AS Media Studies
Music Magazine Evaluation
Olivia Lynch, 12f
For media coursework I had to produce my own music magazine. We had a
preliminary task of creating a student magazine for our school – front cover and
But for our main coursework we had to design and create the front cover,
contents page and double page spread of a music magazine. I produced all of mine
Preliminary Task. 1
Using photoshop and publisher, I produced the front page and contents of a school
Before designing and creating my student magazine I did some research on
several magazine front covers. By analysing professional magazines I was able to
have some understanding of how to lay out my first attempt at making a magazine.
It was one of my first experiences on photoshop, so as I was making the magazine I
was discovering new tools and edits.
I firstly had to decide who my target audience were. I then tried to aim my
magazine at my demographic in terms of mode of address, featured articles and
page layout. My target audience were 11 – 16 year olds who attended my school
(William De Ferrers). So with this in mind, I made sure that my mode of address
was friendly and somewhat informal. Also by using bright colours and bold fonts I
feel that this would attract the age group of my audience.
Preliminary Task. 2
• I took some photos for my school magazine.
I am using this image for my front page –
the feature article photograph. It denotes
a student putting her hand up. It connotes
that she is keen and a good student.
I took this one for the school band I had on
the contents page. They are all pulling serious
faces to connote that they take their music
seriously. The guys are at the back and two
singers at the front to show how they are on
Preliminary Task. 3
Photos and ‘plus’ plugs
Masthead – bold,
Brick wall background
reflecting walls at school
Page numbers bold. Title big.
Small description of article.
Preliminary Task. 4
After making my student magazine, I feel I have used the common conventions of
magazines but also challenged them. I have taken the obvious things and such as
mastheads, plugs and puffs but added my own style to them. E.g. Font type and
colours, photos, backgrounds.
I feel that I have targeted my audience well as I have clearly represented the
magazine to students who attend the school. I have used students for the photos
which immediately suggests who the magazine is meant for. I have used an
informal and friendly tone to engage the younger audience and avoided using
large words. I have also attracted my audience by the use of a plug “COMPLETELY
FREE”. Students don’t have much money so by giving the magazine away for free
immediately draws readers in.
Through learning technologies from the process of constructing my magazine, I
feel more confident in making my music magazine. I have practiced and got used
to Photoshop and I feel confident with producing better quality edits and overall
quality of my work.
Deciding genre and target audience.
I decided that the genre of the magazine I am going to produce is funk/alternative.
I feel that there is a gap in the market for this type of music magazine. There are
plenty of rock/metal magazines like Rocksound and Kerrang, so I felt I would focus
on this niche market. As I was creating a magazine that is quite unusual or unheard
of, I will use conventions from other famous music magazines to enable me to
reach out to the buyers. If they see some familiarity they won’t be afraid to buy the
magazine and may like the thought of discovering different types of music.
To gain a better understanding of what ideas/styles that my magazine would
consist of I created a survey and asked people from ages 16 – 30 (the age group
which I am hoping to make the magazine appeal to). By doing this and receiving
results, I had a clearer idea in mind.
Target Audience Survey
For my initial research, I planned to ask 25 people 12
questions on a survey I made. The questions were
answered in a tally so that I could determine what my
target audience would prefer.
I asked people who were between the ages of 16 – 30.
I felt that this age group was suitable because my
direct competitors (NME and Rocksound) aim for this
After receiving results from my survey questions I
made pie charts so I could clearly see what my
audience would prefer. This enabled me to be sure of
fonts, colours, mode of address and other conventions
were ideal for my magazine.
I wasn’t sure of what to call my magazine and I had a
few ideas – “Rockout/A mojor/Pirate. No one voted for
Rockout, 17/25 for A Major and 8/25 for Pirate. It was
clear what would attract my audience (as the masthead
is the first thing you notice on a magazine) so I called
my magazine A Major.
I had the same problem for the colour scheme I wanted
to use. But 15/25 people voted for Grey/white/blue. I
haven’t seen a music mag in the market with this
colour scheme, so I planned to use this as it is not only
preferred by my target audience but it is original too.
Relating to target audience.
With the help of my target audience survey results I was able to have a clear
understanding of what would attract my audience.
My target audience was from ages 16 – 30 who were interested in
rock/alternative/funk music. I will attract the audience by using a friendly, laid
back tone yet I will be informative about bands/music. I will do this by using
chatty language and my photos will be warm and inviting. I will use an equal ratio
of photos to text as I feel too much text will bore the reader and would be too
much, but I feel that too little text and a lot of photos will not be beneficial to my
readers because they won’t be informed about the music industry in a descriptive
way – which defeats the object of making a music magazine.
Because my target audience ranges from 16 – 30 wanted to avoid my magazine
from looking tacky. I wanted a tasteful colour scheme and the structure to be neat
and accessible to read. Although the tone will be chatty, I will still use a
sophisticated and informative lexis that will appeal to all age groups.
