1. In what way does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Title I chose to use a very simple font (Masterplan) for the title that is big, bold and easy to read- this would make it stand out off the shelf for the reader. This is a convention that successful magazines use, e.g.. ‘KERRANG’ and ‘NME’, which is decided to use it. I chose the name ‘UNPLUGGED’ because it sounds like jargon specific to the world of music, thus having a degree of appropriateness. Also, it also implies a level of closeness with the reader- ‘unplugged’- there’s a relationship with the reader to know them well enough to unplug the amp, guitar, etc.
Barcode A barcode on the front cover of a magazine is another typical convention that I’ve used, as they’re necessary for the magazine to be sold. Furthermore, I’ve followed the convention of placing the barcode in the bottom right of the front cover, as a lot of magazines do this- I have a couple of examples here to demonstrate this.
Main article I’ve used the convention of advertising the main article on the front cover, and doing so in a way that makes it stand out. I’ve used Arial in bold italic, then I used a stroke on the text to make it further stand out from the background image Kerrang have used a very large font, that takes up almost a quarter of the page. The text is in a contrasting colour to the background, which makes it stand out further. It’s been put on a slight tilt, which just makes it stand out that little bit more.
Brand Recognition This is another convention I’ve followed- the magazine has recognised that they have a dedicated audience, so it doesn’t matter if the model on the front cover is in front of the title of the magazine, as they’ll likely know it. It more often happens with more successful magazines.
Date and Issue number This is a convention that nearly all magazines follow, as it informs the reader of when the magazine was released, and what issue no. It is- if the reader is a close follower of the magazine, it gives them a reference to use if they want to order a previous issue. Hear you can see on the NME contents page the date that it was issued.
Sub Headings I’ve used sub-headings within the contents page, to divide up the contents of the magazine into different sections, ‘News’, ‘Radar’, ‘Live!’ and ‘Features’. This makes it clearer to the reader what is what within the magazine. This is a convention that all magazines use, e.g. NME below.
Text overlaying main article image I have included text on top of the main image for my article, and its in a bold font (Impact) and in a contrasting colour to the background colour of the image it make it stand out further This is a technique that nearly all magazines use, e.g.. the copy of NME below. However, they often use this for the title of the article. I, however, clearly haven’t.
Captions I’ve included captions with the images in the article for my magazine. I’ve done this because the captions explain to the reader what is happening in the picture, just in case they don’t understand the context of it. Again, all magazines use this convention, as demonstrated with the NME double page spread.
How Conventions are Challenged Firstly, I’ve used a black and white image for my front cover, which is very rarely seen in magazines. This is because it’s very risky, but I feel that it works in my case. Also, I’ve used a female model- there are far more male models used on magazines than female.
Not including small pictures on the front page A lot of the time, magazines incorporate smaller pictures onto the front cover, to advertise what’s inside the magazine- however I haven’t. In choosing not to, it looks a lot simpler and cleaner, and not as cluttered as some of the other magazines around. The main picture for the main article in the magazine. The main image for the main article is the only picture on the page- there’s a bit more text on the page than the NME front cover, but it doesn’t look like there’s too much. There are small pictures down the side of the page, where they won't take the attention away from the main picture, to tell the reader what’s going to be inside the magazine.
2. How does your media product represent particular social groups? I’ve represented a female teenaged audience within the magazine. I've done this by using a model that is within the age range of the target audience, and by featuring musical acts such as Pixie Lott- the genre of my magazine is pop, and this is the type of singer the readership would want to read about, being a similar age to her (Pixie Lott is 19 years old). Also, she’s very attractive and white, and possibly middle-class – all of these factors result in a more specified image of female girls.
3. What Kind of Media Institution might distribute your media product and why? My magazine is similar in certain ways to NME, and the company that produces NME magazine has been IPC Media since 1963, so perhaps they could be the company that would distribute my magazine. The fact that they produce over 80 magazines suggests that they could successfully do the same with mine. Also, IPC media are part of Tine Warner, which is an example of horizontal integration, as the act on the front of the magazine could be signed up by Warner Music group, or her music could be played on Warner’s radio channels, or she could be shown on their TV channels. The type of institution that could distribute mu magazine would be the likes of WHSmith. They sell a large variety of magazines in store, and even offer subscriptions for more established magazines on their website . There are quite a lot of pop magazines, such as Clash, which is why I think they’d be a good retailer for my media product.
