The Masthead and Cover Page

In the brief it specified the pages that we had to include:

1. Masthead

2. Two Cover Designs

3. Interview/Review Spread

4. ‘Creative Practice’ Spread

5. Alternative ‘Feature’ Spread

If I had time I also wanted to add a Content page to my design.

Where to start…

So Paul suggested asking ourselves the question of ‘what would 16-20 year old college students be interested in reading about?’.  Below are the things that I thought of:


The Masthead was by far the hardest thing to make a decision on. I mean the names’ of some of the magazines were just so random…Toast…Now Then…Exposed. I looked at a few ideas:


All the names I could think of just sounded so cheesy! I just kept writing down random words that led me to more random words! Could I use text language? Sheffield slang? Ideas related to a spark? Names that related to students?

My favourites were Now You Know, Fusion, Cutting Edge and Echo. We discussed our ideas with Paul and he seemed to like the ones that were random, that had little meaning, I think it was because they sounded quirky and original, if you pick a name that people don’t really relate to anything then it means they can relate it to your magazine.

It was difficult to cut down these names to find one that I liked overall. Now You Know had that quirky edge and it was appropriate because once you’d read the magazine you would now know all about different topics. I really liked the name Fusion, it related to Sheffield as it is a term used in producing Steel products, it also worked in the sense of a student magazine as it was like fusing ideas together and I also wanted a word with an even number of letter so I could made the word as shown on my doodles sheet above, where there are 2 letters on each line, however Sabine and Paige pointed out that when you look at Fusion in this layout you can read it as different words…use your imagination…so that idea was off the table. Cutting Edge…I was so proud for coming up with this…I use ‘coming up with’ loosely as I actually thought of it because it’s already the name of a sculpture. I thought it was clever because ‘cutting edge’ relates to something that is on the edge of genius, something that is a new idea, these are all ways that I would like my magazine to be referred to, secondly ‘cutting edge’ is a term used referring to a knife, knifes can be made out of steel…Sheffield…see the link….ingenious! Unfortunately Paul ‘cut it down’ (excuse the pun) and said it was too cheesy, I thought that I could shorten this title just to ‘The Edge’ or ‘Edge’ but I think there is a climbing place called this and every time I hear this name it just makes me think of being outdoors…I don’t know whether other people would think of this when they saw the name but I didn’t want to take the risk. Finally we come to Echo…I have to attribute this name to Paige…she read it out of the screen when we were looking at titles of magazines and I just loved it! This was the title that got the most positive feedback from Matt and Paul, they felt it had a good balance to it, it was a little bit random but could still be related to a student magazine in that it was echoing the views of students, and it was short and catchy.

So I decided to use Echo.

I already mentioned how I had the idea in my head to do just 2 letter on each line, this worked well with the title Echo because it would make a box. I did a few visuals as I always seem to find that drawing my ideas out leads to better ideas!


In the top left you can see how I considered turning the 2 letters on a line idea into a rectangle, if I used a font that was quite tall and thin then I could make a rectangle, below you can see it in a square instead. On the top left you can see it just as a plain sans serif lowercase font, I added the full stop at the end because I always think it makes it look a little bit quirky. I tried it all in capitals and just the E in capitals and the E and H in capitals. I noticed that the capital H and O were the same shape if you flipped them horizontally…I didn’t know whether I could do something with that, but at the time I couldn’t think of anything. The Echo with the funny looking O is supposed to be the idea of showing the word echoing, so the O would have an outer glow or would be pasted a few times with reduced opacity so that it showed the O echoing.  As you can see at the bottom I also experimented with the rectangle idea and how it would fit on the cover of a magazine, but I’ll come to this later.

I wasn’t sure which I liked the most out of these so I wanted to create them all in Illustrator and then come to a decision.

It was important that I decided what type of magazine I wanted this to be so that then I could make sure my logo reflected this.