Before I started making my magazine I did some research into well established music
magazine that were in the market. I was hoping to gain a better understanding of
what mine should be like as these magazines I research will be my competitors.
I chose to research, study and chose NME and Rocksound as my competitors. I did
this because I feel that the age group of the target audience would be the same as
mine. Also the style of how the mode of address is, as well as having a fun and
friendly tone in the magazines.
NME focuses on new bands and new music in their magazine, which I too will be doing
in A Major. Rocksound is more conventional in the way that it features well known
rock and indie bands, not so much on new material. Although my magazine will
be of a slightly different genre to both, the message being portrayed is the same
and the target audience I the same as mine. With the mix of the both, I was able to
depict which conventions would be suitable to make my magazine.
Bold red masthead, covered slightly by
photograph. Edited feature article
photograph. Plugs and puffs at top and
bottom, engaging language. Barcode,
price, date bottom right. Coverline draws
Clear green colour scheme – edited
backgound. Plugs left and right aligned
for neatness. Coverline boldest thing on
page, draws audience in. Puff is catchy
and addresses audience directly.
Barcode, price and date on cover.
Research of price of magazine.
Before deciding the price of what A Major will be, I did some research into the
prices of my competitors’ magazines.
NME: Price - £2.30
Rocksound: Price - £3.99
There is a large gap in price of my two competitors. It is clear that NME is cheaper
and this could be because it’s audience is younger (students) who tend to have
less money than adults who are more likely to buy Rocksound.
Both magazines have a subscription online where if you get every issue you can
get a free gift. This is good for marketing and encourages its audience to buy their
magazine with bribery.
I feel that my magazine’s target audience and bulkiness of the magazine is
between Rocksound and NME so my price will also be within the range of the two
established magazines. I think that my magazine is aimed at a younger audience
than Rocksound (16-30) so the students would not be willing to pay as much. My
magazine (A Major) gives a free CD with the actual issue you buy anyway, unlike
NME. Also with the results I got from my Target Audience Survey, people were
willing to pay between “2.50 and £3.50” so long as there was a free gift and
promised music interviews/reviews with top bands and new artists. So therefore I
think my price is reasonable at £2.70.
Before creating my magazine, I did a rough sketch of what I wanted my
cover to look like. As you can see, it is quite similar to my final product
but some changes were made as I learnt more when creating my
Creating my masthead.
I knew what colour scheme I wanted to use (black, grey, blue) and that the
background would be black. My mast head needed to be bold and stand out from
the dark background.
I used grey as it stood out from the black
background and I thought it would be less
predictable than white. After choosing
what font I wanted to use (Bauhaus 93 –
which I felt looked bubbly). I thought it
looked slightly tacky ( 3rd) so I added an
effect on photo shop which I felt enhanced
Creating my puff.
I wanted a puff that would promote my magazine and attract the
audience. I originally thought of “The Funkiest of music right here right
now!” – which I thought was promoting and did engage the audience but
then I thought of something more effective:
Not only will A – Major will mean a musical chord on it’s own (which
immediately informs the audience that my music magazine will be very
musically orientated) but by having the puff as this it will read the sentence “A
major music magazine that you cannot miss!”
With the puff being underneath the masthead (unlike my competitor’s) and the
use of ellipsis, it’s clear to the readers what the message is I am trying to
portray. Plus the use of an explanation mark makes it informal and enthusiastic,
again, attracting the audience.
For my magazine production I had to use all original photos taken by me. I took
various images around the school, using ideas and conventions from NME and
Rocksound. I felt that my photos had improved from the ones I did for my student
magazine – they have more purpose and I thought about the connotations more so.
I noticed that
photos of bands.
posed. For my
image (right) I
wanted them to be
serious as they
take their band
seriously. I had
the singers at the
front to portray
was for my student
After practicing taking photos for my student magazine, I was able to get better
pictures for my final music magazine.
I have noticed a radical
change in the quality of my
photos from student magazine
and mucic magazine. I have
thought more about the
purpose, layout, background
The background of (Left) is
too busy, so for (right) I had a
plain black curtain.
In (left) I haven’t thought
about the positioning very but
in (right) I have ensured that
nothing is cropped and the
feet, shoulders and arms are
all visible. I also thought more
about how the band was
standing and their facial
Serious but not sinister
facial expressions so it
shows they are serious
about music, but don’t put
audience off – still friendly
I changed all of my photos to black and white with a blue tint on photoshop. I felt
that this made the photos look more tasteful and the blue tint went with my colour
The original denotes the lead singer of
“Ambient Funk” listening to a radio.
