An Introduction. n this project I made a Front Cover, a Contents Page and a Double Page spread for an original music magazine. I decided to make my music magazine focused on the acoustic rock genre and the singer/song writer genre, while my target audience would be those between the ages of 14 and 20, and of course those who enjoy acoustic rock. had to target my audience through the use of dialogue used, in the double page spread, the type of font, dafont.com, the colours used and the photographs taken. can clarify that this is all my original work and, before you proceed with this slide show, I’d like to thank Sarah AKA “Kathy Striker” for giving up her free time.
Q1) In what ways does your media product use, develop orchallenge forms and conventions of real media products?One of the key conventions of the images involved and printed inmusic magazines, and magazines in general, is that close ups arefrequently used with the subject or artist giving direct address(eye contact) with the camera, thus creating a relationship withthe prospective buyer or audience member. As you can see withthe front cover design, I have kept to this convention as well ashaving the main image of the artist overlap the mast head of themagazine, another convention frequently seen. The fact that myfeatured artist is wearing the house style of the magazine createsa sense of familiarity with the audience, as they would havepreviously heard of this artist, however the face paint creates asense of shock, which can link to G. Burton’s theory of “thefamiliar and the unexpected” becoming successful.The colour coding used on the front cover, and throughout themagazine, is the house style which is repeated on both thecontents and the double page spread. These colours (red, whiteand black) connote a number of things individually, however thecombination is truly eye catching and, when looked at on a frontcover, it gives a professional feel to it. Repeating the house style,the magazines main colours allows my magazine to be the “samebut different”, fitting with Nick Lacey’s theory of conventions.Other simple conventions such as tag lines, bar codes and straplines are also featured. These conventions allow my magazine toseem more realistic, particularly with the bar code, and also allowit to interact with the audience, stating competitions and otherartists involved in the magazine.
Q1) Continued…Regarding the contents page of my magazine, you canclearly see the house style being continued (keeping to theconventions) however, with the main focus of this pagebeing on the single image of the artist, this breaks theconventions slightly, as we often see a main image, usuallyof the featured artist, and then smaller images of othermusicians featured. Despite this breaking the conventions,this is often used throughout the magazine industryhowever it is yet to become the typical of a contents page. Iused this single image in order to draw attention to the artistand also to relate to the audience (as my magazine wastargeted for acoustic rock and singer/song writer fans andthe image involved the artist holding a guitar, I thought thesingular image would be more striking and relevant.)Straplines and a few tag lines feature, here stating pagenumbers and other pages that aren’t mentioned in the mainbody of text. The main body of text itself, also breaksconventions as, previously stated, the contents page usuallyfeatures a lot of images and few amounts of texts, howeverthere appears to be a balance with the main image and themain body of text opposite it. I found this created aprofessional look and also prevented the page from lookingempty. In order for the text to be broken up, I createdspaces in-between the headers of the block of text and Icoloured the lines alternatively, black and white, whichallowed them to stand out from the autumn leafbackground.
Q1) Continued…The double page spread keeps to many of the conventions (different costume from the front and contents page and atleast more than three images on the page) however my placement of images almost breaks the conventions as there isnot one main image to focus on, but two, either side of the pages. Not only this, but as face paint featured prominentlyin the representation of the artist, I looked at a few examples on my blog and chose to show three smaller images ofthe artist getting ready for the shoot. This doesn’t break conventions but allows the columns of text to be broken up.You can also see the house style is continued throughout these two pages, however the colour green, from the images,is brought into it. Text grabs, the large quotes, also break up the text, again this is a convention that I keep to. At theend of the interview, smaller text is shown giving the audience information about the artist and stating her albums andEP are still available to buy, this is a convention that is frequently seen in music magazines.
Q2) How does your media product represent particularsocial groups?As the main focus for the magazine is on the artist Kathy Striker,a woman, a social group that is clearly represented is women,however I feel women are not represented poorly in mymagazine. In the images, the artist has been wearing face paint,which can connote as fun and quirky, and in the main image onthe contents page she is holding a guitar, which can connote asbeing talented. It is difficult to analyse the social group womenthat have been represented in my magazine as, the point ofacoustic rock and singer/song writers is that it is not theappearance that matters, it is about their talent.However, when looking at the contents page, is becomes clearthat there appear to be more women mentioned. This canclearly connote as women being more talented in the acousticrock genre as, in this genre, they are not treated or representedpoorly as they are in hip hop or R&B (where they are portrayedas sex objects.)Regarding the double page spread, the lighting and the floraltheme of the photo shoot can connote different things to theaudience (example: women like flowers, women are girly,women are dainty etc.) However, as the magazine is targeted atyoung people who are fans of acoustic rock, it is possible for theaudience members who know of this artist to understand thatfloral patterns is part of the artists iconography.
