stone to use a serif but very clear font on the front cover for theircover lines, however on this cover a san serif and italic font is used for the coverstory, and a simple san serif font is used for the rest of the cover lines.The house style for Rolling Stone is displayed in the masthead that is used on every issue– usually in red but sometimes in white (depending on the image). The colour of thecover lines is used to contrast against the background so that it stands out and is easilyreadable. For example, on this cover, the white colour of the cover lines are used tocontrast against the black. Typically, the artist is in front of the masthead – showing onlythe beginning and end of it. The Rolling Stone front covers are very conventionalbecause of this and are also conventional because they use the same house style onevery cover, making it recognizable. This is perhaps because Rolling Stone is sorecognizable. Typically for a Rolling Stones cover they use high key lighting along with afairly bright background – however this can change depending on the artist and thefeel of the cover story that they are trying to convey. Rolling Stone use a clear andordered layout – this is perhaps because their target audience is much older comparedto say that of Top of the Pops.Rolling Stone also features stories about liberal politics and this is reflected in thelanguage, for example the story about global warming, the cover line uses shock tacticsand striking words to grab attention. They use semi-formal language and concise coverlines in order to get the message across quickly and get the audience to read on. Theselect words “Hot, Ready, Legal” for the Cover story grab attention and explain whatthe story will be about – Justin Bieber becoming eighteen – but also gets the readerwondering. It uses well-known band names and artists as cover lines so appeals to thepeople that know these artists.
Rolling Stone seems to follow the This Rolling Stone contents page useshouse style of serif fonts in the fairly dramatic language, such ascontents page. It also uses stand “Eminem’s road back from hell”, this isfirsts after its headlines. This is perhaps because it’s a magazine thismost likely so that the reader can would be conventional. However it alsogather a small taster of what the speaks to it’s audience in a semi-formalstory is about from the headline tone. This is perhaps because it’s targetand stand first before reading the audience starts off much older at 18 andwhole story. It is a fairly clear this means they are much more maturelayout for the contents and intellectual so in order to make thepage, using bolder and bigger magazine appealing they need to usetypography to break up the the language that their target audiencegroups of text, they also use lines use. They also appeal to their targetto separate the parts of their audience by featuring both politics andmagazine; politics and music. music.It uses a block of colour at the It is conventional to use page referencestop to catch the attention of the in magazines, so Rolling Stone isreader. It follows the house style conventional in this way.colours of red, white and The images are fairly simple but give theblack, this helps the magazine to desired effect of attracting the reader’sbe consistent and easily attention, so then they read therecognizable. It uses capital headlines and want to read the articles.letters for it’s group titles – this The first image is a long shot showing anmakes them clearer. artist with a microphone on stage – itIt uses images that correspond to would appeal to people interested inthe opposite text. This helps the music. The next one has a black andreader to stay interested and white effect making it different, it is alsokeep the magazine appealing. It of a artist but there is a piano too. Thesealso helps to show what the images link to the idea that this is a musicstories are about. magazine. The final image, a close up ofUnconventionally, the images Barack Obama so links to the idea thatare aligned to the dominant side this magazine also includes politics. Theof the page – but this could be pages that have the stories that go withso as to establish the attention of these images are also on the images –the reader. making it easy to find the story.
This is a double page spread featured in Rolling Stone magazine, it is conventional to use a large image on double pagespreads in Rolling Stone, but this is unconventional because the whole background is the image. This makes the imageappear more important than the text. The image is a mid shot of the artist and people – presumably fans – behind him. Itis taken with high key lighting and a long shot is also used within this mid shot to show what the artist is wearing – it links tothe headline of the feature “the curious case of Benjamin Lee”, because he looks fairly quirky. The image is of him playingthe guitar – showing that he is a musician.A kicker is used at the beginning of the body text, this bold letter starts off the feature and draws thereader in. As it’s much bigger and bolder it attracts a lot of attention.The body text is much smaller than any of the other features on the double page spread – this ismost likely because they want a large image of the artist and to explain a lot through the image.Also, it is conventional to use more than a double page for these features so it is quite possible thatthis article continues on the next page with more body text.The headline “the curious case ofBenjamin Lee” is in a serif font, it’salso much larger than the rest ofthe body text, this is so that it standsout and catches the attention ofthe reader. It is on top of the imagein a white with black outline – this isso that you can see the imagebehind it.Also a stand first is used after theheadline – this is so that the readercan understand what the feature isbasically about before reading theentire body text. It is much smallerthan the headline, this is so that theheadline pops out to the reader.Under the stand first is thebyline, this is where the writer’sname is, then the reader knowswho wrote it and often can bepersuaded to read it if it’s a wellknown journalist.
