In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? We have followed generic conventions when creating our magazines. Firstly, we chose a signature colour scheme for each edition which we would maintain throughout and would be a way of identifying each particular edition. For example, the March edition followed a red colour scheme where as April had a baby blue scheme. We decided on certain things that would follow the conventions of other magazines, in particular the ones we looked at in our radial analysis of existing magazines. For example, the title is the same font in the same position with a distinctive line underneath again in the chosen colour; also the main image overlaps the title as we have previously seen in magazines such as ‘Vibe’ and ‘Q’. We included within the barcode: the date, issues number and price again in the same place in each edition. Next we thought about layout and how one image took up the majority of the page therefore leading us to decide against including other images as we thought it would look a lot more professional. Also, we thought about individual features that we could include on the front cover such as a masthead reading ‘The UK’s Biggest Selling Music Magazine’ and names at the bottom of the cover showing other featured artists. We thought that the contents should be the most similar in terms of style as we thought it was important that we give the audience something to identify the magazine by. For example, we did this by having identical titles for ‘contents’ which were unique in themselves by the way we presented them on the page, not following typical conventions of simple titles but being laid out both horizontal and vertical being a lot more creative. To give the magazine its own personal touch we chose to include the magazine title in the same font at the top of the page which is a running feature throughout the magazine in all editions, as well as having a much larger faded version of the title in the background; this again follows the individual edition’s colour scheme. In terms of layout, we followed the same features on the page for each edition however slightly varied to give each more individuality. These features included a review with an album cover and rating and a regular’s column both in the same place in each edition. We kept all fonts on the contents page the same however, had to alter the sizes and adjust certain things such as adding in glows/shadows that made certain bits of text easier to read. For our double spread, we both chose one main image to one half of the double spread- we thought that this would be the main attraction to the target audience then having the text on the opposite side. Similarly, we added a ‘drop shadow’ effect to each image as well as placing the images on similar backgrounds. These both look very clean cut and professional looking. We again followed typical magazine conventions by including a quote at the top of the page; having our first paragraphs in bold with the first letter oversized; we kept the styling of the page numbers the same as well as again adding in a copy of the magazine name in the trademark font; we neatly structured our text in columns; included a section of text reading “Words by… & Photos by…”; we made sure that the biggest piece of text on the page was the artists name followed by the strap line. We tried to include anchorage by linking the text to the image in some way. For example, one edition featured a strap line reading ‘My Kingdom’ and to follow this, the main image features the artist posing in a way that could represent superiority and control. Also this double spread features other image variations of the same image at a smaller scale which could represent that it is all about him. Lastly, we wanted to make the images really stand out so we went with a textured black and white background that puts emphasis on the images as well as creating a ‘photo shoot’ environment.
Same title style throughout
One particular colour scheme
Main image overlapping title
Artists name and strap line below in smaller font
Other artists featured at the side & bottom
Other features included at sides
Barcode inc. issue number, price and date.
Line under the magazine name – trademark feature.
Analysis of Front Covers – Typical Magazine Conventions
Images of featured artists
Dominating list of features
Review of a new album with CD cover image and text as well as a rating
Trademark magazine title included
Contents titles are same- running theme throughout
Page numbers linking to images
Continued colour scheme
Analysis of Contents Pages – Typical Magazine Conventions
Inclusion of a quote
Bold artist title with smaller strap line
Clear defining main image
Article neatly laid out in columns
First paragraph in bold
Accentuated first letter
People associated with creation of article –E.g. words & photos
Analysis of Double Spread Pages – Typical Magazine Conventions
How does your media product represent particular social groups? Our chosen target audience was males aged around 14-25. We did a number of things to ensure that the magazine represented this and ultimately appealed to this particular group. Firstly, out main image choice was made on the basis of what we believe our target audience liked and listen to. One ‘artist’ was very indie and cool where as another was a good representative of a popular R&B artist. Also the other artists we featured on the front cover and contents related to this kind of genre of music. The images are specifically modelled in a way that we think appeals to our target audience in that they can act as role models and people that our target audience would look up to. For example, one appears very cool and composed whereas another comes across as quite inspirational and hard-working. Another reason we chose to only include one image per front cover is because we feel this is most appropriate for males as when other images are featured it can come across as quite messy and unprofessional. Overall, we think that the covers come across as very sleek and cool- perfect for our target audience. As we have quite a wide age range in our target audience, we