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  • 1. Evaluation
    Michael Foster
  • 2. Front Cover
    I am overall pleased with the outcome of my front cover. What I think works best about it is it’s simplicity and layout. I firstly thought about the picture on my front cover, I needed to present something that would make it look like whoever was on the cover meant business and really fitted in with the point of my splash. Additionally I decided to make it simple and bold because the picture takes over the page intentionally and I didn’t want text other than the masthead to take over this. The point of another edition to any magazine each week/month is that it is conventionally different to the last one so why not make this edition more involved in the main feature in the magazine. People can find out other news inside the magazine, so I think the “lack” of information given could be a good thing.
  • 3. Contents page
    I struggled to make my contents page compared to my double page spread and front cover. I found it more of a challenge because the layout of the contents page makes or breaks the look of it. I had to research a lot more on contents pages and pay particular attention to what is a vital part of the page and what isn’t. For example, I found that a conventional look is best with plenty of information on parts of the page but also to keep some of the page more simple. This is obvious to see on my page, I have used the picture and a small amount of quoted text on around two-thirds of the page so it will be the first thing to capture the readers eye, I have used an unconventional yet clever technique with my photo. I have enlarged the photo so one of the band members clothing spreads over the photo barrier which gives an “off the page” rebellious effect . I have then surrounded it with the contents bar and another set of boxes that I think compliment the page. As I have explained on my blog, I have changed the contents bar to give a bit more information rather than just be a list of page numbers, it also gives the appearance of a more filled in page that isn't cramped but it looks more complete. I also decided at the start of creating my contents page to insert the front cover into an available space on my page This is a conventional method used by many professional magazines such as TopGear magazine to give a more effective look to the contents page.
  • 4. Double page spread
    My double page spread was in my opinion the easiest to make out of the three products. I conducted research like my front cover and my contents page but it took less time to come a conclusion on how I should lay it out. I looked at magazines like NME and Q magazine and found that they conventionally include a lot of text and the picture is less important but they do however, still include one in an obvious place. I have included conventional and unconventional methods in this page. For example, I have used a large masthead and other features that stand out like the introductory paragraph and the caption of writing intended to grab the readers attention. In an effort to make the pages look like they are on one page I have added a large logo in the background to show that pages can overlap the border of the page. I attempted to do this with the text as well but this meant moving the picture as well and the overall look of the page was completely different and it looked far more unprofessional.
  • 5. Question 1
    In what ways does your product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products
    My media product(s) are typical in some respects compared to conventional magazines such as Q magazine and NME. With the products I created, I tried to keep them as conventional as possible because convention is what people tend to look for in a magazine for reasons such as professionalism and identification; if the covers were differing every time a magazine was released people wouldn’t know what to look for. Additionally, this is why my products will have a similar theme throughout them. (Colour, font etc) The front cover for example, My Logo is located in the top right hand corner of my page. This is usually what professional magazines do so readers are available to look for their magazine and instantly recognise it. I aim to make it look different to other magazines because the individuality of the magazine is what will single it out from the others, but it won’t be a radical change from other magazines because most readers won’t like the look of it unless it looks extremely good.
     
    My contents page is designed with the look of the front cover in mind. Most obviously is the colour scheme, I created it with similar looking characteristics because if it differs too much it will look like part of a different magazine. I thought of adding my front cover to the page because quite a lot of magazines do this. Examples of which are the top gear magazine. I also took inspiration from other magazines such as Q and NME, not only is this because they target my audience so their layout is what attracts them, but because I like the way the pages are styled with a main feature dominating the page and other features such as a shot of my front cover, main page numbers and monthly competitions etc.
     
    My double page spread again takes convention from other magazines but I made it visually different from them in order to make my magazine unique. Firstly, I have added the pages main title but made it the most eye catching thing on the page so readers will know what the article is on about. This is a convention found in most magazines, however some magazines do choose to have a dominating photo instead but I don’t think this works with my page, this is because there is a large amount of text on there, I would find it difficult to make the main feature the photo and fit all the text on so it is readable at the same time, but I think with a smaller picture and a larger masthead it suits the page well. When I took the picture I had to keep in mind the articles story, so I took a picture of the member (that became temporarily outcast) further away from the rest of the group to show divide. However this picture differs from the front cover because that shows unity and power between all four members, I thought that having a difference between each picture was key and by making the photo similar to the story, it becomes more realistic and believable. Another conventional feature used is a small caption from the entire article which could sum up what the article is about if somebody wanted to briefly scan the page, it could leave them guessing making them want to read on or it could simply inform them of the article, either way this works for both audiences who want to read the article all the way through or only a small caption. Additionally I have noticed through researching magazines front covers, contents pages and double page spreads is that the logo is found throughout. Like in the top hand corners of the pages and at the bottom next to the page number, this is something that I have replicated on my double page spread and my other products. I tried to feature the logo in both conventional places and some areas on the page of my own. This shows recognition and it also makes the products seem a little more professionally layed out.
