Magazine Cover Analysis

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Magazine Cover Analysis

  1. 1. Zachariah J. Rowell | AS Media Studies
  2. 2. INITIAL IMPRESSIONSThe front cover of Kerrang! Magazine is verydetailed and certainly not easy on the eyes.
  3. 3. COLOUR SCHEMEThe colour scheme used on the cover consists ofdark red, black, white and dark beige. None of thecolours are bright or vibrant other than white, butwhen used along with these other colours white alsolooks fairly dull. These colours have most likely beenused because they fit in with the genres of music themagazine features. These colours are reflectedthroughout the rock/metal world and the targetaudience is likely to be familiar with them. Not onlythis, but I discovered that darker colours appealmore to males than females through my research.This is most likely deliberate since rock/metal bandsgenerally have a larger male fan base than female.
  4. 4. MASTHEADThe masthead features black text on a whitebackground, which stands out well and is easilyreadable. The font used on the masthead is bold,rough-looking and angular rather than (for example)bubbly and round. This gives off a feeling ofstrength and energy, much like most of the musicfeatured in the magazine – a feeling that is likely tobe recognised and understood by the people BauerConsumer Media target with this particular product.The masthead alone suggests that the magazinemay be targeted at more at males than females, andthis is reflected by the colour scheme.A bar sits on top of the masthead itself advertisingcontent within the magazine. It is overshadowed interms of importance by other elements on the page.Size, specifically, is used to indicate which parts ofthe magazine are focal.
  5. 5. MAIN PHOTOGRAPHThe largest, most clear item on the cover is the photograph ofJacob Bannon from the American hardcore band Converge.The vocalist is performing, gripping the microphone with bothhands tightly and (presumably) screaming, rather than simplysmiling at the camera with a relaxed facial expression. Thisintensifies the magazine cover, adding to the bold andenergetic appearance. The skin of the featured person istattooed and individualized rather than bare and ‘normal’. Thetattoos are blatant and in-your-face – the original image haspossibly been enhanced to make them clearer. Not only doesthis further complicate the cover but it may also call out to thetarget audience. Many rock/metal fans dislike perceivedmainstream music and mainstream physical appearance.Tattoos are often a part of their culture. If the target audiencedo, therefore, have body modifications then they would beable to relate to the image on the cover which means that theproduct may appeal to them more. It should also be notedthat the image cuts into the masthead (a commonly usedtechnique on many magazine covers), which highlights theimportance of the image and attracts the viewer’s attention,since it is the only element on the cover to do this.
  6. 6. TEXTText featured on the cover outside of the masthead continuesto use the rough, angular style. None of the text outside of themasthead is black, making the masthead unique. The bandname Converge is placed on top of the image of the vocalist,using the second-largest font-size on the cover. This wouldimmediately grab the attention of any followers of the bandand probably the majority of rock/metal fans in general, sincethe band (ironically) has a reasonable amount of popularity. Itreels the viewer in for a closer look which may result inanother precious purchase. It’s needless to even say “articleinside” or something along those lines because the viewerinstantly makes that connection. The magazine uses thesuccess of a band to appeal to the target audience. A mildprofanity, “pissed off”, is also present on the cover. While itisn’t quite as prominent as other elements, it is slightlyexaggerated with a unique font. The lyrics to many rock andmetal songs use similar language, sometimes consideredoffensive. The target audience may favour an almostobnoxious, aggressive attitude since it is shown by many rockand metal band members (for example, Corey Taylor ofSlipknot), which increases the appeal of the magazine to thisaudience.
  7. 7. TEXTBand names are strewn about the magazine cover, also.They are crammed into almost every available space andthe effort put into doing this gives off the impression thatthe magazine is full to bursting point with informationabout said bands.The “free posters” text lures the audience in with thepromise of receiving more than they pay for, a commonsales tactic used by magazines. The “free posters” text has ablood red background and this same colour surroundsApocalyptica and Enter Shikari, indicating that a poster ofthese bands are included within the magazine. I can deducefrom this that colour scheme isn’t used just to relate to theaudience, but also to link items on a busy page to oneanother as a form of organisation.