needed to find the right balance for appealing to mature 20 year olds to adolescent teenagers. Therefore, the contents pages are well structured however, have a certain twist that would appeal our audience as an age group. For example, we included features that we believe would particularly appeal to our target age group such as an album review firstly because this was quite common request from our questionnaire we conducted to feature the latest/current music reviews. We also used font to appeal/represent our target audience. For example, the contents title is bold and edgy. For the main text the font is still bold which differs from other magazines which traditionally use a simple ‘Times New Roman’ font. We decided to lay the text out so that the heading of each section stands out clearly and grabs the readers attention then they have the choice to read on in order to find out more detail. It is quite difficult to appeal to a younger audience therefore we thought it was important that we used language to engage with them. For example, we used colloquial language instead of formal to build a relationship with the readers; this is typical in magazines of this genre that we explored. We didn’t want to make our contents page too overcrowded with information (another thing that was raised in our audience research) however we wanted to include enough features that would make the reader want to continue reading as we feel it is important that the contents acts as the foundation for the whole magazine. This is why we included a balance of images and text including a range of features, regulars, artists featured and an album review. For the double page spreads, we carefully considered the layout and image choice. Also we wanted the artists to be a role model for our readers so we had to represent them in a positive light. For example, it is noticeable how both double spreads come across as very clean-cut and attention grabbing. We used medium shots for the artists, by doing this it shows both the artists’ overall style as well as a clear view of their face. We think this is important as the reader gets a good perspective of the artists’ style without being too far away that it feels impersonal as we want the reader to feel like they can connect with the artist. In terms of language, we looked at other articles from similar magazines that featured artists in which we could relate to in our own work. The style we used would be considered very typical of this magazine genre which we thought was most important as then it would appeal to our target audience. Once we chose our final images (making our choices based on their appeal factor as well as if they would link well with the title, sub-heading, text etc) we began editing them adjusting factors such as hue, brightness, contract, shadows etc. We used different effects for different artists varying the saturation. For example, one artists is more ‘indie’ based therefore the colour scheme was more bland using more neutral colours where the other artist who Is ‘R&B’ based uses a higher saturation level appearing more vivid.
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? Although our magazine contains features that can be found in other typical music magazines like ‘NME’, ‘VIBE’ and ‘Q’, we think there is a gap in the market for our genre of magazine. Ours is predominately based on chart music encompassing elements of Pop, R&B, Indie and Hip-Hop which we feel would appeal to a mass market. The institution that distributes the magazine would be a small, local business to help get the magazine started then as the magazine became more established, we would think about expanding internationally. There could also be an online- format as this would be extremely appropriate given that our target audience is males aged 14-25. It would be a profit-driven exercise however, this does not change the fact we still think there should be this type of magazine on the market that is accessible to people. A possible distributor for our magazine could be ‘Frontline’ because they are a well established and respected company who haven’t yet got any type of music magazine let alone a chart dominated one. Other magazines that they are responsible for include ‘Radio Times’, ‘Heat’, ‘Match of the Day’ and ‘Doctor Who’. All of their magazines cover a wide range of audiences yet one they have not yet got is a Music based magazine targeted at young males. Their mission statement is ‘To give each and every copy the maximum opportunity of being sold, for the lowest practical cost.’ We also think that the BBC would be a suitable publisher as they to are a well respected establishment in the media industry. A chart music magazine would be most appropriate for them as they have a history of offering niche magazines across all types of categories.
Who would be the audience for your media product? Target Audience: Males aged 14-25 According to Graeme Burton’s Audience Theory, audiences can be grouped in two ways- socially grouped and media grouped. Ours is socially grouped as it targets audience’s based on their age and gender. When looking at the social grade classification model, we think that our magazine fits into the ABC1 category. Many of the males in this category will be working class whom are stereotypically interested in this certain type of music. Of course there will still be exceptions, for example, some older people or females may take an interest in our magazines. When looking back on our questionnaire and interview results, we followed some aspects of them but went against them in other areas. For example, one of our participants pointed out that we shouldn’t place the main image over the title on the front cover however, we decided against this and went ahead with it as we felt it looked more professional and is a common technique in magazine design. We also felt that our decision would appeal to the masses even if it didn’t appeal to everybody in the group of participants we asked. We followed our target audience’s opinion of having an even balance of images and text as well as if they prefer action shots as opposed to stationary.
