Research Overview

I looked at some of the magazine resources that were in Moodle to get an idea of the sort of magazines that  were out there, I found it difficult to find some of the magazines such as Toast and Now Then in an actual magazine format on their website, it seemed like they’d just put the information on the website and that it wasn’t available to read as a magazine so I went into Sheffield to look for some of the magazines. The idea of this was to get an overview on what magazines were already out there, what style the cover was, what did the magazine talk about and what artist twist they used to do this.


Review is a magazine produced by Sheffield Hallam University, from what I can gather they produce 2 magazines a year one at the beginning of the year Autumn/Winter and the second in Spring, but they may also produce one in Summer. Below are the Autumn/Winter issue and the Spring Issue.

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The paper stock of Review was one that I really liked because it looked stylish whilst being practical, it was a fairly thick matte stock which I though made it appear stylised, as opposed to another magazine of a newsagents self, and it was thick enough so it didn’t rip easily, however not too thick which would make the magazine more bulky.

Review was a great magazine to look at because it is aimed at students so it was useful to see what topics they looked at and whether they chooses to use students for the article topics, the difference with this magazine to the one that I am producing is that this one has no advertising in it. The majority of the articles in these magazines are linked to the University, this is a great idea as Universities are so vast that you rarely get to know about every success story and this helps inform people however I don’t think this approach would work for college students. College students aren’t as highly educated as University students and aren’t normally the same age either, in my opinion these differences are why this approach would be less successful, students aged 16 and above tend to find their interests in music, films, concerts etc. although the occasional college success story might interest some and spur them on I don’t think a magazine full of this would catch much attention from the majority of students. This magazine is aimed at the more educated reader as the articles are well written, in a formal standard and the topics included (aside from the ones linked to the university) are news articles debating what the future of public sector employees. However when you read the Spring issue there is a different tone to it, the articles are still of a high standard but the topics seem a little less student focused, there’s a page about the famous game ‘flappy bird’, The Tour de France is mentioned and Sheffield Food Festival is written about. To me the second issue will appeal to a wider range of students, this approach is more similar to the one I would pick, I would choose to write about events that are coming up that could be of interest, or maybe a phase that everyone has heard about such as flappy bird, a TV show, a genre of music.

Looking specifically at the design of these magazines they do look incredibly professional and the paper stock used adds to this. There is an obvious corporate style and similarity on where the header and sub title sit on every page, unfortunately I think this is too professional for a student magazine, for this magazine I think it matches the content but for the magazine I want to produce I was the design to captivate students. Few people read a magazine cover to cover, instead they flick through until they see a topic they like or a design catches their eye, if the pages of my magazine were this corporate and had little diversity I don’t think a lot of college students would give it a chance, I know I would struggle to. However I do need to be aware of remaining some design consistency so that the same template can easily be used for the next issue of the article. I like how this magazine does’t just use one type of media, it uses graphical art, illustration and photography, this makes it a lot more interesting for the reader and is definitely something that I want to make sure I take advantage of.


I haven’t photographed all the pages of this magazine as there is also a website. Toast isn’t specifically a student magazine although from the design and content I would say it is aimed at students and young adults who have an interest in music, festivals and concerts.

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The paper stock of this magazine seemed pretty normal, it was a fairly thick gloss which is typical of what the majority of mainstream magazines use. I think this worked effectively for a magazine with this content because the people who read it would be a similar audience to those reading mainstream magazines; in that they don’t really care much for the design of the magazine, they are more bothered about the content.

I really liked how this magazine was set up, there was a consistency in certain areas of the magazine, for example their articles were all laid out in the same style, so were all their ‘Compete’ pages, events pages and so on, however all the special feature interview pages were completely original. This shows what parts they want you to focus on, it makes it so clear where the interview starts and finishes and really draws you in. I like this approach and I think it’s something I’d like to adopt, I could design all the special feature pages in a specific way but then remain consistency with other pages. The style of this magazine was very informal with articles written with causal language, I prefer this writing style to the ‘Review’ writing style as I think that college students with understand the language a lot more and not feel that reading the magazine is a chore but actually something they enjoy doing. Advertising won’t be successful unless the readers relate to it in a positive way.

Cosmo on Campus

This magazine stems from Cosmopolitan, a female gossip/fashion magazine, Cosmo on Campus is a free student magazine with the same style as Cosmopolitan put for a student target market specifically.

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This was made of a very thin matte paper stock that made it seem cheap…but it was free so I can’t really say that was a negative thing!