The connotation is that she enjoys
listening to music. I edited on
photoshop by removing the colour
cast and then cut around the top of the
image and left part of the black
background. I saw this used on a
contents page in NME so I used it for
I took inspiration from the two magazines I researched on: NME and Rocksound. I
have used different elements and conventions from these two well established
magazines and incorporated them into mine because I feel we have similar target
audience. By doing this, I can ensure I am attracting the right audience as I know
what they are used to and what draws them in.
I chose to base my magazine more around NME in terms of style, as NME has a
more varied music genre than that of Rocksound. But I used the chatty and direct
mode of address that Rocksound use to engage with the audience.
For instance, my double
page spread has text,
photos and a separate
section of additional
information. Like NME I
have presented my page
in columns and clearly
shown the separate
sections by the use of a
bold backgrounds. NME
use an orange colour
scheme throughout their
magazine, I use red. The
consistency makes the
what they’re reading.
Following conventions. 2
I used Rocksound’s layout when it came to plugs on the front cover. All of their plugs
were either left aligned, centred or right aligned. This made a clear structure and
made the overall layout of the page neat and tidy – easy for audience.
I also used the
style of making
the main bit of
the plug a
colour. E.g. RS
then white and
used white then
•Bold masthead, stands out from background
•Puff next to masthead, catchy phrase
•Different shapes for plus (circles), shape
that stands out from rest of the page
•Right aligned and left aligned plugs with
•Feature article photograph (headshot)
connoting that singer is shocked by fame.
Tinted blue to go with colour scheme.
Slightly covers puff, as done in Rocksound.
•Centred coverline – band name largest
thing on cover – stands out.
•Words like “plus” and “exclusive” angages
audience – as done in NME.
•Barcode, date and price – essential
information for audience.
•My magazine website bottom of page for
further contacting, stands out from white on
the shirt of photograph.
•Bold red header immediately informing
audience of page
•Same masthead as on front cover
•Date of issue of magazine (as seen in NME
•“Inside this month” (as seen in NME and
•“On the cover” “Interviews/reviews” and
“features” sections structured in a neat right
aligned column (common convention used)
•Main story largest on page and edited (as
seen in NME and most music mags)
•Page numbers on all photos aswell as
•Main topic of page, followed by small
•Smaller images scattered on page
•“PLUS...” draws audience in and suggests
there is more than expected in the
magazine – therefore more for your money
•Overall structure – clear separate sections
of contents, allows audience to clearly find
out what is where in the magazine.
Double page spread.
•Heading followed with small description of article (as seen in
•Pull out quote from interview – encourages reader to read more
(commonly used convention)
•Questions in red, answers in black. Clear.
•Interview allows reader to feel like they are involved with the
band and actually talking to them.
•“INTERVIEW” – type of
article. In blue to support
front cover colour scheme.
(as seen in NME)
•Clear separate sections –
e.g album section with red
background, stands out
from rest of page.
•Album section includes
famous peoples’ opinions,
top names and other
publishers give their say
allowing reader to have an
•Speech bubble from
Khanyisa – connotes that she
is talking directly to reader,
makes them feel involved.
•“Ambient funk” written as
the same as cover – same
style whole way through
•Black strips with page
number and website for
magazine (as seen in NME
Comparing front cover.
Comparing my student magazine to my music magazine
After practicing making my student magazine I learnt how to use photoshop better and gained
a better understanding of what conventions to use for my magazine as I had done more
research. I saw a clear improvement from what my first student magazine was like and my final
product of my music magazine.
The hand covering the masthead is cropped
messily and badly. The plugs are only on one
side of the cover, and go across the person in
the feature article photograph. There is not
much of a set colour scheme or style. The
coverline is too small, it should be the largest
thing on the page. I haven’t put the date on the
magazine. I haven’t thought about the
background of the photograph.
My music magazine has a better masthead –
looks more professional. The plugs are neatly
aligned on the left and on the right of the cover.
The feature article photograph I have thought
about more (the connotations and background
is better). I have used better lexis e.g. “plus!”
and “featuring...”. I have used different shapes
to make the “FREE CD” and “Best selling music
mag” stand out from the rest of the page. I have
made sure the coverline is the largest thing on
the page. The overall style and quality of my
music mag is better than my student one
because of practice
The heading is “WDF”
instead of “Contents”. There
is no date given. The
content is just in one list, not
put in sections which looks
unprofessional and hard for
the reader to read. The
pictures are separate from
the text when it is more
effective when it is mixed
up. The photos don’t have
page numbers on them
either. The background is
too busy – looks tacky.
The overall style is more clear
on my music mag one. The
colour scheme goes with the
front cover. Sections are
clearly portrayed by the use
of headings and boxes. Page
numbers are used on all
images. The main story in the
mag is the largest photo on
the contents page which
draws the attention of the
readers straight to it.