So I knew that I couldn’t aim my magazine at all students because there wouldn’t be a magazine style of articles that would appeal to everyone, I knew this much from my Contextual Studies research on Exclusivity. This is a student magazine, so I know that the articles in it wouldn’t necessarily be interviews of famous people…unless someone had those sort of contacts, I remember Matt also mentioning how the college really wanted to promote entrepreneurialism so I felt that the overall feel of my magazine should be to promote the ‘up and coming’, to find things that haven’t yet been found, this is the feel that I wanted to have in all the articles I chose to look at. I wanted the articles I chose to a little bit ‘out there’, I wanted them to have an edge (the Edge name is growing on me!) I wanted them to be a little bit quirky. So how could I get this idea across…? Well I didn’t want to make my Masthead look too corporate, if it were to look quirky  then I needed to think outside the box…hmmm I could try the hand drawn approach…another idea I had in terms of the cover page is that the logo could actually be die cut out and then even issue the background would change, the background would be funky and bright, for this idea to work the font would ideally want to be bold and chunky so you could see a large amount of the pattern behind it.

There didn’t seem to be much of a theme in terms of the fonts that were currently used for Student magazine so I looked at a few different styles, for example Toast uses a Sans Serif font where as Review can be described as a Serif or even Slab Serif font. The type of font used reflects the type of magazine style it is by this I mean that I can assume that because of the Serif font for Review magazine that it is likely to have content that is quite intellectual, obviously this assumption doesn’t work for all as Look Magazine uses a Serif font and that’s a female gossip magazine, however in this case that assumption can be made. In the same way Sans Serif fonts can often look quite modern, I believe this is why it’s used for Toast and Cosmo on Campus, the simplicity of the font gives it a futuristic look which matches the idea of Students being up to date with fashion, music, films, gossip etc.

I had to consider all of these aspects when coming up with a Masthead for my magazine. As I mentioned earlier I thought about making the Masthead look handwritten, I looked at script, handwritten and graffiti fonts; if these looked good then I would consider drawing the logo out in this style to make it authentic.

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 15.35.25

These were the best ones that I could find. I thought that the first one looked quite youthful as a font, it would match the age group however I also felt that it may alienate a lot of people who aren’t a fan of graffiti, graffiti can sometimes seem a little bit intimidating. The one I liked the most was definitely the third one, I felt it looked the most informal and relaxed out of the fonts. I’d like to draw a similar styled font to this and maybe reverse it out of a circle. I think this would suggest the quirky style of the magazine, that it’s quite informal in that it’s written for the students by the students.

I also looked at Sans Serif fonts, when I did my magazine cover research I found that a lot of the more stylish Mastheads I liked tended to use a Sans Serif font, to me it just made the Masthead look sleek and stylish, it seems to suggest a modern magazine in my opinion.

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 15.56.36

The first one and the third one were the ones I liked most, I thought the second and fourth just looked a little bit boring whereas the other two had a stylish edge to them. Unfortunately though I really didn’t like the shape of the e on the first one. I liked the third one but after looking at it in more detail I felt like it was a little too sophisticated for a college magazine and also was too thin to catch the attention of a reader.

Next I looked at fonts with a little more weight to them and tried them in the box style that I had mentioned earlier:

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 10.17.34

The first design is pretty much how I’d imagined it in my head, this was the first visual that I put down, I imagined a slab serif font to give it a slightly retro edge. However after looking at it and seeing whether it was fit for purpose I decided that actually it didn’t really fit the demographic of students…it felt a little bit too over designed for a student magazine. However I did think that maybe it would work if I used the 3rd version of this where it was spelt Echo. Of I was to use the box design I thought that a better font to use would be one that was a little more simplistic, a Sans Serif font. I wasn’t too keen on the second one in a box design because this font is condensed and so it didn’t look right in a square, it would have to be in a rectangle…but a rectangle shape may work better on a magazine cover as it’s rectangular. I really liked it just as horizontal written type. Number 3 shows how the design would look in lower case, I wasn’t too keen on this as I felt the h looks out of place. However I did like the horizontal lower case design of this most as I like the fact that the e c and o are all the same shape. Finally number 4, well this is probably my favourite box design, the letter are wide so they fit well into a square and they are Sans Serif, giving a more simplistic theme to the design.