Obviously the first major problem with this is that it is specifically aimed at a female market and my magazine will be aimed at both boys and girls but it’s useful to look at the design and what topics they choose to talk about. I found the design of this magazine incredibly inconsistent, it seems to switch between 4 column and 3 column, every page is different whether that means it having photos in a different place or a coloured tab added to the side of it. Some of the header fonts are used more than one throughout the magazine but equally some of them are completely random. This does make the magazine interesting but it also means that every page jumps out at you so there doesn’t really seem to be much focus on what the most important pages are. This magazine is extremely informal and looks at the topics of fashion, jobs, food etc. I think these topics are great for students because a lot of students can feel the constraints of money as they get older and cheap fashion options always appeal to this age group, the focuses of this magazine are fashion, beauty and gossip, there are pages that address issues that may not be appropriate if the magazine is run by the college! This magazine is also different from the others I have discussed because it is national so it’s not looking at Sheffield specifically, therefore it doesn’t mention events or gigs like the others do and which is something that I’d like to include.

Now Then

This is a magazine that focuses specifically on supporting art, trade and citizen journalism in Sheffield and Manchester. I didn’t photograph every page as it has a website.

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This was the nicest paper stock that I saw, it was a thick matte coat, if I could chose a paper stock for my magazine it would be this one, the fact that it was matte made the magazine different, you knew it wasn’t main stream, the thickness of the paper stock made the magazine seem like one of quality.

I absolutely love the design of this magazine! It’s so sleek and has a great consistency to it; most pages are 4 column, articles tend to have a block banner with the title in, whilst event pages have a block of colour down one side of the page, some of the pages are slightly different but there is such a obvious theme throughout. I think there needs to be this theme throughout my magazine, where not every page is the same but you can tell that they all ‘go’ together. This is very minimal and stylish design and as I said I really like it, however I don’t think that this design will appeal to college students as much as for example the toast design would, the topics included would probably be the same.


Exposed is a magazine that looks specifically at entertainment in Sheffield. I couldn’t manage to find Exposed magazine so I’ve given the online magazine link below.

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This was made out of a paper stock that was fairly standard, it was a similar paper thickness to the average magazine however it didn’t have a gloss cover like most other magazines.

I think the front cover of this is a similar style to Toast and Cosmo on Campus, they’re all very commercial. They look similar to the magazine covers that you would see in a newsagent, big title of magazine at the top of the page, photo of a celebrity and then a title that would attract the attention of a reader. The advantage of this is that if it looks like a professional magazine people are possibly drawn to it more because it looks like something they would buy, the cover is packed with information and so it makes the reader feel like there are lots of interesting articles inside the magazine, the photo of the celebrity immediately attracts people as it makes them want to know why that celebrity is on the cover. However the disadvantage of this is that not everyone likes the celebrity on the front cover, if the magazine was just to have an interesting design for the front cover it might make people look inside and see all the articles that are on offer, another disadvantage is that if this magazine looks similar to others people can just become immune to it, they think it’s just another gossip magazine and therefore don’t give any attention to it. Therefore in my magazine I want to have an original front cover that doesn’t look similar to other magazines, that follows a ‘different’ structure, for example like the Now Then cover.

In terms of the content of the magazine, there is a consistency throughout, on every page there is a black line running along the header of every page. The font used for the Exposed title is used throughout the magazine for headers and subtitles, however it is in different sizes and colours. There is also consistency in different sections of the magazine, for example there is a section of the magazine dedicated to reviews, this is about 8 pages long and it all shares the same design throughout these pages, I like this because it makes it obvious to the reader where the article starts and finishes.

However even saying this I found it difficult sometimes when flicking through to know the difference between an article and an advert, this highlights just how important it is to have visual consistency throughout, I don’t think the line across the top is enough to inform the reader that this is in fact an article, I think there needed to be something else, maybe a header or side title on every page.

Another similarity that I noticed between Exposed and Toast is that their interview pages have a completely different style to the remaining pages in the magazine, as I mentioned earlier, I think this is very effective and would like to carry this forward into my design.


This is a free magazine that I found whilst I was visiting Hull, I thought this magazine was posed to a different market to all of the other magazines that I’d researched. This magazine looked at a more arty spectrum of topics such as Art, Culture, Photography, I loved the photography in this magazine, however the paper stock felt low quality, it felt like newspaper however it was a bit too thin.

