Project brief Print Preliminary exercise: using DTP and an image manipulation program, produce the front page of a new school/college magazine, featuring a photograph of a student in medium close-up plus some appropriately laid-out text and a masthead. Additionally candidates must produce a DTP mock-up of the layout of the contents page to demonstrate their grasp of the program. Main task: the front page, contents and double page spread of a new music magazine (if done as a group task, each member of the group to produce an individual edition of the magazine, following the same house style). Maximum four members to a group. All images and text used must be original, produced by the candidate(s), minimum of FOUR images per candidate.
Response to Brief The brief I wish to complete is Print. I wish to complete this as I feel that it appeals to concepts and ideas that I find interesting and wish to explore this area. Print is also a medium which is visible in modern day society multiple times daily, this increases the appeal of the brief as it is very relevant to the world that we live in. Some of the areas that I feel appeal to me from the brief are being able to create my own images and using them. I also enjoy the idea of having a set structure that is possible to manipulate in order to create a unique final product. As well as this the principle of trial and error that I will be able to use is very attractive as I feel it will help to make the final product as good as it possibly can be. To build on this I am a keen photographer and there for look forward to transferring and furthering skills that conform to both my print projects needs and also to the necessary requirements of the brief.
Preliminary Task For my preliminary task I was asked to create the front cover of a school magazine. By doing this it will give me an insight into how you produce covers to a decent standard as well as giving me practice in photoshop. The software that I will be using to produce my main magazine with. This will be beneficial as I have very minimal experience with this technology so far.
This is the original image that I used for my front cover. I had to edit it to make it more suitable for a front cover. I gave it a far tighter crop making it better for front covers and I then sharpened the image to give it more depth. In reflection I should have used a higher ‘f-stop’ on the camera to achieve a greater depth of field.
I added in fairly basic features that I thought may be present in a school magazine. I feel that the front cover works to some degree however is very simplistic. I like the idea of keeping it simple and not over complicating things, however I feel that If I do this than the content on the front must be greatly refined in order to make the magazine look classy and not as if I have just lacked motivation to work.
Research I carried out the research for my music magazine by going to the local Newsagent and purchasing some of the existing music magazines that were on the magazine. These magazines proved to be very helpful as they gave me features that I enjoyed in magazines and that I also disliked. I hoped to harness some of the better ideas in order to replicate a similar feel in my magazine. It also helped me to make sure I did not use features that I did no think worked.
Front Cover Research I annotated some magazines in order to highlight some of the positive and negative features, and also to see if there was any correlation. Kerrang’s front cover is very cramped and has a lot going on. It crams as many features as it can on the front cover in order to entice the consumer into purchasing the magazine. It fills the space well. It also reflects the genre of rock. However I felt that it wasn’t the look I was going for as I wanted something more simple and more concise.
Front Cover Research NME has a less busy feel to the front cover however there is still a lot going on. For example the logo is partially covered by the main image, and the background of the main image is all filled with sub titles. I fell that this is more appealing for me than the kerrang magazine, however I still feel it is not concise enough.
Front Cover Research It was brought to my attention that most magazines followed a fairly strict pattern, each month when compiling the magazine front cover. The fonts were always the same size and in the same positions. And there was always a similar amount of content on the front page. This gives them continuity and creates brand recognition, this means that the setup is associated instantly with a particular magazine. This is a very powerful tool, as it means that the magazine can be noticed from further away and can draw people in to browse through the magazine and then in time entice them into buying the magazine.
Contents Page Research The contents page is broken into two Parts the top half features a full size Image, denoting that it is the main Article. The second half shows Navigation to smaller features within I like the contents page but like the front Cover I feel it is very over complicated And too busy.
Contents Page Research I really enjoy the NME’s contents page. I feel it Had a very good balance between pictures and information. I did not feel that it had been over Complicated and it feels that the soul purpose was To inform the reader of features, and then the Photos were added in in order to make it look More interesting. I believe that this is what a good Contents page should do. The fonts are varied to Give depth to the feel of the page. The pictures Are also not aligned to make it feel more creative. This engages the reader and makes them read into page. The colors' are basic However the compilation of photos makes up for this.
