Media AS music magazine evaluation. An evaluation by Jaimie Houston
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challengeforms and conventions in media products? Both my magazine and “Guitar magazine feature headers with incentives . In my magazine I show a competition (a feature common in magazines) and one of the main articles, a feature on the greatest guitarists of all time. As a comparison, Guitar magazine features examples of key articles included within much like my own. Both magazines feature a main masthead with a distinctive font that lends some character and individuality to the magazine. This of course has several purposes. First of all is to separate that magazine from all the competition. In my magazine I use a font that would mostMy magazine. likely lend it’s self to a younger generation of readers, Guitar magazine. while Guitar magazine features a font that looks like one taken of a guitar from the sixties, perhaps done to appeal to an older generation of guitarists. I used a puff in order to act as both an incentive (offering something for free is always works) I used a contrasting colour that does not appear anywhere else deliberately as this draws the eyes of the reader A main feature of my magazine that is not present within the Guitar magazine is the use of the column that is then used to create an organised strip of key articles featured within. This unique technique also features highly contrasting colours (black, white and yellow) and unique fonts that highlight key areas I.E main articles. The font choices and colour choices have a bright outlook perhaps appealing to younger generations. Another two main key features that both products feature is the use of both a cover star and a footer. In terms of cover stars, my magazine features a woman holding a guitar that fills the vast majority of the cover, “Guitar” however have a guitar whose main body encompasses most of the cover. Both of these covers have the dual purpose of highlighting the genre and target audience and showing a related picture to a key article. Finally the footer on both is used to both highlight a key article and often used to contain useful data such as issue number and the barcode, Both magazines also use a contrasting colour to the background. In both cases Red and white to a blue background.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions in media products? One major similarity between my contents page and “Drummer magazine” is the use of a coloured banner that highlights the function of the page (contents). Another feature is the re-use of the title of the magazine near the top. This is done in order to maintain the identity of the magazine. In addition, both magazines contain a numbered list that lists in order the articles featured, the numbers in particular are a bright contrasting colours to the white backgrounds they are on, in this case yellow and orange. Another convention they both share is the large picture to the right hand side. Size is often connoted with importance. Because of this the reader immediately assumes this is related to the feature article. One other key feature both articles share is the fact that there a large number of pictures used to create a visual appeal and entice the reader. A contrasting point however is the colour schemes used. My magazine features a black background upon which white text boxes containing yellow writing are placed. Drummer magazine on the other hand features black text on a white background. This change in colour scheme could very easily be related to target audience (which I’ll get onto later.) Finally both share a date of release (in case people want to get backdated issues ) and similar style and angle of pictures (Medium close up to a close up in my case) of the instrument involved in the magazine (that’s what the readers came for after all ) and close ups of article stars or in my case the editor. This is done in this way as a way of allowing the allowing the reader to relate on
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge formsand conventions in media products? In both my double page spread and the one from guitarist magazine they both share a main title or headline on the top left, that highlights the main purpose of the article, (in mine the review and in there’s the first play.) These are both in a contrasting colour to the background (in both cases white and red to the black background) Both our magazine double page spreads feature a large picture that dominates the majority of the left side of the article. This convention shows the size and importance of the picture in relation to the article. As a contrast my article has many more pictures that the one use in Guitarist magazine. My article however uses the number of pictures to tell a story that is unique and the fact the pictures themselves are made to look like polaroids from a camera adding a sense of realism and relation to reality. One convention my double page spread features that the other doesn’t is the use of a quote pulled from the article itself.
How does your media represent particular social groups?In terms of my magazine it obviously is relatedto guitarists. This is obvious as the main themeof the pictures included of guitarists. All peoplein my magazines are young (aged around 18)and are of mixed gender. This is due to theinformation I gathered from my questionnaire. Inthe results I found a 50-50 split in terms ofgender and the vast majority were agedbetween 16-25. In addition all three of my“characters” that are pictured within themagazine are all white, this is not deliberatelydesigned to appeal to white people over otherethnicities rather all participants availablehappened to be white. This could howevercause it to be unappealing to other ethnicities ifit were an actual product. This product wasdeliberately designed however to appeal to theabout seventeen and older crowd due thestyle, age of the stars and the tone and style ofwriting. Finally all of my “stars” are notrepresented negatively (well unless you countthat guy going insane, but that was due to theevil of that guitar.)
What kind of media institution might distribute your media productand why? If I were seeking to get this magazine published I would seek the assistance and economic input of Bauer media. The reason for this would be because Bauer media has had experience publishing this type of magazine, (probably most well known of all magazines in this genre, Kerrang magazine) they do however have a gap in there line that my magazine fills. This would be both beneficial for both parties as they fill a gap in their line and me as a business earns a profit. http://www.bauermedia.co.uk/ Bauer Media as a publisher has two predominant “music magazines” both of which share some similarities to my product but also many, many differences. As stated above my magazine fills a gap within their line. Both of these magazines cover quite a similar audiences based upon appearances. They do not however account for the young acoustic crowd. This is a great mistake of theirs as young people who are learning guitar, most often learn on an acoustic.
What kind of media institution might distribute your product?-Continued. In terms of where it would be sold, it would be mainly sold in newsagents and stores such as the CO-OP and supermarkets such as Asda predominately where other magazines are sold as obviously as the market shows these are the best institutions to sell magazines as they continue to be sold there even after years of business . In addition the magazine would also be sold in music stores. This is done so that a potential reader buying a guitar would walk past the magazine in a store, realise it’s great worth and buy it alongside the guitar. Further incentives would then keep that reader coming back to buy the next issue.