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In my opinion there didn’t seem to be much consistency throughout this magazine, the photography could be argued to be of a similar style, however not all of the photography was consistency one style of colour theme, the only thing that really stood out to me as consistent was that the articles always used 2 columns, there didn’t seem much variation on this. The photographs are cropped different sizes, some with a border and others full bleed so this is another aspect that isn’t consistent. I quite liked the look of the page with the black background and then black and white photo, I also like how some of the photos are in black and white and others full colour. My favourite photos is the one of the skateboarder in the middle of the circular ramp, I love how it works so well with the page and it’d be good if I could get photography like this.

In Conclusion

Therefore I have come to the conclusion that I want my magazine to be inspired by ‘Now Then’ and also ‘Toast’. I love the consistency and sleek design of Now Then but I think it need to be a little more experimental and interesting if it is to reach younger people. I’m not as keen on the overall design of Toast as I feel it’s too similar to commercial magazines that already exist, in my opinion it cannot even compete with the style of Now Then but equally I don’t think it’s meant to, the target market is different and Toast is aimed at students and young adults. I like the topics discussed in Toast and I’d like to follow through the idea of having the interview page as a special unique design.

In terms of photography I want to take photos that are inspired by the style of ‘Frayed’, it’s urban and individual and I love how this style of photographs is maintained throughout, however I would want to keep some consistency with the cropping of the image, whether this means keeping a border all the way around all of the images or deciding that they’ll all be full bleed.


Cover Page Research

I wanted to look specifically at the cover of magazines and not just local Sheffield magazines but magazines from around the world and discuss which I feel are most effective and why.

Eloquence Magazine


I don’t recognise this magazine at all but I have fallen in love with the innovative design of it. The magazine is called Eloquence Magazine and as you can see that is what it spells on the font, whilst also revealing the photo that the article is about through it. I could do this with the title of Echo and have it cut out of a square and reveal one of the articles through the letters. I just thought this was a great way to include the Masthead as part of the overall design instead of it just being something that has to be put on the front but is an inconvenience.


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Shown are some of the older versions of Esquire along with a more recent version. The interesting thing I felt about these covers is that they are so simple, a lot of magazines clutter their front pages with article titles in the hope that at least one of the titles will appeal to a customer, Esquire knows that they should aim themselves at a specific market and not just try and get everyone onboard. They do this through their interesting photography, this photography won’t appeal to everyone but it did specifically appeal to me because the interesting image intrigues be, why is that woman in a bin? Why does Mohammed Ali have arrows stuck through him? It would make me want to pick up the magazine and find out. The cover with Phillip Seymour Hoffman caught my eye because the type is interacting with that photo, if you look closely the type actually reveals all the magazine content, this way the type isn’t cluttering the page but actually attracting attention because of it’s artistic nature. One aspect that I feel lets this magazine down is the Masthead, this might just be personal preference but I really dislike the font that is used, it just seems so inconsistent in it’s curves and so I don’t find it appealing however it is quirky and one thing I do like about this is that because the photography is so simple it allows the Masthead to be a little more quirky.




This magazine caught my eye because the Masthead was so detailed, the magazines I’m used to seeing look like this:

fashion-magazine[1] Glamour-December12_cover_gl_26oct12_pr_bt Look-Magazine-Cover

They use a similar style of font although some choose sans serif others use serif, they have a bit of writing above the title and then the whole of the magazine cover is just packed with information!

I loved the Masthead for Maverick because the typeface and how each letter interacts has been carefully considered. The Masthead actually draws my attention more that the image does. Not only this but all the type on the cover has been considered so that the main type you are attracted to is the Masthead and issue number, instead of being overwhelmed with information. The simplicity of the rest of the cover allows the Masthead to be so elegant and individual.

I’d like to use this idea for my Masthead; that I can make it interesting so long as I remember to keep the rest of the design simplistic.

I need to ask the question: Am I going to draw people in with my articles or with the actually design?

Let’s be honest the articles may not be what everyone wants to read, they will be about up and coming artists not necessarily the ones who everyone knows about, therefore it is unlikely that people will pick up the magazine and read it purely for that one article therefore I think that my magazine needs to draw people in through it’s interesting design that intrigues them to have a look and see what the whole magazine is about.




I have never heard of the article before and have absolutely no idea what it’s about but the cover grabbed me. The first thing that interested me was the fact that the Masthead was horizontal…this was an idea that I discussed earlier and I think for this cover design it really works…although I don wish that I knew was the title meant! One issue that there could possibly be with this is that people may not read my title as ‘Echo’ but instead read it as just the letter E C H O. The second thing that I loved in this magazine is the interesting front covers it seems to be a montage of various different photos and it uses colour overlays to make it even more eye catching. This gave me the idea that actually I could present all the article photos together in a collage like this, I could maybe even always make sure that it produces a certain shape…could the shape be the number that issue is? There are to be 3 produced a year, maybe they could be produced in a design of 1-3.