My only issue now is whether the design is still a bit too complex, I meant most Masheads are just the word written across the top of the page in a particular font…I know some of the designs I looked at in my research didn’t follow this, which I liked because it made the magazine look like it was well thought out and didn’t just follow the norm, which is what I want my magazine to look like. I just don’t know whether the complex design appeals to students as much as just keeping it the same as current magazine designs.

The dilemmas of a designer…

I tried out a few variations of the designs above. I shortened the stem of the h:

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.29.14


I prefer the look of this because it just condenses the amount of unused space around it.

I also added an ‘echo’ symbol to the O on another of the designs, if I’m honest I don’t like the look of this, but I wanted to explore all the different things I could do with the text before I made my final decision. I think it makes it a little unclear on what the word actually is.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.31.51



I tried another version of this with thinner lines, again I wasn’t keen on the look of it.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.42.30

I looked at another way of adding an echo, this looks even worse, however the advantage of it was that the O could be used at a symbol later on in the magazine.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.35.42

I then moved on to applying my favourite designs to a Masthead. I started off by drawing a few visuals of how I thought the Masthead could fit in with the design of the rest of the cover:

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I then tried a few of these ideas in InDesign:

My favourite designs were number 1, 4 and 6. I liked number 1 because it was a little bit quirky and different, Mastheads aren’t normally confined to the centre third of the page, it also left me a versatile space below that I could pretty much apply any design to. Number 4 was very different, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a magazine cover in this style, the only issue with this was where would I put the image? Unless I made a collage in the black space…but then the letters might not stand out as much. Number 6 was really sleek and simple and it had a nice feel to it as I could line up the photos or images with the box that is created around the ECHO. I did like number 2 and 3, I preferred the font used in 3 more than the one in 2 because I liked keeping the black box a square shape. But overall I just felt that the box idea was a lot more effective in the centre of the page as it drew your attention immediately as it was in such a prominent place. I felt that number 5 was a little bit boring, it didn’t have much shape to it and the way I used it on the page was too similar to a lot of gossip/fashion magazines, I wanted the design of my magazine to stand out from the crowd.

Then Paul introduced us to the idea of a modular grid, I’ve used columns before but never a modular grid so the next step was to create one and then implement my design onto it, I felt that doing this would add a lot more structure to the cover and would give a look that was more pleasing to the eye.

Here you can see how every design fits into the grid, the box designs all just use the horizontal grid but number 3 used both the horizontal and vertical grid. As you can see it added a lot to the design making sure it was part of a grid, however the grid would have more impact when I added photos to the design.

I then added photos to all of the design:

When you can see them in context it’s a lot easier to see which ones work best, my favourite was number 2 although I did like the way that I had arranged the type in 1. Number 3 to me looked a little bit boring and although I liked the concept of number 4 it didn’t show the reader any of the content of the inside of the magazine.

So this was my finished design:



I looked at it and although I really like this as a cover design I don’t know if it fitted the brief…is it really appropriate for students. I look at this magazine from a design students perspective and really like it but would a student who has no interest in design still pick it up? In my opinion it looks a little like a photography magazine so my guess would be no they wouldn’t pick it up. So back to the drawing board.

I had another idea that was inspired by this cover design:


I could do a collage as my front cover, then I could include all of the content on the front cover, not only that but I could make the collage in the shape of the issue number that it was, so for example the first one would be a number 1. This style of design has the capability to add a lot of bright eye catching colours to the design.