Double Spread Research The double spread article I chose from kerrang is a Very interesting setup as there is a juxtaposition in The image. The photo is very captivating, combined With the bright green title it makes it very good at Capturing the readers attention. The photo is studio Shot ensuring maximum quality and that the Photographer was able to manipulate the lighting in order to give a good effect for the reader. The article itself is a question and Answer based article, I really like this As I feel it gives the reader a insight Into the artist and how they function. I would very much like to incorporate This into my own article.
Content. I felt it very important that I made sure my magazine had the right type of content in it if I wanted it to appeal to the right type of consumer. For this reason I asked friends of mine that I knew were in the specific category that the rest of my consumer would be, if they could write down there top 5 features that they thought the magazine should have, these are the things that came up on their lists the most. Question and answers within articles Popular artists Freebies Good photos Reviews Product tests An element of fashion Minimal adverts Potential discounts on albums or gigs.
The fact that many people had put fashion amongst some of the features made me think that I needed a more clear idea of what some of my consumers would look like, so I went about finding what they would look like. I found photos of my friends that I knew would follow the magazine and used there idea of fashion to base the image on.
Fashions and Style of Followers
Magazine title in specially manipulated graphic on Photoshop to give edgy feel. Studio shot photo manipulated creatively and technically in Photoshop. Strapline Band title also manipulated to recreate trademark band font. Well known bands to draw in readers Promotions Barcode and issue numbers
Main Feature The main feature of my music magazine is the double page spread article of new breakthrough act ‘get jacked’. They are a band that I created for the purpose of the magazine to fit the genre and image that goes with both the genre and the magazine. The photo on the front depicts both band members therefore gathering the most attention on the page. However below this there are lists in which other features are shown.
Clear display Four of the main features are displayed through images. Other features displayed through typography
Contents Page Features I found in my research that it was vital that the contents page main purpose was navigation and for that reason I felt it was crucial that it was easy to use. For this reason alone I created something that does just what it is suppose to. However at the same time I feel I have made it look stylish and tasteful.
Double Page Spread The image for the double page spread I took in the studio that they would record in. I wanted to try and capture the duo working and being properly involved in their music. I tried to create the image so that it felt as if the camera was not in the room however they were still being observed.
Article The article I came up with by creating the false identity of the group in order to write some information about them, however for the question and answer section I asked them to try and pretend they were actual musicians and have them answer the questions like that in hope to try and get something that sounded realistic. I believe that doing this helped as they really got into their characters. I feel that the end result is something far more believable than that of an article that I would have produced if I had just sat down and made up answers to my own questions.
Image Editing and Manipulation Many of the images I used throughout the production of my project, I didn’t feel were quite right in one or more aspects. For this reason several of the images were changed using a variety of software. I predominantly used Adobe Photoshop, however when I was looking to do something very basic with little creative flare I used the more basic editing software on apple Mac computers ‘Iphoto’
You can see here the original image on the left has changed quite considerably. The first thing I did is analyze what I felt had to change if I was to use this image for the front cover. I decided that it needed a far tighter crop, that is was a bit out of focus, and that the difference in heights could cause a potential problem if it was to conform with the rule of thirds. I set about the photo by cropping it first. I then sharpened it using a few methods on Photoshop. Then I cut out the boy on the right and leveled up on there height. I then realized the shadows did not conform. So I had to replicate the shadows using the burn tool. I then exposed and under exposed certain areas in order to give a good textured effect.
This image here that is featured on the contents page I really liked however it is clearly under exposed. Luckily the photographs were all taken in RAW format as I knew I may want to edit them in detail. Thanks to this shooting method I was able to get good exposure levels whilst also not compromising the quality or noise levels in the photo.
This photo also on the contents page I felt needed a crop in order to give it more purpose. It is a very simple editing strategy that I feel makes a large difference to the photograph.
Double Page Spread For the double page spread I wanted to use a slight twist on the classic format that most music magazines uphold. I wanted the same image running through both of the pages with the article on top of the bottom half of the image. I thought that this would make for good reading whilst also remaining stylish. For this reason the image and the font were very important for me as they run over each other, therefore it was paramount for me that they do not collide with each other, nor blend in so it is hard to differentiate image from text.