Following on from the design above this magazine goes even further with photo editing and actually seems to deface the photo, there is also some type underneath the image that follows the style. If I am to follow the traditional way of Masthead in the top left-hand corner and a photo making the background of the front cover I’d want to follow in a style like this where it is ‘different’ it adds a more interesting side to the photo and colours catch your eye.


JPG mag cover

Again, I’ve never heard of this magazine the only reason I included it is because of the Masthead, if I’m honest I don’t like this cover at all, the photo is odd and the colours aren’t appealing but it’s just another example of how the Masthead can work in the corner of a page, it does’t have to got across the top like most Mastheads do. Another observation is that in comparison to other Mastheads, like the Fashion ones shown above, the type isn’t actually that big, the reason your eye is attracted to it isn’t because the font is interesting or in your face but actually because of the background that it has been placed on…this is definitely something to consider when I am thinking of colours to use.

Rolling Stone

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These covers have got to be some of the ones I love looking at…why? Because the photography is incredible…no one photo is the same in it’s style, every photo makes me think, it shows a different side of that celebrity, it shows them in a different light. The Masthead reflects the retro roots that this magazine has, it is so famous that often the celebrities photos cover it and people still recognise it. I’ll admit I’m not a fan of all the photos, some I find a little too provocative…they’re definitely not afraid to put a half naked woman on the front. I would still argue that there is maybe a little too much type on the front, however because the photos are so influential it doesn’t impede of the impact. I don’t think I’d ever be able to take photos as good as this but I think if I was interviewing a famous celebrity it’s often nice to show a side of them that the public doesn’t always do, and doing this through photography is an incredible talent.

Little White Lies

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I am just amazed by the design of Little White Lies, I wish I could illustrate as well as this! I included this at the end just to remind myself that photography isn’t the only route, I can choose illustration as a way to depict a celebrity or band. I also wanted to look at the Masthead, as you can see the font and layout has changed of the type over the last few years, and I definitely think the modern layout, on 3 lines, looks a lot better, but I like how this Masthead is completely different from the other ones I have seen, it’s in the middle of the page and  has part of the barcode, it really stands out because it contrasts the image massively. I know that the reason the Masthead is placed in the top left hand corner is because when it’s on a magazine shelf that is the only bit that is seen, however on my magazine, it won’t be on a magazine shelf, it is more likely to be stacked on a table so you can see the whole cover, therefore I don’t need to limit myself to having the Masthead in the top left hand corner.

Looking through all these magazines has definitely fuelled more ideas…bring on the designing!

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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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).

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

Alternative ‘Feature’ Spread

So for this, as you know from my previous posts that I decided to use it for a student review page…it could be reviewing a TV show, a film, an album, a festival or concert but the main idea is that it is students who tell other students what to watch/buy/go to or what not to watch/buy/go to. The content would be kept up to date with films coming out on DVD, or at the cinema, albums that are out recently or maybe if that band is going on tour soon, a festival that is coming up soon, the review would look at what happened last year and the acts that would be coming up this year.

I thought that the first film I could look at could in fact be The Amazing Spiderman 2, I wanted to use vector graphics and I felt that this film would fit in well with this style.

Leader Page

My idea was that the design would be inspired by Saul Bass, there would be no curved edges, everything would be straight and block colours would be used, and few of them. I then wanted the whole review to be a review that involved icon, maybe like a info graphic, so it wouldn’t be another article for a student to have to read, but that the content could easily be skimmed over.

So first I need to get some research, I looked at Saul Bass posters and also some recent ones that looked at Spiderman.

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Bass picks out the most important part of the film and illustrates it in a very modern style, he never seems to use a perfect curve or a perfectly straight line, it’s like as if they are deliberately drawn to look a little bit disfigured. He uses block colours and the main focus of the poster tends to be in black, making it look like a silhouette.

This is the sort of style I want to recreate for my vector graphics.

I tried to capture the style of Saul Bass whilst making it my own, I wanted something that was simple and minimalist, something that would make people think and want to turn over the front cover.

You can see the steps I took here to developing my final design, number 1 shows my first attempt at illustrating this shape, I wasn’t happy with this so I redrew it, which is shown in 2, then finally I just made it a little smaller so that it looked more minimal and the spider wasn’t overpowering the page.