  8. 8. OTHER PICTURESIt is worth noting that the photos of the two bandsat the bottom are distinguishable from the photosof the two band members at the top. The bottomphotos feature a full band posing for the camera (agroup shot) – ideal poster material – whereas theupper pictures just feature one member of eachband; a close-up and a medium shot. The close up ofa masked Corey Taylor emphasises the element ofanger alluded to by the text underneath, whereasthe medium shot is taken from a live performancerelating to the “Projekt Revolution” text underneath(Projekt Revolution is a music festival).
  9. 9. BARCODE AND PRICING INFOThis is barely noticeable due to other elements onthe cover. It can be argued that this draws apotential buyer’s attention away from the cost ofthe magazine, away from the money they willspend. What the publishers want to be at theforefront of the buyer’s mind is not the money theylose but instead what they gain, as this is what willultimately sell the product and generate revenue.
  10. 10. INITIAL IMPRESSIONSThe front cover of NME Magazine isuncluttered, stylish and quite plain in thesense that none of the colours used areparticularly energetic.
  11. 11. COLOUR SCHEMEThe colour scheme of this particular issue consists ofwhite, black and orange. It is not particularlycolourful and, coupled with the mainphotograph, gives off a sort of dreamy, almost old-fashioned vibe.The upper half of the cover is black and white. Thelower half is orange and white. Therefore, it is likelythat the magazine is intended to appeal to bothgenders – the black and white combination, basedon my findings earlier, would appeal to maleswhereas the mixture of orange and white is brighterand might therefore appeal more to females. This isalmost certainly intentional, as pop music has aroughly equal division of male and female fans.
  12. 12. MASTHEADThe masthead can be located at the upper leftcorner of the magazine. It is entirely white and equalin size to the main “Florence” text, although theletters themselves are thicker. It is very prominentand easily noticeable, most likely the first thingoutside of the main image the audience wouldnotice. It is masculine in the sense that the font usedis angular and blocky, but because it mirrors thecolour of the shirt worn by the female model, it alsodenotes femininity. This links to the idea of thecover targeting both genders.
  13. 13. MAIN PHOTOGRAPHThe main image depicts Florence Welch of Florenceand the Machine. The most prominent portion of thephoto is the upper half, roughly upwards from theshoulders. This allows the audience to identify themain subject of the magazine and establish theselling point, the main reason for them to part withtheir cash. The model stands in a way that does notconvey attitude (unlike the previous cover) but, atthe same time, isn’t mundane. The pose emits afeeling of sophistication and maturity and carries nosexual undertones as is often the case when femalemodels are used on magazine covers reaching outto a male target audience. The photo aims to attractattention from a group of people interested in theartist and their music specifically and does notexclude a female audience in any way.
  14. 14. TEXTThe fonts used on this magazine cover are straight-edgedand in themselves rather masculine. They are certainly notthe bubbly fonts often used on magazines aimed solely atfemales. However, the text has been italicised whichremoves somewhat the masculinity of such text and stylisesit. Further stylisation is subtly exhibited by the “Vs” text,typed in a unique font. As an emphasis on style and fashionis stereotypically associated with females, the angular textthat appeals to males has also been moulded to appeal tofemales. The text also might convey a strength ofpersonality and soul, both of which are associated withmusic released by Florence and the Machine. The orangetext is featured less heavily on the page than black andwhite text, highlighting the importance of the word“Florence” and drawing special attention to the informationat the bottom of the cover that would otherwise be difficultto notice. Letter spacing is, finally, used to make more orless prominent certain elements on the cover. For example,“Florence”, with wide letter spacing, is more prominentthan text with little distance between each letter.