Double Spread Image. I was lucky in the fact that apart from a simple crop that I carried out on ‘Iphoto’, my one main image that I used in my double spread needed no editing. I feel that this is because I spent a long time setting up the shots and the camera settings. I used two constant lights to ensure good exposure levels and spent a considerable time trying out different shutter speeds and apertures. At first I also changed the iso on the camera to get a different effect however when I found that it compromised the quality of the images I kept it at a constant 200.
Fonts and Texts The fonts that I used throughout the whole project where something that I was especially particular about. I wanted fonts that were effective and classy as It was brought to my attention on several occasions that the wrong font looks not only out of place but also cheap as well. For this reason I spent extensive time on dafont.com an online font data base where you can download and use different fonts for free. The site was very helpful to me as it enabled me to make sure that no corners had been cut when it came to finding fonts that worked just right for my project.
Language I was confident that I had a good idea what sort of language should be used throughout the magazine however to ensure that this was the case I asked my friends what they thought it should sound like. They all agreed that in a magazine that’s genre is aimed only at the younger generation that there was no point in over elaborating the language as nobody would appreciate it. Instead I used a informal tone that I hoped would help to connect with the reader.
Masthead I didn’t want to put in a particularly special mast head as I was looking at several different magazines mast heads and I felt they were very ‘cheesy’ and I felt that it wasn’t the sort of vibe I was aiming for. However I felt despite this I had to find a compromise as it can be a very popular feature for some people. I settled with the masthead shown below and I feel combined with the font and the font color it works very effectively.
Contact sheets I have several contact sheets from all of the various shoots I did both for my preliminary task and also for my main production.
Front cover contact
Double Page spread contacts
Contact shoot 1
Contact shoot 2 None of the photos from this shoot ended up making it into the final production. I think this was down to lack of planning
Contact shoot 3
Planning I did not feel that planning was something of huge importance as I found lots of my work and ideas would change depending on what my consumers thought. However in terms of ensuring things were done I wanted to make sure I had the equipment ready so that I could ensure I had all the components ready to work. Luckily I own a Nikon D3000 SLR camera which I was able to use in all of my shoots. The school has a photographic studio which I harnessed full use of using the lights and other equipment such as the adobe creative suite package on the schools computers.
Photoshop To construct my magazine I used Adobe’s Photoshop CS5. This is a very elaborate and extensive program that enables you to manipulate images in such way that you can change nearly every aspect about them. The program is especially good at manipulating photos taken in the ‘RAW’ format. It allows you to get the correct exposure and also to change certain colors and the amount of noise. I am yet to see another program that can do some of these highly advanced techniques.
Printing Whilst midway through my construction process it was brought to my attention that sometimes images that have been printed look different to how they look on the computer. This is something I felt very strongly about as I felt that as I had spent so long perfecting my images I did not want all that work to be lost when I printed the images. I then set out printing the images using a host of different settings and papers. I eventually settled on using epson premium semi-gloss paper. The print setting I chose was quality rather than speed. I found this gave the prints a warmer less noisy feel to them.
How well does your production compare with existing media texts? What did you find problematic in making the text and how did you overcome these problems? I feel very strongly about the fact that my magazine is like no other that is currently on the market. I feel that I have plugged a gap that is currently on the market. For this reason I believe a similar magazine would do very well as there is a need for this type of magazine from people of my generation.
What have I learned? From making my magazine I have learned several things. I think that the most important thing that I have learnt overall is that analyzing other peoples work and picking out things that you think work and don’t work is crucial as by doing this you can take all the strong points out and begin to develop ways by which you can incorporate these things into your own magazine. The other thing that was crucial to me was just sitting down with friends and asking them what they enjoyed (if anything) of my magazine. By doing this I managed to keep on track and hopefully to keep relevant to my target audience. I also felt that it is crucial to spend a decent amount of time both taking and editing your images as by doing this you can achieve really good work that people are interested to look at. If you do not have good images then there is not a very strong hook for the reader to pick up and then purchase your product. This is proven as the first thing any one looks at is the image on the front cover.