I then applied my Masthead to it:

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Double Page Headline

Next came designing the next two pages…my first idea was to put a spiderweb across the page, I had a few attempts at this but in the end decided to drop it because it looked a bit childish, if I had time the I’d come back to it.

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Instead I decided to look at how I would present the type, I drew a few visuals but the thing that took some time was finding the right typeface, I started with the obvious, using the typeface from the film.

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I recreated the film typeface by downloading a similar font off the internet, then adjusting the kerning, I then made it white, I noticed that the film typeface had a drop shadow to it, so I added a shadow that I thought was most similar, the there was also an inner red glow that I noticed so I added that, I attempted to get the spacing as close to the real thing as I could. As you can see I tried various different typefaces to see if they would compliment it.

The real problem with this typeface was that it didn’t match the style of my illustration on the page before, it wasn’t reserved and minimal and the effects I added to it made it seem a lot more complex than before.

I did a bit of research on the internet as to how other graphic designers had presented The Amazing Spiderman, and I found this:

Spiderman Poster

I’d wanted to use the film typeface because I thought that people wouldn’t recognise the film if I didn’t but when I saw this poster it made me think how actually easily I recognised that this was about spiderman because of the colours used and that my eye was drawn to the ‘SPIDERMAN’ in the middle of the page. I felt that it was more important to create something that looked visually good as people were already likely to know that the review was about The Amazing Spiderman from the illustration and also because it was mentioned on the front cover!

I looked back at the original The Amazing Spiderman comics to see if I could get any inspiration:

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Looking at these made me think that it would be good if I could bring the web back into my design as it’s at the top of every comic. I really liked the typeface as it was a Bold Condensed typeface that I felt would match my illustration a lot better. I liked how the Spiderman was emphasised with a drop shadow, and I thought that I could also try doing the the is a similar style to the comic. I felt that on my design the white with black drop shadow would probably be the most effective. The one thing that I decided not to take forward from these comics was the shape that the type was in, I didn’t like the rounded path that the type followed.

This was the finished result:

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I tried it in two different sizes, I wasn’t quite sure about the font so I changed that a bit to get a font that was condensed as I thought this would compliment the illustration a lot more.

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I really liked both of these, I felt that having the letters a little more condensed matched the illustration a little more as the legs of the spider were thin and so I didn’t want a font that was too ‘chunky’.

I wasn’t sure if this style was in keeping with my minimal style that I had used for the cover image. I felt maybe this was because of all the effects used so I took them away.

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I tried different colours and I quite liked the black, this also matched the colour of the spider. I still didn’t think it matched the design of the illustration so I looked through different fonts.

Infographics Research

I started by researching reviews, to see what sort of content they normally spoke about.

I don’t want my review to be as detailed as these, the problem with reading these is that you end up finding out a lot of what happens in the film, sometimes you just want a review to tell you whether it’s a film you’ll enjoy not tell you the storyline. By this I mean that I want to create a review that gives you a brief overview of what to expect if you watch this film, what’s the balance; is it a love story, a tragedy, terrifying, horror etc. One of my ideas is that students actually rate out of 10 how they think this film scores in eat of the categories because we all know that an action film can also involve romance along with other characteristics.

Another thing I learnt from these reviews is that they look at lot at how well the actor played the character, I could use a rating system to show how well that actor performed. This could lead on to the students picking their favourite character. In a way these could act as Top Trumps cards.

I then did some specific research on Infographics to get an idea of the different info graphics that I could use and then also to look at the layout of these info graphics, because I knew how difficult it would be to place everything on one page!

I found this great page on Creative Bloq that was really helpful with getting some ideas for different info graphics:

This page really opened my eyes to how broad infographics were, I always thought that inforgraphics were just were a series of icons showing information were placed on a page but this site showed me how infographics is just when any information is shown thought pictures, icons, symbols etc. This made me realise that I didn’t have to limit my inforgraphic just to icons, it could be any visual reference that would show information.

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I like this one of the left hand side because all of the icons used relate to what the information is saying, you can easily glance at the article and get a rough idea of what it is trying to tell you, I like how there is a clear grid system in use here, they make it obvious where information starts and ends by using lines to separate the information. However I don’t want my review to have as much type as this does, I want the information to be purely presents by vectors. This info graphic on the right is very bright, it’s talking about how laws are made which is a journey so I like how they have represented this journey with a path, it’ obvious where each set of information starts and finishes because of the difference in colour.