BillboardThe front covers of Billboard magazine usually use a mid shot of the cover story artist, this is sothat you can see the artist and recognize them. Also, this is so that you can see the costumewhich helps you identify their genre of music that they come from. They use a fairly cluttered butordered layout. This is because they have a lot of cover lines placed around the main imagehowever, they also make sure that each cover line is clear so therefore it is fairly ordered.They keep a consistent house style on each of their front covers with the mast head “Billboard.They typically have the artist in front of the masthead so that you only see the beginning andend of the masthead – this is done because Billboard is a recognizable logo, therefore if themagazine was on a shelf you might only see the the left side, so they generally align most of thecover lines to the left third, this way it grabs the attention of the audience even if it’s covered byanother magazine. A san serif font is used for the masthead, this makes it clear and easilyrecognizable. For the cover lines, Billboard generally uses a serif font, this is conventional of thisgenre of music magazines.Billboard uses the route of the eye on the front cover so that the reader sees the masthead, theimage and then the cover lines. Typically they use high-key lighting images, this is most likely asit’s aimed at a target audience who are interested in pop music rather than rock or punk solighter images are more appropriate.The images on the front covers are of pop artists, so this links in with the magazines targetaudience and appeals to them. The images used reflect the artist, for example Taylor Swift is“woman of the year” so with this title for their cover story they have decided to have herdressed up looking as if she’s set for this award. This helps to convey the cover story and helpsthe audience to know almost immediately (through mise-en-scene features such as costumeand setting) what the cover story is about and how it relates to the audience and then if theywant to read it, this way the topic of the cover article is established and it appeals to theaudience because of this.Looking at a lot of the Billboard front covers it appears conventional to use white for the coverline typography – it also seems conventional to make the text stand out and contrast againstthe background. Obviously, it is conventional to have the artists behind the cover lines so thatthey can be read however, for the Justin Bieber issue they have had it behind the artist. This isperhaps because the image is taken from a low angle so it appears he’s popping out of thecover, and in order to complete this effect they pushed the text to the back. Although you maynot be able to read all of the letters perfectly because you see most of the letter (e.g. “N” of“Justin”) you can read what it says, also it’s laid out so that the text is to the side of the artist so itcan still be clearly read.
This contents page for Billboard The layout is fairly ordered; amagazine follows their house line is used to separate the topstyle, this is because they have 100 from the actual contentsthe Billboard Hot 100 in every page. This makes it muchissue. This consistent style helps clearer and easier to read.them to be easily identified Columns are used to order theand creates a brand image. It contents page, this meanslists the top tracks for that week that the audience can clearlyand helps appeal to the target locate the different features.audience – people interested in Also, by using images of artistsmusic. For this left aligned chart relating to their features itlist they use a san serif font, this appeals to the targetmakes it clear and also audience and helps it to beseparates each track or album clearer overall. The imagesfrom the next whereas a serif pop out of the page so thisfont would help them flow catches the readers’ attentiontogether but as they are and continues to hold theirindividual, this works best. attention so that they read on.Billboard uses light colours on its The language used is fairlycontents page, this is concise and simple, but notconventional because as a patronising. It tells you whatpop music magazine it the story is about and whatwouldn’t use dark colours. page, so the readers can findThey use light blue and black it directly.for their typography, this followsthe house style set out by themasthead, Billboard, on thefront cover. It uses serif fonts forthe titles of the sections of thecontents. It uses a fairly“blocky” style to separate partsof the page.
This double page spread featured in Billboard magazine shows Beyonce and her new title of “woman of the year” it uses a fairly masculine font for the headline. This links in with the language and the idea that she is fierce, such as her stage name Sasha Fierce suggests. Her costume is also linked to this, along with her make up, creating the idea that this is why she is women of the year. The dark purple colour connotes royalty – linking to the prestigious title – but it also connotes desire and strength.In this feature a kicker is A very short stand first is used to explain Beyonce’s feelings about being Woman of theused at the beginning of year. This quickly sums up what the story is about without revealing all of it. A by-line isthe body text, this is so used in this feature so that the readers know who the journalist writing is. This can oftenthat the readers attention help to attract attention because if it’s a well-known writer, readers often want to readis drawn to the beginning. their newest articles.The headline is in a much It’s a fairly ordered layout with the text conventionally aligned to the dominant side ofbigger font than the the page. The image is a close up of the featured artist, it links to the headline “fiercelybody text, this is so that it creative” as she poses as a fierce woman. The close up shows her face so that readersstands out massively. The recognize her, and reveals enough of her costume to understand the headline.typography is in a san Beyonce, being a well-known artist – does not need to have a longer shot so you canserif typography and is see her costume because most people reading the magazine are interested in music sowhite so that it stands out will know who she is and her genre of music.against the darkbackground.