I have used photoshop to produce my own original magazine. I have come along
way and discovered and got used to all the elements in photoshop. From editing
the contrast and brightness of photos, to adding effects to text. The main thing I
have been doing is learning how to present my magazine, by using the rulers on
photoshop, I have been able to measure the width and length of pages. This also
helps to ensure that everything is centred and neatly sectioned. For example the
double page spread needed to be exactly in half as it would be two separate
pages and in half when made into a magazine. I have learnt how to use the lasoo
tool to select parts of images, which helps with cropping. When creating my
student magazine, the cropping was done messily. But now, after practice, I have
been able to crop neater with the use of the eraser tool and magnetic tool. I have
also been able to edit all of my photos and text on photoshop. I have added effects
such as shadowing to texts and images to create a 3D effect (which I have seen in
NME). And also to add blue tints to the pictures, which helps to go with my blue
and red colour scheme in A Major. I also learnt how to make things transparent
such as the box on my contents page, which adds some interesting style to the
page and allows the reader to see through to the rest of the photo.
Photoshop has been a great program to make my magazine because it had
everything I needed to produce it. I feel that if I spent even more time on it, I
would discover new effects and new ways of doing things, but I do feel I have
improves vastly since the first time using photoshop.
I think that A Major should be published by IPC media (The publisher of my
competitor magazine NME is IPC media.). I feel that my magazine would fit the
criteria of the publishing company as my magazine has a similar target audience
(age wise and similar music genres) and follow the same conventions as NME. The
price is also very similar – A Major - £2.70 and NME - £2.30.
I feel that my magazine has more to offer than NME in terms of free gifts and
exclusive interviews and a wider variety of music genres. So I feel that A Major will
be suitable for IPS media to publish.
I am pleased with how my final magazine looks. I have come a long way since my
student magazine (which was extremely amateur) due to further research into
established magazines and practice on photoshop. I can notice a vast different
between the two and now have a better understanding of conventions of a music
magazine and how to design and produce one.
I am pleased with how it has all come together. To improve, I would have taken more
time on the photos I took for A Major. I felt they were an improvement from the
ones I took for the student magazine, but I think I should have thought about the
connotations more. Also would have changed the clothing that “my band” were
wearing. I am happy with my front cover, but I think the contents could do with
more work. I feel that it needs more pull out quotes and a slightly different oreder
than what I have done. The double page spread I am happy with. The first page I
like, but I think the second page doesn’t resemble a double page spread well. It
looks a bit scattered and I feel that if I went back to it I could make it link and flow
together more with the previous page.
Overall, I am content with my final product. I feel that I have found my own style and
fashion for my magazine and I think that the target audience would be attracted to
and enjoy reading A Major. There are improvements I would like to make, but that
is always the case for anything.
Target audience feedback.
After completing my magazine, I asked for some audience feedback. I asked
people who fitted into my target audience range (16-30s – males and females) and
for their opinion on my front cover, contents, double page spread and the overall
quality of A Major.
Person 1 – male, 16. The composition of each factor on the magazine provide a
stylish and outgoing tone but at the same time present a friendly and informal
mode of address. If seen in a supermarket I would be interested to find out what
the magazine’s about.
Person 2 – female, 19. When I looked at the cover, contents and article I thought
it looked professional. If I saw this on the shelf, I wouldn’t doubt that it is a famous
Person 3 – male, 17. The overall tone is good but I think it needs a larger variety
of photos. All of t he photos look too similar and could be found boring. However,
the text is friendly and uplifting which makes up for this.
Person 4 – male, 28. I find the colour scheme and fonts compliment each other
well and also the blue of the photos. The style is consistent the whole way through.
I think there needs to be more of a consistency on the double page spread as it
looks too separated. Other than that I would purchase this magazine (maybe lower
the price slightly).
Evaluation and Analysing
I am pleased with the feedback from people who fit into the target audience.
Overall, the feedback is positive and it seems my target audience would buy A
Major if they saw it in a shop – this, I feel, is a clear sign that I have made my
magazine well and is a direct competitor of NME and Rocksound.
For improvements, I would take what people said about there being too little
photos. I agree that I didn’t spend enough time on the photography for my
magazine. But once edited on photoshop, the images looked more impressive and
I would also spend more time on the double page spread (I spent too long on the
front cover) so therefore if I were to do it again I would manage my time better.
I am glad I used the colour scheme I did. I feel it is different to the current music
magazines that are out now, which attracts a wider range of audience as they spot
something different. I feel that the black, blues, reds and greys create a tasteful
style of my magazine, which I have learnt from the feedback I’ve had.
If I were to go back, I would make my double page spread more conventional. I
feel that it feels like both pages are separate whereas it should be a flowing image
from one page to another. I would have done this by either continuing the
interview onto the following page or just used one large image on a page to cover
the entire page.
I am pleased with my end result and can confidently say that I have come a long
way since making my student magazine.
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