Q2) Continued…In the double page spread there is also the interview, which allows the audience to have an insight to the artists life. Asthe artist is a young person, a very wide social group, we can draw certain assumptions from the artist and apply it tohow people connote how young people act. The artist mentions University and life after it, as she says “I got out of Uni,with my music degree. It was a bit hectic” which could connote that young people find University stressful and areunable to cope with it. She later goes on to say “I broke up with my boyfriend and I couldn’t afford to keep the dingyflat I was in” which can connote that young people are not good at keeping a relationship or dealing with money.However, when looked at in context, it is apparent that it is only relevant to the artist as she is speaking from her ownexperience and not other peoples. Another line from her interview not only connotes how some young people act, alsohow College aged girls act “the line “Please don’t leave me, I know that sounds pathetic” was a phrase a girl said inCollege, when she was telling the girls changing room how her boyfriend dumped her” this links back to how womenand girls are represented in my product, here however shows them as being needy and, when looked at in context,gossip to others. As well as young adults being mentioned, I had to keep in mind my audience of the magazine, which ispartly, teenagers. I have used sophisticated, but understandable, language however I have also managed to keep thelanguage used fresh and interesting which would, hopefully, keep that part of my audience interested. Also, as some teenagers can be impressionable, I made sure certain values and ideas were pushed, one main example is “Education is good” this of course, would have to work with a teenager if they were interested in taking their education further and if they were at all inspired by Kathy Striker.
Q3) What kind of media institution might distribute yourmedia product?During my research on my blog, I looked into several publishers in the UK that publish music magazines, or magazines ingeneral. I looked into general music magazines first, looking at NME and Karrang! However, as I found that thesemagazines aren’t very similar to my magazine I researched and looked for a current magazine similar to my own. Here iswhere I discovered that my magazine was a Q magazine for a younger audience. As you can see below, the house style,when compared to my magazine is very similar. However, my front cover features different fonts and the colour black is more prominent than just the white and the red in Q. It also became apparent that, with Improv, my magazine, that the audience is more specific than Q’s as it is targeted to a younger audience (14 to 20) and those who enjoy acoustic rock and singer/song writers. As this more specific audience needed to be catered to, I feel that Bauer Media Group, those who publish both Q and Karrang! The fact that Bauer Music Group publishes two very different music magazines I feel that they would be better suited to distributing my magazine.
Q4) Who would be the audience for your media product?Finding my target audience was interesting as, although I had to focus on the demographics and psychographics of myprofiling, I also had to consider those did not fall within this bracket as a 40 year old man with children may be a fan ofacoustic rock and would purchase my magazine. Mainstreamers: These people dominate 40% of the Demographic Profiling My Product audience for a product; they want to belong, fit in and focus on the trends and fads that friends and other Gender This appears to be none specific members of society go through, and attempt to join however some articles would them. attract more males than females. Aspirers: This group consists of the people who aspire to There does not appear to be a be something, who want to become something great gender targeted for acoustic rock. and well known. Race Again this doesnt appear to be Reformers: These are the people who are worried about specific however more white the state of the world and want to make the world or the artists feature in the magazine area they live in a better place, these people will most than other ethnic artists, possibly likely recycle and worry majorly on the world affairs. implying that the magazine is Succeeds: This group of people are the ones who have aimed at Caucasians. already climbed the ladder and have come to a desirable Age The age range of my target position in their career or life. audience is those aged from 14 to early 20s, however there are bound to be people who do not lie within this age range. My target psychographic audience Socio-Economic Status As my age range of my target will most likely be the Mainstreamers audience features those who are however I feel that this will be joint under the age of 16 and, therefore, will be part of their with those who fall under Aspirers. parents socio-economic status, I My wider, secondary audience, will have also created a range from C2, most likely be more Aspirers and working class, to A, upper class those who fans of acoustic rock artists and music, as those people may not fall within my Demographic.
