Monday, 30 November 2009

Analysing Magazine Pages

I decided to analyse various front covers, contents pages and double page spreads, looking mainly at Kerrang!, Rock Sound and NME, in order to help me plan the pages for my magazine.

(Click "View on Slideshare" to see the slides that "did not convert properly")

Friday, 20 November 2009

School Magazine

For the preliminary task of my coursework I had to "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." In order to achieve this, I firstly drew out some sketches of possible ideas for my school magazine. These are my final drafts:-

Following on from this, I took the relevant photos around my school before creating the pages using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign, as the brief requested. My school magazine front cover and contents page is displayed below:-

Overall I think that I managed to capture the codes and conventions of a real magazine effectively. This is because my magazine cover used a medium close-up shot of the cover star as well as using text over the top of the photo and a strip of smaller photos along the bottom, similar to a real magazine. Furthermore, my contents page uses photos along one side with page numbers on top and then a list with further details and page references, comparable to a real magazine. In addition to this, I think the colour scheme used (green, red and white) fits the target audience (school students) appropriately due to its bright, fun and eye-catching nature. However, one thing that could be improved is the magazine’s heading on the cover; if made slightly bolder and possibly in a different font, it would stand out more and therefore be more successful.
I think my images and their composition fit the intended pages well. This is because the medium close-up shot used on the front cover fills the whole page and has quite a plain background, therefore making it easier to read the text over the top. In addition to this, the colours of the cover stars clothes (green) fit in very well with the text and rest of the magazine. As well as this, the photos from Kew Gardens displayed at the bottom of the front page, fit in well as they are arranged at an angle making them seem more like snapshots and therefore more interesting/eye-catching.
Considering that I’ve never used Adobe InDesign before and barely used Adobe Photoshop, I feel that I have done very well in creating this magazine to a good standard. However, I do need to practise/ work more on my skills for using a desk top publisher before I start my music magazine in order to ensure a professional looking product.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Re-making an Existing Front Cover

In order to get accustomed to the software used whilst creating a magazine, I decided to try and recreate an existing magazine cover using my own photos. Below shows the real NME front cover (top) and the one I created (bottom) using Adobe Photoshop:-

From doing this activity I now feel more confident using Photoshop as I have learnt how to use different layers, how to add shadows and how to edit the colouring of photos.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Magazine Research

Task One
Investigate Two Magazines Currently On Sale In Britain
Initial Research

Choice One: NME – “First For Music News”
As the main task of my coursework is to create part of a new music magazine, I’ve firstly decided to research NME - one of the oldest music magazines still running.
Image Source:

The New Musical Express magazine has been published weekly since 1952. It was the best selling music magazine during the 1970s and currently has a circulation of 40,948 and a readership of 369,000. In addition to this, NME was responsible for creating the UK’s first singles chart and breaking acts such as Jimi Hendrix, Oasis and Arctic Monkeys into the wider world.
The magazine describes itself as “the world’s most recognised and iconic music magazine”, published to give a “truthful, honest, informed account of what’s going down in music”.

Magazine Website:

The Content of NME
A typical issue of NME is around 70 pages long and focuses on mainly guitar and rock music; Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols and many more have all featured in past issues.
The magazine usually starts with a section on “News” which contains some articles and information regarding the recent happenings in the world of music. This is normally followed by interviews and features on specific artists, along with a page for letters from the readers. Further on in NME, there is also a section dedicated to reviews which comments upon new albums, singles and concerts of the week. In addition to this, near the end of the magazine, the pages are filled with adverts for upcoming tours and gigs as well as competitions and a crossword.

The Publishing Institution of NME
NME is currently published by IPC Media, the UK’s leading publisher of consumer magazines and websites. Over 26 million adults read an IPC Media magazine and over 350 million copies are sold each year.

IPC Media Website:

The Typical Reader Profile
The average reader of NME is a 24 year old fast-moving music fan who lives at the cutting edge of media culture and development. 69% of the readers of NME are male, with 52% working full-time and 29% still studying. The total readership spends £326 million on audio equipment per year, and typically the reader enjoys going to gigs and other live events in their spare time. The standard reader spends nearly 19 hours per week on the internet. In addition to this, the reader finds clothes and image quite significant; 71% of readers think it’s important to look well dressed, with 45% spending a lot of money on clothes.