I thought I could also use a 3 out of 10 people think…as these are really straight forward and can show information quickly.

My final idea came from looking at the book Super Graphic by Tim Leong, I was inspired by the fact that he combined the characteristic of the superhero with statistics about the film or superhero. I thought that it would be good if I could do the same and combine the whole idea of Spiderman with statistics…this was difficult at first but the I thought of how I could use a web as a pie chart/bar chart, the higher the bar was in the web the higher it was rated…if this doesn’t make sense stay tune and hopefully it will when you see it!

Character Profiles

I created all of the illustration on Adobe Illustrator. I started off with the character profiles. I knew I wanted to do them in a similar style to the illustration on the leading page, minimal and made purely of straight lines.

I saw a poster online that used just spiderman’s eyes, I used this concept for the Spiderman icon:



I traced spider mans eyes off a photo of him just using straight lines, I then had to decide how I wanted to present the profile, I tried in a box, in a circle and then had the idea of in a comic strip style. I thought the comic strip style was a winner, however when I placed it onto the full double page magazine spread it looked out of place, so I decided to go for the box shape.


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This is my finished design:

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I used the same font that I had in the title to remain consistency, I also drew some stars and used them for the star rating at the bottom of the page.

The next profile I did was Gwen Stacy, originally I wanted to draw just her blonde hair:

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However I thought that the outline of her hair looked a little bit childish and didn’t match the Spiderman icon, so instead I changed it to a heart.

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I used pink to show that she was the love interest and then I used the same red I used for spiderman to show that she loved spiderman, although it probably just looks like a red heart to most people!

Electro was a fairly easy icon to do, I did a bolt of electricity, I used the colours that Electro was associated with in the film, which was blue.

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The Green Goblin was the icon I found the most difficult to do, I decided to try and do a similar shaped head to the Green Goblin:

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I just thought this looked awful! I was really difficult to keep it minimal whilst at the same time making it a shape that looked like the Green Goblin. So I looked to see if Oscorp had a symbol that I could recreate.

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I found this, so I recreated it using just straight lines. I used the green background to reflect the Green Goblin.

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I applied them all to the double page spread using the grid system. They didn’t fit into my grid system very well, there was always a large gap towards one end go the icons, so I decided to make a gap between them in the centre, here I added two comic style arrows that I’d drawn, with one pointing saying Goodies and the other Bad Guys. I also added the title, Main Characters.

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Type of Film

The next part I looked at was the overall type of film it was, by this I mean that often when I watch films I want to know roughly what type of film it is, it may be an action film but is there an element of romance to it or it just downright tragedy. So I devised a rating scale that would show this. I picked out 5 genres that I thought showed the elements of most films, I then thought of an icon that could represent it.

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I wanted to use fairly simplistic icons that would easily be recognisable, the heart is the easier way to show romance and the same with the sad face. Instead of using a smiling face for the comedy I wanted to use something that college students would relate to more, that’s why I used LOL, I thought the Pow related well to the comic book feel that I was trying to use elements of for this page and I used the knife to represent horror/gore as I felt this would be the first thing that came to students heads when they saw this. I tried this as a full colour vector and then a just black, white and grey. I then tried them on the red background to see whether that effected them.


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I decided that I liked the black, white and grey version more because it didn’t make the page too busy. As you can see in the example above I added the genres next to each of the icons to make them easier to recognise. However then as I was laying out my page I found that it actually fit a lot better without having the genre titles next to it, it fit more effectively in the space below the other icons.

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However when I got to the end of this cover page I realised that actually it would fit in better with the other vectors if I was in fact colourful and busy, as that was the style of the page. I realised that actually minimal didn’t mean using no colour at all, actually my design was more effective if I did use colour just limited the colours that I used. So I changed some of the colours that I’d used in these vectors to the same colours that I’d used for other vectors.

This is the final design I chose to go with:

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I wanted to use a graph that I had a link to spiderman, I thought about using a spider or a web but found it difficult to visualise how I could make these into graphs. I drew out the web idea and found that I could use it as a bar chart that went in a circle instead of a straight line. This could show different parts of the film, originally I thought that I could write the areas they were rating above that part of the web, but then I felt that it would be better if instead I colour coded it and used a key.

First came drawing the web, I wanted to draw it in a way that didn’t make it look perfect because then it could look like a clipart image however I did want the bars to be roughly the same size so that it didn’t suggest that one was worth more than another.