Q5) How did you attract and address your audience?Addressing my audience through text was easy as remembering to respect and apply common curtsey without soundingcondescending through text is fairly simple. As I knew the youngest members of my audience would be 14 I refrainedfrom using any swear words or unsuitable themes. You can mainly see how I did this through the dialogue and text usedin the interview, on my double page spread.Attracting my target audience required more effort to remember and apply my knowledge from my demographic andpsychographic research. I knew that any member of my audience would be an acoustic rock fan and so, on my frontcover, I mentioned well known acoustic rock artists that would be featured in the magazine, this would catch their eyeand encourage them to buy the magazine. I also had to keep in mind of my house style and the colouring of my masthead as, when distributed in shops, the masthead would the only thing visible when amongst other magazines. Thefonts used, from dafont.com, are bold and eye catching, some of them connote “bold” “dramatic” while others justsimply connote they “want to get straight to the point”. I found the fonts easier to place due to their appearance, forexample, the mast head was in the “Army Font” category on the website, I wanted to use this type of font as I knew itwould attract attention with the font type and colour. So not only was my house style, red, black and white, a cleverchoice when creating an eye catching affect, it also connotes a certain amount of maturity. I didn’t want this magazineto be a children magazine and I didn’t want the younger people in my audience to feel as though they are being spokendown to, to prevent this, the “grown up” colouring of red, black and white allows the magazine to appear bright andrespectful.The fact that my featured artist is a woman meant that I had to consider the colours I would use in my double pagespread, the type of face paint etc. The floral theme of my double page spread (flower face paint, floral dress, leafybackground) could connote that women are dainty and girly. However, to go against this connotation, and to draw inmy female members of the audience, I allowed the artist to come through with personality in her language, in theinterview, and through the text grabs. I used bold quotes such as “there’s so much out there that’s not going to stopand wait for you to dry your eyes” in order to give a sense of empowerment to the women in my audience as mostfemale artists and celebrities that women read about today are often portrayed as being dainty and needy, whereas myartist stands out and has a bold character.
Q6) What have you learnt about technologies from theprocess of constructing this product? Using and working the camera and tripod was considerably easy as I have my own personal digital camera and tripod. However, I find that if I did not have this personal experience I wouldn’t have picked it up as quickly as I did. The one downside to using the tripod was trying to get the angling right when trying to get close ups, that would have been easier to get by taking the photograph hand held. The lighting was also quite easy to use, however the one problem we has was, during one of the shots where our actor was lying on the ground, we couldn’t get an even amount of light on her face without creating shadow. I feel that, at the beginning of a photo shoot, I would take more “safer” shots, such as basic close ups, however, I later grew more confident through out the shoot and used different angles and lighting techniques. I feel that one of my weaknesses throughout the photographs taken, is that I didn’t experiment enough on long shots and that I mainly stuck with close ups. However, I feel that one of my main strengths in the photography aspect, I feel I have a skill of choosing the right shots for the right places when laying them out on an InDesign document. As I have my own personal blogger account I have found it extremely easy to work with, apart from getting to grips with tagging my work correctly. Using Photo Shop and In Design, however, was a big leap for me and my technical skills as I have never used either programmes before I started my project. Out of the two, I found Photo Shop easier to work with as it was this programme where I got to edit photos whereas in In Design I had to focus on the layout which, I feel, has been my strongest point in my project although I feel I have improved from the beginning. One of my main weaknesses with these technologies, involves Blogger, as I would sometimes forget to label posts correctly and, when I had to later refer to them, I could not find the correct post. However, I feel I have a strength in punctuality when posting on my blog, as I have posted regularly throughout my project.
Q7) Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feelyou have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?As you can clearly see the two differ extremely. My editing photo skills have increased greatly as you can see how I haveimproved cutting out the image on my front cover and brightening and creating a contrast on the image. Adevelopment in colour coding has also been created along the way as you can see my house style is more obvious andstriking than the one you can see from my preliminary task. I have also increased my awareness of the conventions of amusic magazine as I have used strap lines, more tag lines and a central image giving direct address all in my front cover. Not only do I feel that I have learnt the conventions and crucial editing skills, but I feel that I have improved as photographer as I am now more aware of different framing and exposure of light when taking pictures and I feel I have developed my skills through using the different technologies in the project (Blogger, Photoshop and InDesign.) Further more, the style of text placement, colour and using professional journalism techniques has also improved with practise.
ConclusionIn conclusion, I feel my product has been quite successful in targeting thecorrect audience, focussing on the genre (acoustic rock) and representing itcorrectly throughout the magazine and representing and attracting mytarget audience, those from 14 to 20.Further more, I feel that, thanks to the technologies available in the mediastudio, I have been able to create a realistic and professional looking musicmagazine front cover, contents page and double page spread.