How did you attract/address your audience? Richard Dyer states that people will respond to a media text if it offers them compensation for the inadequacies in their lives. In particular our magazine will solve the inadequacy of boredom with excitement. Blumier and Katz suggested in the 1970s that media audiences make active choices about what to consume in order to meet certain needs. In our own work we feel that we will fulfil the need to inform and educate the public by giving the latest news and opinions on current music topics. Also, the need to be entertained will be fulfilled as our product feature exciting stories, interactive offers and perhaps a splash of comedy via jokes etc. We thought about a range of specific things that we could include to attract our target audience. This ranged from colour choice to artist selection.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? Throughout the project, we used two types of software for all editing and designing purposes. We used Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 and Macromedia Fireworks MX 2004. We used two because this allowed us to broaden what we were able to do and expanded the amount of resources we had access to. For example, we would use Photoshop for cutting images and fireworks for text effects and construction. Also, to quickly edit some photos after they were taken, Windows Picture Editor was used to adjust lighting, saturation, brightness, contrast and hue. For the photographs, two cameras were used for each shoot, these were both relatively standard digital cameras however the alterations that were later added made them appear a lot more profession than first of all giving a strong outcome. The cameras that were used were ‘Olympus Tough 3000’ and ‘Nikon Coolpix S Series’ When editing the photos, we took time and effort to make sure they were as high quality as possible with smooth edges. For example, when cutting an image (using the ‘magic wand tool’) of its background, a lot of concentration would be put in to making sure the outcome was as good as possible. Then other features such as a ‘blur tool’ allowed us to give a smooth finishing touch. In Fireworks, we used the ‘drop shadow tool’ and ‘glow tool’ as well experimenting with different intensities. For the front covers, we both placed cut out images in front of different backgrounds. One was in front of a New York background which had to be put in black and white so the whole cover tied in, whereas another used a spotlight effect background to enhance the main image. The contents pages took the most editing, needing a lot of changes to the layout. The title had to be cut and repositioned making sure they were perfectly in line; the magazine title in the far background needed rotation as did the trademark logo. Effectively, the longest thing on the contents was finding the right sizes for the text as well - whether they would need glows, shadows, colour fills etc. in order to be seen. For the double page spreads, we first experimented with different gradients for the background which would give the magazine a real sense of professionalism. This took quite a while until we found the right balance we were looking for. Also, the text had to be positioned around the images still in line and looking neat. In one double page spread, the main artist overlaps the two pages as well as having 4 miniature sized images on him in black and white on the next page; this took a while until it looked sharp and slick. We decided to use columns in the double page spread as they were more realistic of a magazine and suited the layout of the images; this sometimes proved hard as you have to re-arrange all your text if you went back and re-wrote something. Front cover in production Most used toolbars- showing the two crop tools (the square one cutting out perfect shapes with the lasso cutting out custom); the magic wand tool which erased certain sections; the paint bucket which allowed us to add colour fills. When adding effects such as glows, this is the section that would allow us to edit and specify exactly what we wanted such as sizes, positions, colours etc.
Analysis of Journalistic Style In typical music magazine article style, I started with a small introductory paragraph in bold. I subtly talked about who he was and what he did just letting any readers know who were unsure. I said how long he’s been around starting off with “Its been 4 years since one Jay Carter came to our attention” giving a nice smooth opening into what would be quite a lengthy article. This was typical being present in the double page spreads I analysed. I also linked back to the magazine after introducing him by pointing out he was talking “exclusively in his BASE debut” giving the magazine a much wanted boost. It is present in many articles that the opening of the main interview portion will begin with saying how the physical interview began sometimes giving an anecdote about how they begun. I chose to comment on how the artist strolled into the interview “with a combo of high street and designer gear”. I then jumped straight into the questions not wanting to add any unnecessary waffle. I started by, again, promoting the magazine in some way by insinuating the magazine was the most important thing and asking if he was “excited” about his first BASE feature implying that he should be- again typical in many magazine articles. Straight in there, I wrote “Of course, I love reading BASE but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that one day I would make the cover…”. There in less than a couple of paragraphs we have a smooth opening; a respectful introduction about who he is and what he does; a small amount of background information; promoting the magazines reputation and a beginning to the questions that would run though the whole article Through out the article, the tone is very light and on many occasions, jokes around with the artist. Also, you’ll notice how brackets are used sometimes to provide unsaid information that the readers might like/need to know. I also tried to use the style of other magazine articles by adding in anecdotes, rhetorical questions and other techniques you would typically expect to see.