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I then drew a shape around the web that I wanted to colour in to make the bar. And moved it behind the web:

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To me this looked a little bit boring, I thought I could use something more interesting. So I drew two lines and then used the blend tool to create this:

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I then used the shape of the bar that I’d draw as a clipping mask so that my blended shape would fit in the space provided:

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In my opinion this made the web look a lot cooler, it added an extra skill to the web. I used this same technique on all of the other bars:

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Finally I had to create a key, I copied and pasted all of the bars (so that the key had the blend going in the same line direction as the diagram) and created a clipping mask of them over a box shape, I then added a stroke around the box. Here is my finished design:

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People Icons

This was probably the most simple icon I did, I drew an icon of a person:

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I then copied it into indesign and used my grid to arrange it. The main reason that I chose to split the people apart was because I wanted it to show my grid. However I realised after trying them all bunched together that it actually put more emphasis on the figures, it made you look at the 3 because it stood out from the crowd (literally and metaphorically!). I then added text beneath the icons to explain their meaning:

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I felt like this design looked a little bit squished together, there wasn’t much space between each set of icons and statements so it didn’t make it nice to read. So I  decided to delete the first part of the sentence that said ‘3 out of 10 students’ I felt that it was pretty obvious what the diagram was showing and that people would be able to figure out what it meant. This then meant that I had more space to play with.

Right at the end of the project I decided that I wanted to limit the colours used of the page so instead of using grey for the icons I used white:

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The image on the left shows how the icons fit into my grid. I couldn’t make all the text fit into my grid as I didn’t want the type to be all different heights so I want really relying on the icons to enforce the grid system and when you see it in the context of the page I think you can see the consistency.

As you can see my third comment is not a serious one but I felt that this would make the review more applicable to students as it’s light hearted and funny, adding entertainment to the review.


I wanted to have something that could give you a vague overview of the film, whether it was completely rubbish or whether it was good, a simple scale. I wanted this to have a really studenty (made up word) feel to it, I wanted it to be a scale that students could relate to, one that wasn’t just a scale from 1-5.

I spent a lot of time trying to come up with ideas for this, I knew that broadly I wanted there to be 5 stages:

Terrible Film

Bad, but not the worst

Not bad

Need to watch

Nothing I’d rather watch


I wanted icons that would reflect this sort of theme, my first idea was marmite…you either love it or hate it…it’s middle ground, it could be good but it could be bad, it depends on who you are.

The next one I could think of was something that related to a toilet, everybody associates a toilet as something that’s not great so I thought that could fit under the terrible film or maybe even the bad but not the worst.

Pot noodle…every students essential…therefore this would be the Nothing I’d rather watch…this film is essential for life…just like Pot Noodle!

The last two were the ones I struggled with the most, I thought I could use a make of car or a drink but nothing stood out to me that would fit into either of these categories. Then I had it…one thing that students are definitely used to…sleeping, I felt that a pillow could be used for the bad, but not the worst to suggest that this film would send you to sleep!

Final one…no ideas…food….students are lazy…fast food…McDonald’s (this is my thought process) McDonald’s, it’s good but not the best, therefore it would be my need to watch.

I knew where I wanted each of these to fit on the scale, as I’ve mentioned above, however I didn’t think that the titles I’d used were the most effective for each stage, so instead I changed these titles to things that corresponded with the icon:

Total Plop!

Bring me a pillow

Love it or hate it

I’m loving it

Essential for life

I then had to draw the icons that would match these words, I wanted to keep them in a similar style to the ones that I’d drawn for the profile pictures. Therefore that meant using just straight lines and as few colours as I could.

I completed them all in black and white from tracing a photo:

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I then placed them on my page with the titles and decided that I would put the one that describes that film in colour:

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I wasn’t completely happy with the finished product, I thought it looked a bit dull with no colour and also it wasn’t that obvious which was the icon that described the film. I didn’t think all the icons looked at their best and the lines were too thin, so I went and changed this. After making these changes I then experimented with how I could make it obvious which icon was the one that described the film most.


This was my final spread:

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I spoke to Paul and he told me to work on the layout a bit and also look at how the type works, as some of it was left aligned and some was centred, so I carried on tweaking.

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I experimented with how I could make the web look more centred.

I still wasn’t happy with it, I got some advise from a graphic designer who I do work experience with and he suggested a complete change of layout, he said that at the moment my page wasn’t really working as a magazine spread because there was so much going on and everything was a similar size that your eye didn’t know where to look.