Who would be the audience for your media product?In my magazine the intentional audience is of course guitarists. In particular I focused on ayounger generation, featuring young cover stars, much like the people in the picturesfeatured below. In addition the informal writing tone match my own and the target audience.In particular things like the dress and hairstyle of the cover stars matches that of the targetaudience again much like the people featured below, people like this tend to dress in loudprimary colours matching that of their own nature. Now lets take “Guitar World” magazine. What do you notice immediately? The cover stars are much, much older. The “Stars” of my magazine were younger and this was for two specific reasons. 1:The available participants to be photographed were pretty much all that age. 2:Many of the specifically guitar magazines I researched and looked at over the course of my design work are all of the older variety meaning that there is in fact a gap in the market which if this was in fact a real pitch and potential magazine, would be a great opportunity to expand the market and net a profit. My designs would deliberately appeal to the younger crowd as I personally feel they are under represented in this market.
How did you attract/address your audience? A key attractant used in my magazine and many if not all magazines is the use of colour. My magazine features the primaryA major attractant I used was colours (red, blue, yellow) and black andthe use of incentives. The white. These colours immediately draw theone on the header in eyes of the reader as they are highlyparticular was an advert for a contrasting colours. This itself is not anelectric guitar to win in a incentive so much as a tool that is used tocompetition, considering the attract the reader so that the actualtarget audience this is aparticularly apt prize that incentives will convince the reader to buy.would be bound to attractpotential audience. Another major tool used on myThis column is a major way of product was the use of the puffattracting the audience with a large “FREE” in white textadvertising the main articles that contrasts highly to the greenwith a bright yellow font that is and blue of the background. Thisunique to the cover. Main is a great incentive used acrossarticles are highlighted many magazines and evenparticularly ones that would be breakfast cereals as a way ofattractive to new readers like convincing potential readers tothe learning to play articles. purchase the magazine. The freeFor the more “hard-core” item is also directly related to thereaders articles such as subject of the magazine. In thisreviews and comparisons case it’s a guitar string, an itembetween guitars. that would be easily would be able to be included in an actual magazine and assuming it was Another major main incentive is of good quality would attract the large main articles such as potential readers the “learn your first chords here!” written in bright white.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?Well to start with I did already have knowledge of Adobe Photoshop; I had used the program in the past and had a basic knowledgeof the program and its uses. My knowledge since this project has improved greatly.Proper use of the custom shape tool: I already knew the shape tools and had in fact and used them quite extensively when I wasyounger. My knowledge stopped however at the custom shape tool and its uses. Using this tool I was able to create useful shapesthat then were used to great effect in the whole piece. An example of this was the use of the curvedarrow shape in order to make the devil’s tail for the guitar on the double page spread. (Custom shapes)(Right there )Secondly I learned the advantages of using the “Blending options tool and using it to create strokes and drop shadows.I then used these extensively throughout the piece:(Like here) (And there)Using this tool I was able to improve the look of my text dramatically. This also makes the piece look more professional and commercial as it conforms to many of the other magazines currently on sale. If I had to level onecriticism on my self however I would say I relied on strokes too much as I used it on all pages several times on each. I could however have made more use of the drop shadow tool as I feel it was under used overall in the piece .
What have you learnt about technologies from theprocess of constructing this product? –Continued.I also made great use of the magic wand tool. This was used primarily to remove the blue screen background I had in front of my “models” for use in themagazine cover, contents and primarily for my double page spread which featured a total of eight pictures.Finally in terms of photoshop another tool I made great use of and learned to use properly was the clonestamp tool. This tool is used to copy one area which you can then draw onto another area. I used this to great effect repairing clothing and in one particular case; I re-drew almost an entire carpet. These problems most often arose after use of the magic wand which as it’s not perfect would often delete parts of the picture I did not want deleted like the things I have mentioned above. So the tools were often used in tandem.Finally I learned how to use Quark from literally zero experience. Quark I used for one thing and one thing only, the double page spread. I used this program to add the textto my double page spread article. In particular I learned how to use the text tool in order to create columnsfor the text, choosing colour, font and size. I then was able to then apply this to the article and finish it.
Looking back at your preliminary task what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product.When I began this unit I had some experience in using photo shop but literally nonein the realms of designing covers. Starting off I used very basic skills and tools(barely above the crop tool and paint bucket tool.) I did quickly learn of the stroke anddrop shadow tools for texts. I used these both liberally on the preliminary but quicklyrealised this does not work as it makes the work look unprofessional. This was thenquickly (and in my opinion wisely) corrected and improved, these were then used toa lesser degree in my main piece.I also improved in my use of the camera work taking a greater variety of picture typesand zoom levels. Using this I was able to create a more professional look and allowme to create different look to my magazine. This is particularly obvious in thecontents page where the fretboard is photographed in an extreme close up.In addition I learned from scratch how to use utilities such as the site “Da font” inorder to create a defined identity in the magazine that makes it unique to this piece.Finally I slowly over the course of the project learned appropriate colours to use thatwould be suitable to the product. The scheme used for the preliminary task, whiletaken from the Priestley website did not work as suitable colours, this was thenchanged for my main project using highly contrasting and yet complimentary to eachother, such as the black and yellow.Using what I have learnt I have managed to create a far better designed productionthat is leaps and bounds beyond that of my preliminary task.