Layout Trademarks of NME
Unlike most magazines, NME does not have a contents page, but a band index instead. This alphabetically lists all of the artists featured in the magazine and which page to find them, without giving any further details or information.
The main layout trademark of NME is its similarity to a newspaper throughout most of the magazine. This is particularly evident in the news section, due to the dominant use of the colours black, white and red, along with the bold headlines and articles written in columns. In addition to this, the inside pages of NME have a newspaper feel in comparison to the normal glossy magazine pages used in most other publications.
Another feature of the New Musical Express is its use of a full page photo on some of its articles. Relevant text is then layered over the top of the photo, usually at the bottom of the page. As well as this a coloured rectangle displaying the section of the magazine the reader is viewing e.g. “NEWS”, “LIVE!” etc. is normally displayed at the top of these pages :-

Image Source:

Does NME Reflect the Values of its Audiences?
NME manages to match its audience’s values by providing a magazine with up to date articles, photos and information based on the typical music related interests of the reader – live concerts, reports from the music industry and new up and coming artists.

Choice Two: Sugar
The preliminary exercise in my coursework is to produce the front page of a school magazine. Because the audience for this will most likely be teenage, I’ve decided to research Sugar – one of the biggest teenage magazines in the UK.

Image Source:

Sugar is a British monthly teenage magazine currently edited by Annabel Brog. It first launched in September 1994 and within a year it was selling 205,000 copies a month. The magazine currently has a circulation of around 158,000 and has a selling price of £2.45. In 2007 the website launched, combining the sugar editorial content with an online community, proving extremely successful.

The Content of Sugar
A typical issue of sugar contains roughly 100 pages and focuses mainly on fashion, celebrities, boys, real life stories and advice. Keira Knightley, Cheryl Cole, Vanessa Hudgens, Avril Lavigne and many more have all featured on the front cover of Sugar in the past.
The magazine usually starts with a contents page, followed by a double page of letters from the readers, polls and competitions. Sugar then continues with a few celebrity gossip articles and a double page on music, films and TV programmes of the month. A detailed interview with the cover star features after this, along with readers embarrassing stories/confessions and some real-life stories. Subsequent to this are several pages based upon current issues affecting teenagers, before numerous pages filled with fashion and beauty. Sugar finishes each issue with daily horoscopes, a problems/advice pages as well as an A-Z of shops to buy from. In addition to this, Sugar magazine comes with a separate magazine known as “Lad Mag” which also has its own celebrity cover star, real-life stories, advice, stories from columnists and posters.

The Publishing Institution of Sugar
Sugar is currently published by Hachette Filipacchi, the largest magazine publisher in the world. Hachette Filipacchi was founded in 1826 and publishes other magazines such as Elle, Red and many more.

Hachette Filipacchi US website:

The Typical Reader Profile
The average reader of sugar is female and aged between 12 and 17 years old. She loves watching reality TV programmes such as The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and Big Brother and likes to download her favourite music - Leona Lewis, The Jonas Brothers and Rihanna straight onto her mobile phone. In her spare time she enjoys shopping in Topshop, Miss Sixty and Pineapple, as well as instant messaging her friends.
86% of Sugar readers shop online, with 44% spending in excess 9 hours a week online.

Layout Trademarks of Sugar
Different to most magazines, Sugar doesn’t particularly follow a specific layout for each page; each issue and page normally uses different colour schemes, fonts and sizes of headlines. This is most likely done in order to increase its appeal for the younger audience, keeping it fresh, new and exciting, as well as allowing the layout style to change with the latest fashions and trends. In addition to this, Sugar magazine is A5 in size, making it compact and easy to carry around, in comparison to the standard A4 size of most other magazines.

However, certain pages do use similar layouts each issue, but are never exactly the same; the colour scheme is always different. For example the “Write here WRITE NOW!” pages always feature the bold title across the top of the left page, along with a “star letter” double page with some sort of competition next to it. This is one of few pages which has a specific layout.

Does Sugar Reflect the Values of its Audiences?
Sugar definitely reflects its audience’s values; it offers something for all teenage interests whether it be fashion and beauty, real-life stories, music, TV and film gossip etc. As well as this, it’s written informally and in a way the teenage audience can relate to. It also displays affordable yet fashionable items and ideas perfect for young adults who don’t have an income.

Monday, 21 September 2009


As part of my As media coursework, the brief requires me to create the front page, contents and a double page feature spread of a new music magazine. I'm also required to use a desktop publisher such as Adobe InDesign, along with an image manipulation program, for example Adobe Photoshop. I have created this blog in order to record my research and planning which will help me to produce a successful magazine.