Matt suggested a few collage designers that I could have a look at, the first was Robert Rauschenberg:

He produced collages like this:

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Most of them use bright colours, they use images that have been treated differently, they use paint as well as photo..although they all seem so random he manages to tie them together quite well. I really like this sort of design because it’s so interesting, it makes you think about how the images could all be linked and there’s so much going on that the eye rushes around the page. I don’t think I would use paint but I could add other elements besides photography into my collage.

The other artist was Kurt Schwitters.

He produced collages like this:

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Schwitters’ designs seem to been more layered than the work of Rauschenberg, in my opinion there also seems to be more attention given to the diverse shapes that are used and how they fit together collectively. The seems to be a wider range of different media used. I’m not sure which artist I prefer! I like the colour that is used in Rauschenberg’s work however I like the depth and how Schwitters uses a range of different shapes. These will both influence my collage design.

I used all of the photos that I’d taken for the articles, I also kept the fonts consistent to the font that I’d used for the article. I had a different font that was used for all of the ‘INTERVIEW’ ‘STUDENT REVIEW’ ‘INTERVIEW’ text.

I started by saturating all the images of colour and then printing them, I then cut out all of the photos, I tried to use straight edges as I cut them. I then tried to stick them on in the abstract shape of a 1. I then took a photo of them.

This is the image I started with:

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I then adjusted the levels in order to make the paper whiter.

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Next I adjusted the Brightness/Contrast to make the background completely white and to emphasise the darkness in the photos.

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Finally I Posterised the image to make, I felt like this added a bit more of an urban side to the photos.

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I wanted to highlight all of the ‘INTERVIEW’ and ‘STUDENT REVIEW’ titles so I drew a shape around them and coloured them in the same colour, I decided that the colour theme for this design would be blue.

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So I started to add different shades of blue shapes to the design, I then applied different filters to the shapes, such as Multiply, Hard Light, Overlay, Colour, Colour Burn, Lighten and Divide.

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This broadly covered all of the photos. Next I added extra shapes to the image so that it would give it more interest. I tried to use this shapes to define the shape of the one further.

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I then cut out the shape, and imported it into Indesign. I applied it onto a grey background because I didn’t want to detract from it, however I did want the background to have some colour. I then applied the Masthead to the photo and then applied the ‘Echo magazine Issue 1’ to beneath the Masthead.

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Finally I had to add The Sheffield College logo to the page, I chose to place it at the bottom of the page in a black box, as if it was mirroring the Masthead, I made it the same width of the letters ECHO letters were.

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This footer seemed a little bit too big in comparison to the rest of the magazine, so I made it a little bit smaller, now it no longer fit in with the line of the ECHO letters, however it did still in keep with my grid.


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I followed a similar method for the second cover page except the photos that I used for the collage were not my own because obviously I hadn’t written these second articles so I hadn’t taken the photos for them like I had for the first cover.

This was my original photo:

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 18.36.15

Again I used the Levels to whiten the page a little more:

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I then increased the contrast to make the contrast between the images and the page a bit more obvious:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.35.48

Then I added all of the different shapes in red this time, I used a completely different colour so that it would be obvious to the reader that this was a new issue of the magazine. I used a variety of different filters combined with different shades of red.

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I then cut this out using the pen tool and applied it to my front cover.

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I really liked how because I cut out the parts of the paper and the shadow that had been shown in the photography it made the collage look like it was stuck on and authentic. However I wasn’t completely happy with this final image so I added a bit more colour variation:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.42.18

I felt that adding the colour variation made the ‘INTERVIEW’ titles more obvious as they stood out a bit more being in the same colour, I thought that the extra shapes made it look more like a 2 because the triangle made it curve around a bit more.

I also experimented with cutting the whole of the Sheffield logo out of the black box, so that you could see the grey background through the logo, as you can with the Echo Masthead, however this didn’t look great as the grey didn’t even go halfway through the logo (shown below).

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.21.42


So instead I decided to just keep the Sheffield College logo as white.


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