Q magazineThe front cover of Q magazine always has the masthead “Q”, this helps them to berecognizable and identifiable because it is part of their brand identity as it is their logo. Themasthead is aligned to the left third of the page, this is so that the logo is recognized easilyon a magazine shelf. The bright red used for the logo helps attract attention as it’s both eye-catching and bold. The use of the red on the front covers connotes passion in some cases –such as on the Cheryl Cole cover, the idea that she “rocks” is written in red so as to connotethat passion she has for music.The logo take sup a significant amount of the page – this helps create the brand “Qmagazine” and helps it to be recognizable.Q magazine uses white, black and red for the house style on the front cover, these coloursattract attention and can be easily put together – making it easier to create a consistenthouse style.Q magazine aligns its cover lines to the left third – the dominant side of the page – most ofthe cover lines are aligned this way so that (as with the masthead) they can attractattention in a shop. Typically the image is a close up of a solo artist on the front cover butsometimes this convention is broken and several artists are on the front cover.Q magazine appears to have a fairly cluttered layout – this is perhaps unconventional for it’starget audience. This is because the use of the “busy” layout often attracts youngeraudiences because they are likely to want to read shorter features rather than longer and indepth features such as you might read in Rolling Stone for example. However, the targetaudience of Q is 18 – 35 year olds so this cluttered layout is very unconventional. However, itstill attracts the target audience because of the content advertised on the front cover. Also,the use of the black band across the top of the front cover “The UK’s biggest musicmagazine” makes the magazine appeal to the older target audience because even withthe cluttered layout the black attracts more mature and serious people, as black connotesformality. It also connotes neutrality which links in with the brand image of Q magazine. It is afairly neutral magazine which follows popular music as well as other types of music. Thisneutrality helps it to be a successful magazine as it appeals to a mass audience.The language used attracts the audience because it talks to them, for example “the 10best…” which draws the audience in so they want to read the magazine. It has the names ofartists featured in the magazine on the front cover, this way potential readers will be morelikely to buy the magazine if the name of an artist they like is on the front.
The house style is consistent on the In the top right hand corner Qcontents page as well; the logo is in magazine put the issuethe top left corner so it it the first number and the date – as thething the reader sees reminding magazine is issued monthlythem it’s Q magazine. The they only put the month. Theyred, black and white colour scheme use a long shot of a bandis again used. This helps the featured in this issue. This takesmagazine to be both identifiable up a significant amount of theand recognizable helping to create page – this large image is useda brand identity. so that the contents page isThe black bar at the top is similar to not just text, the use of anthat on the front cover – making it image makes it much moreconsistent. This gives the page a title interesting. The use of imagesand it’s clear that it’s the contents helps the readers to recognizepage. perhaps less well-knownThis black spread is followed by two artists, and this in turn helps tored stripes to separate and order the sell the magazine becausecontents page. This helps to make people are more likely to readthe page clear and the reader finds the magazine if they know theit easier to find the page they want. artists featured. Q magazineQ magazine puts the page also puts the page referencesreference before the title of the on the bottom of thefeature – this is conventional as then images, this is conventionalthe contents is ordered. They use and helps readers to knowsmall stand firsts after the titles so where those stories are.that the reader knows a brief Q magazine include a lot ofsummary of what the story is about. reviews – this is displayed withHowever it doesn’t reveal a lot a small section of contentsabout the story but enough to page. This clearly shows allengage the audience. their reviews and uses theAnother long shot image is used in same header used for thethe review section, so it seems whole contents page, keepingconventional in Q magazine to use with the style and showinglong shots on the contents page. that reviews are an importantOverall, the contents page is fairly part of Q magazine.ordered, and is consistent with thehouse style of Q magazine.
This is a double page spread featured in Q magazine uses many conventional features of double page spreads in musicmagazines. It uses a close up which takes up one of the pages, this massive focus on the image is very typical of musicmagazines – particularly pop genre magazines that focus on solo artists. It uses a black and white image – this is perhapsto make the focus on the artists face and the prop of the chains around her neck more prominent rather than the colourof her flesh. The black and white image also helps in making the “L” across the body text much bolder and more eyecatching. This is a convention of Q magazine, for their features they use the first letter of the artists name across the bodytext in red. This helps them have a particular style that other magazines of the same genre won’t have so it makes themindividual. It also helps appeal to a wider audience – older people are more likely to like the simplicity of black and whitephotography and people interested in editing or photography are also going to find this appealing.This feature is fairly different to other styles seen in Billboard and Rolling Stone, this makes Q magazine have a veryparticular style which readers recognize. This feature uses a simple whit background and black serif text, this appeals to amore mature audience. The body text is written in three columns – this helps the article to be cleaner as this way it’smuch cleaner to read.The layout of this double page spread is very ordered, the use of the columns helps to keep it ordered. It is ordered sothat the readers can simply read the body text without their attention being drawn away to other things. This magazine isaimed at people who are interested in music – they want the information and that is all, so the magazine tries to appealto them by using clear and ordered page layouts. However, in order to make sure the article isn’t boring a large letter ina bold red is used. Red connotes passion, this shows the passion the artist has for their music but also helps to keep thereader interested. Also, the colour scheme white, black and red continues to keep the consistent house style of Qmagazine. The name of the artist is in the top left corner, it is also in a simple black and is serif, this type of font helps the body text to flow together much better. Two kickers are used to start off new parts of the feature, this helps to keep the reader interested and it helps to guide them through the article. This is often needed because with such a massive amount of body text it needs more than just columns to separate it because otherwise the reader looks at the whole article tediously. The reader needs to be kept interested and through the layout, use of kickers and very little colour this is achieved. Also, the huge whole-page image also helps to balance the ratio of text to image, so the reader can read the feature without feeling overwhelmed with text.