  • 6. Question 2
    My products will additionally be conventional terms of its theme. I have chosen an indie pop/rock theme for my products, so the people I chose to photograph were dressed appropriately along with body language and setting. When I was taking the pictures I had to represent them in different ways for each product. For example on the front cover, I needed a photo that was exerting their presence and dominance in this magazine. So I thought about the angle at which I would photograph them. I took the picture from down below them making them look deceptively taller than they actually are, not only this but they have their hands in their pockets which represents today’s society and my audiences attitude, and most teens/ young adults feel they are similar in the cases of a rebelling group of musicians which is why it could appeal to them. Additionally their body language suggests a form of dominance and superiority because of their “dramatic return”. Most indie supporters/fans are middle aged teenagers 14/15 years old up to about 25 years old if not older, so I tried to aim for this target audience, but indie is popular with a lot of groups of music fans of all ages because it includes elements of pop music and rock so it can potentially apply to more readers depending on the content. I think that the indie genre in general is a more mainstream genre than others because it always seems to be more popular, a lot of the music produced by indie groups today almost always do very well in the music charts which means that more than it’s specific target audience thinks that the songs are good, whereas most people are solidly for or against genres like rock or rap/ hip-hop which is why I chose to base my magazine around the genre of indie music in the first place.
    How does your media product represent particular social groups?
  • 7. Question 3
    Media institutions that might distribute my media products are institutions like IPC who publish large magazine names like NME, Nuts, Look, Marie Claire and 60 more types of magazine. Their magazines are mostly mainstream but a few are niche market, however as already deduced, indie music/ magazines are mainstream anyway so this is a positive factor concerning my magazine. Another way in which I could distribute my magazine is to digitally send it or to advertise/give snippets away free in shopping bags in certain stores to encourage people to read them. By digitally sending my magazine I would save time and money because otherwise it would have to be physically transported, but by using the internet it will be distributed not only for a lot less, but a lot faster so I can afford to work on it longer before I have to distribute each issue. However, I put my magazine under risk from illegally copying and distributing it for free if I put it on the internet. This is bad because it means that proper sales won’t ever come through and it means people can read content for free which wasn’t the purpose of it. Another technique I could use is to give out small captions of it in shopping centres, by distributing it in appropriate shops that are that sort of genre type, then more people are likely to pick it up and read it, become interested in the magazine and then purchase an issue or subscribe to the annual service. However this does mean either letting people read content for free, paying shops for advertisement and distribution in shopping bags and distribution to the shops in the first place, if the technique didn’t work it would prove costly because all I would achieve is wasting money, time and effort into trying to get people to try and buy the magazine.
    What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
  • 8. Question 4
    Who would the audience for your media product be?
    The audience for my product would actually be a mass market, indie is relatively main stream compared with other genres such as punk and rap. Most people don’t recognise that Indie is one of the biggest genres if not the biggest because they don’t pay that much attention to it, but magazines like NME and Q are generally Indie and a diverse range of people read it. This is practically the main reason I chose Indie, because it appeals to the masses rather than the niche markets. For example, Q magazine once published not long ago three music artists that were popular at the time; they were three very different types of artists in terms of genres. It featured Jay-Z (rapper/hip-hop artist) Dave Grohl (member of the foo-fighter which is a rock band) and Lady Gaga (pop music artist). These are three contrasting genres but they published it none the less. It still sold well because the magazine was and still is mainstream.
  • 9. Question 5
    How did you attract/address your audience?
    I attracted my target audience by using things like appealing colour schemes, layouts and pictures. Firstly, my layout needed to be in a style that suited my target audience. I researched magazines with a contemporary style like Q and NME. This is because their styles are simple but they are bold and eye catching. I studied their layout and colour schemes and I incorporated their techniques into my magazine in order to give it a professional appearance. In order to get the attention of my audience, I needed to think about what my target audience would look for in a magazine. So as already mentioned the research and studying of professional examples was key. I thought that the style of magazines such as Q and NME would continue to help my design my products because they target a similar audience. So by using a magazine I'm more familiar with I more familiar with, I can tell what's conventional, what isn’t, and therefore what aspects my magazine will need to include to attract my audience in the first place. When I created my products, the use of language and content was additionally important because my audience will want to read articles that seem familiar and in context with their “style” of life. If I wrote extremely professional writing along with long complicated words my audience may become bored and fed up with trying to understand what point I am trying to make. Therefore I had to write not in a childish way so to speak, but in a less formal manner and style so that it became something that my audience would want to read rather than have to read because it was the main story.
  • 10. Question 6
    What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product
    During the process of production, I learned about the uses of blogs and why they can be useful for progression and development. The first thing I learned was how to use blogs. Seen as I have never been on a blog or owned a blog space I didn’t know how to use them, but now I can use the basics like publishing and commenting in order to create my own blog and comment on others for example. In addition to this, I am able to use the Macromedia fireworks more efficiently than before. I could only perform basic tasks using the program before whereas now, I am moderately skilled in terms of design work and other problems that I encountered when making the products. However, publishers/ creators of professional magazines probably use the Photoshop program, so if repeat the exercise I would use Photoshop instead of fireworks because the effects and tools in the program are more complex and I could probably end up with a more aesthetically pleasing group of products.
  • 11. Question 7
    Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
    Over the course of designing my products, I feel I have learned a lot in terms of designing and communication. As early developments show on my blog, my front cover for a school magazine was awful, simple things like layout and colour schemes weren't addressed at all. I think this was because I hadn't had enough time and experience to think about what its outcome would look like. Not only this but I hadn't done much research at this point so I didn't know what people would particularly look for in a magazine. However now, I feel a lot more confident in making my own decisions to change appearances for the better on products I produce like the front cover etc. I am also able to identify conventions on magazines more easily, I could only identify such things as the logo’s position, the logo itself and the title of the magazine as a conventional feature on a magazine but now I realise that despite the fact the are in fact conventions for most magazines and always will be, I don't necessarily have to produce products with the conventionally like other magazines but it does look better if I learn from the experts and try to incorporate that into products of my own.