  15. 15. OTHER PICTURES AND BARCODEThis magazine cover features just two pictures – themain Florence Welch image and a man in the upperright corner. Consequently, it appears that thismagazine targets the audience through text morethan visual stimuli. It can therefore be argued thatthe magazine actually aims itself more at a readingaudience than a viewing audience (potentially as aresult of its roots as a music newspaper). The otherimage might actually just be an example of thementioned “free” posters, designed to act as anadditional selling point.The barcode is positioned at the bottom-left of thecover. It is not prominent and the same assertion asbefore can be made – that pricing is not supposed tobe something the audience actively considers whendebating whether or not to buy the magazine.
  16. 16. INITIAL IMPRESSIONSDespite tidy, uncluttered presentation, thiscover still grabs my attention and has about ita feeling of intensity.
  17. 17. COLOUR SCHEMEFour colours - bright red, black, white, beige – make up thecolour scheme for this particular cover. It is the brightnessof the red that gives this cover its impact. Instead of using adull red, the publishers chose to use a more vibrant shade.Red possesses connotations of danger, anger, lust andvehemence, all things society dictates should be avoided orcontrolled to some extent. The presence of these colours onthe cover implies that no attempt has been made to holdback, and in a sense, it is thus wild and out ofcontrol, dangerously alluring. Because the focal point of themagazine is Adele, a singer-songwriter, the audienceassociates these qualities with her. The connotations of redare juxtaposed against the innocence of her facialexpression, indicating that the artist is perhaps moresinister or ‘naughty’ beneath the surface. The promise of arevelation tempts to audience to buy this issue.Beige is used on this cover to highlight the significance ofthe issue being the 300th issue. It is distinctive because it isthe only element coloured thus.
  18. 18. MASTHEADThe masthead consists of the letter Q sitting inside a big redsquare at the top left of the cover. This is distinctive in threeways: firstly, the bright red square is very hard to miss;secondly, it is uncommon for a magazine to be sold under asingle letter name; and thirdly, because there is just a singleletter to fit into the square, the cover has the advantage ofgiving it a big font size. It is very noticeable and easilyidentifiable.Underneath the Q text reads “discover greatmusic”, establishing the focus of the magazine to thosewho don’t already know.It is likely due to the emphasis placed on the name of themagazine that the name alone rather than an abundance ofother features is needed to sell it. It gives off the impressionthat the magazine is popular and recognised. The audienceis expected to either already be familiar with the quality ofthe magazine or quickly reason that everyone else is and sothey too should be.
  19. 19. MAIN PHOTOGRAPHBy far the most important aspect of the cover is the photoof Adele, as it consumes the most of the available space.The photo itself is a close-up shot taken with her standingto the side, as if turning around to face the viewer. It givesoff the impression that the model knows a potential buyeris looking at her. In this sense, it is quite confrontational andperhaps even a little unsettling. However, if this magazinestood side by side with other magazines sporting mundanecovers, it is this one that is likely to attract attention.With her hair being blown off her face the illusion of herwhirling around to catch the viewer’s eye is created. Herface is pale, nearly white in colour, and the black eye make-up draws attention to the eyes. She locks a potential buyerin an artificial stare.Worth mentioning is that the model also cuts into themasthead, so that no attention is truly taken away from herface. The photo is a very direct attempt to engage theviewer, less subtle than Kerrang! Magazine’s inclusion oftattoos, for example.
  20. 20. TEXTThe text on this cover is organised into two blocks. Onecolumn advertises features within the magazine not directlyrelated to the main feature, while the other indicates theprimary focus of the particular issue.The text on the left is smaller than the text on the right, andclearly isn’t therefore as important. People buying this issueare expected to buy it primarily for the article on Adele.Letters are spaced out more to emphasise names (e.g.“Adele”, “Keith” and “Liam”) which act as a selling point.The text inside the beige circle is italicise, with a uniquefont, boasting of the issue number so as to attract people tobuy it. The rest of the text is blocky and masculine, butwhen combined with the presence of the model, does notreally seem to appeal solely to males. As with NMEMagazine, it seems to be geared towards both males andfemales.
  21. 21. BARCODE AND PRICINGFor the third time, the barcode is hidden awaybeneath everything else. I think it is now fair toconclude having seen this same tactic used on threemusic magazines that it is a typical convention ofmusic magazines.

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