I began my article with a small introduction paragraph. Having looked at previous articles in magazines and newspaper it is often a common feature that the first letter will be exaggerated in size and the entire text of the first paragraph in bold. The last sentence also states a reason as to why BASE is doing the article and what it’s about. As seen in some articles, in the opening paragraphs of an article there will often be some sort of reference to past stories of how their career began. I have copied this style and I also feel that the comment I have made after the artists speech makes the reader formulate a positive opinion of him. I have tried to make it as if the opinion formulated by the individual writer is the same as the entire BASE community. By using a short simple sentence here it is more effective and to the point. I have then gone on to talk about the artist’s previous successes and upcoming events. Although this is all entirely fictional I have thought carefully about the types of Album names and statistics that match the artists trends. Throughout this I have tried to show a positive relationship between BASE and James (the artist) by trying to show a rapport between them. The style of format I have tried to show is that BASE is commenting on the different points James makes whilst this wouldn’t happen in the conversation, it has been added in after to show BASE’s attitude towards him. The language I have used here such as “let us tell you it’s bloody good.” is an example of how I have appealed to our target audience. As it is predominantly based on young males I have not been afraid to use words like “bloody” etc as I feel that by making the text colloquial the readers will be able to relate to it easily. Analysis of Journalistic Style
Looking back at your preliminary, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? Doing our preliminary helped us in many ways. Firstly, the preliminary allowed us practise and experiment with Photoshop and Macromedia Fireworks which we later used in the final product. Also, we had a chance to get to grips with taking ‘professional’ type photography by experimenting with different angles, camera distances and lighting. The preliminary also informed us about topics that we were not 100% familiar with such as magazine layout, colour schemes and features to include. After doing our preliminary we drew up rough sketches on paper to identify practical layouts for our music magazine. We did this for our front covers, contents and double page spreads. We kept with certain features of our plan such as having the contents heading at the top and the way in which the title was laid out. On the other hand, on the double page spread we didn’t feature a column for upcoming artists- instead we just focused on the cover star. Using these formats we began creating the base for our final pages on the computer. We had to hold a photo shoot then select the best/most appropriate images for the magazine. We think that one of our main strengths is the huge improvement we have made from the preliminary to the final product- the progression is huge in terms of style and creativity. From the start we set of couple of targets that we wanted to accomplish by the finished product. These were to produce a magazine that appeared to have professional qualities which wouldn’t look out of place in a shop. Also we wanted our magazine to fit into the market of chart based magazines following other magazines example yet having our own unique style. Secondly, we wanted to make sure there as a running theme with all issues yet wanting each one to stand out in its own individual way. For example, both contents pages follow the same style and layout yet can be easily set apart as well as having their own colour scheme .
Looking back at your preliminary, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? Some things we knew from the start and kept up all the way to completing our magazines such as having a dominant colour scheme and defining logo. However, we feel have learnt a lot in the progression from the preliminary to the final product. First of all, the quality of images has vastly improved with us now knowing how to properly edit and use pictures that will really have an impact on the reader, not just random pictures with no depth. They appear a lot professional as in the preliminary, half of another students head can be seen in main image which doesn’t come across as very meaningful however in the final covers, we knew to completely alter pictures to fit the readers needs. We had to isolate the images from their original backgrounds and place them on a more suitable background. Text is important on a front cover however there is a lack of it in the preliminary only reading ‘be remarkable’ which makes no sense by itself. On the front covers, we found just the right balance of text and images without overcrowding yet still remaining appealing to our target audience. We are also a lot more aware of the different effects we could use enhancing the creativity such as glows, shadows, rotations, alignment and colour fills. In terms of colour, we made sure that our text was readable all the while still fitting in with the colour scheme- something that we failed to do in our preliminary as the one bit of text isn’t even legible.
Our preliminary was very basic as it didn’t have much text and only one image. It is clear again that the layout and positioning of text has not been properly thought through as the page numbers can look shabby randomly overlapping the green- this is something we improved in the final contents putting a lot of thought into layout needing to make many changes over the course of the project. The image hasn’t been edited in the preliminary but it is clear we have taken time and used a range of effects in the final. We thought it was important that all the text tie in with each other in some way however in the preliminary, the title is a completely random font. In the preliminary there is loads of blank space however we took care of this in our final by adding backgrounds and adding information to insure that no space was left completely blank. Again, the border looks as if it has been randomly placed on the page and doesn’t even fully run up the left hand side making it look out of place or unfinished. In our final, we made the title so it fit perfectly against the edges fitting together in the perfect place.