4. What would be the audience for your media product? I think the target audience for my magazine would definitely be teenagers, and maybe teenaged girls to be a bit more specific- the model featured on the front cover of a magazine is often an indication as to who the target audience for the magazine will be. This is because the model is used to draw the audience in so they have to be the appropriate one for the targeted audience. The fact that every person on the front cover is a young man is a strong hint that the readership will be teenagers and young men.
Double page spread subject Take That, the group that I decided to base my double page spread on, have a very female-based fan base (although that’s not to say that all the fans are female!). By choosing to do my double page spread on Take That, I’ve indicated that I’m aiming for my magazine’s target readership to be young, teenaged girls.
5. How did you attract/address your audience? I used a very clear and consistent colour scheme- black, white and green (the colour used for the backgrounds on the slides). Some magazines use up to five colours with their colour scheme, which makes the magazine look very busy, almost confused in some cases. I used fewer colours to prevent this from occurring. My magazine front cover is much more like this copy of Clash,- only three colours are used, black, white and an accent colour. This copy of NME uses red, white, black, yellow and green for its colour scheme. It looks a bit vulgar in my opinion.
Tone of voice used in article I’ve used an informal tone of voice within the Editor’s article. I’ve done this by including dialect, e.g.. is down right fab!’- in Standard English that would be along the lines of ‘absolutely fabulous!’. Also, use the word ‘hey’, which isn’t so much of a word as a vocal effect, which you find in speech- this article is attempting to create the illusion of a conversation between myself, as the writer, and the reader. Also, direct-address is used with a rhetorical question in the first line. All of this makes the piece much more interesting as appose to a very formal piece of writing.
6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? Before the preliminary task, I hadn’t used Photoshop before, so I’ve leant a lot as I’ve produced my coursework. I feel that my Photoshop skills have improved greatly, and I feel much more confident using it. In the process of producing my media product, I’ve learnt just how important Photoshop is for creating a magazine. Was able to experiment with different effects- effects like bevels and strokes really added to the visual effect of my magazine. Also, the black and white effect on the picture of my model on the front cover really sets my magazine apart from most.
For example, I had never used any of the adjustments in Photoshop, such as exposure or black & white, before doing my coursework. Below you can see a ‘before and after’ as it were, where I’ve used the adjustments exposure and black & white on an image. Also, I had never used tools like the magic wand tool, which I used with the below example to get rid of the background- by having a white background in the image, it makes the subject of the image stand out more. The icon for the magic wand tool on the toolbar
I used a SLR camera to take the pictures of the model that are on the front cover and contents pages. By using a SLR camera rather than a digital camera, I got a much higher quality picture, especially with the mid-close up. I used a digital camera for the pictures of the concert on the contents page and double page spread. I don’t own a SLR camera, which is why I took the pictures using a digital camera, but because they’re taken from a distance and the light isn’t fantastic, the difference in quality if a SLR was used wouldn’t be huge (unlike the mid-close up of the model).
7. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? I learnt to use a simple bold text for the title of the magazine, to make it stand out. The one I used for my prelim didn’t stand out enough. I had a chance to experiment with several layer styles, like strokes and bevels. I learnt just how important the model on the front cover is- I used all sorts of effects on the image on the front cover of my prelim, whereas I kept it very simple with my coursework- less is more, to an extent. I learnt to have a minimal amount of text on the front cover, advertising what was inside the magazine- if I put too much on, then I could make it look boring and the magazine wouldn’t look appealing.
I used captions on the images on the images on the contents page- I learnt from this mistake when it came to the coursework, because theses images are only introductory ones for the articles to come- captions are used on the images in the articles. A contents page obviously needs a visual element to it, but in my prelim the page was dominated by the images, and the images looked squashed onto the page. I applied a more professional look to my coursework page. Having a clear colour scheme adds to the magazine’s appeal, in my coursework I’ve chosen to use black/white/green. my prelim used al lot of different colours, and it almost looked confused for this reason.