I changed the size of the title to create more room and tried to integrate the web info graphic with the rest of the page instead of it standing by itself. Shown below are some of the different designs that I tried.

I really liked the lat two designs but the colour didn’t seem to match too well, so I tried different colour backgrounds, another thing I didn’t like was the I didn’t know what to put in the boxes of the icons that didn’t have anything in them.

I thought all of these colours worked better together than the red but my problem was that none of these accept the black remotely matched the cover page that I’d already designed so I redesigned it. I really liked the lighter blue, it complimented the other colours I’d used in the info graphics the most.

Final Changes

I coloured picked a lighter blue out of The Amazing Spider-man’s suit and used that for the background. I spend a long time making final tweaks to the page, including finding the right background blue, re sizing and positioning the title, changing the background of the leading page and the size of the font used (so that it matched the size I used for the front cover), I changed the weight of some of the outlining lines to make them thinner so that the object was easier to recognise. I also added a short explanatory paragraph below each of the questions to further explain the info graphic.

These changes are shown below.

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I also tried to add a web effect to the bar chart but this just seemed to overpower the rest of the icons so I decided not the go through with it.

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This is my final design:

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I decided not to have the 2 on the second page as I felt it might get lost in the crease of the centre of the page, I used a bright blue as this was one of the colours I colour picked from spider-mans suit, it was also the colour I’d used for the Electro icon. I decided that the title looked better if everything was centred as opposed to just one line being left aligned. I used type hierarchy so that the eye would be guided around the page from the title to the introductory paragraph to the icons, then to the wen and finally working it’s way down the second page to the rating scale. I reduced the weight of the lines, especially for some of the icons in the rating scale as it was hard to read the words on the marmite and pot noodle.

‘Creative Practice’ Spread

I had a few initial ideas about what I could do for the Creative Practice Spread…but the one that over ruled them all was looking into Localed, a clothing company founded in Sheffield, an old friend of mine had set it up so I contacted him for an interview so that I could find out a bit more about the company, then I bought two T-shirts so that I could take my own photographs. I decided that for the photos I wanted to take them in places that people would link to Sheffield. Like for example the train station, the fountains in peace gardens, the University buildings, Meadowhall etc. However I also wanted to take some photos that didn’t necessarily have this obvious link, for example against a brick wall as these would put the emphasis on the T-Shirt.


Two models…285 photos later and I had a few photos that I liked the look of.

I went through all of my photos and chose my favourite ones, I decided that I wanted to show off as many as I could that had a background that was representative of Sheffield, however I did have some good photos that I liked that had a different background so I used them too.

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Then I picked the ones I liked the most out of this and cropped them:

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I decided that I wanted the photos to all be in Black and White, this was because the T-Shirts were in Black and White, this also left the potential to use a filter colour over the top, I thought I could use one of the other colours that they produce the T-shirt in, a maroon, dark green, light blue or grey, but I’ll experiment with that later. Mike suggest using a blur in the background of all of the photos so that the full focus of the image would be on the T-shirt, so I also applied this affect.

I used a similar technique on every photo to what I’ve used on this one below:

This was the original photo:


I wasn’t too keen on the pose that the model was pulling so I decided to crop the photo so that only the mouth could be seen, this also added more emphasis to the T-shirt instead of the model. I cropped the majority of my photos so that the background didn’t appear too busy and so detract from the T-shirt.

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I then saturated the image:

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I then used the brightness/contrast tool to increase the contrast, this gave the image more depth.

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Then to finish I blurred the background to put the focus on the T-shirt:

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I used this same technique on all of my photos, these are the finished photos:

For the first image I used in my spread I decided not to blur the background, I felt that the focus was already on the T-shirt because it was cut out in the middle of the page (more information about this is shown below).

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For the pages to my magazine I got inspiration from a few sources, I was up in Hull and I saw a free magazine, called Frayed that focused specifically on Art, Style, Culture and Photography, I really liked the design especially the photography in it, a lot of the images they used were saturated, it gave an urban look to the magazine as a whole and so it inspired me. I also go inspiration from this site:


There were a few different magazine spreads that I liked in this, I liked how they edited original images by using colour filters or by using the grid effectively to allow the photos to run over the top of each other, some to the edge of the page and others centred with a large amount of white space around the edge. I used the idea of the way the Look to the Light interview was set out for my first page of this article, I tried various different images to get the right look, which photo would look best if it had the centre of it cut out, and would it also look effective if you could just see the border on the other side.

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I tried having the box different sizes and using different photos by the photo that I felt worked best was this one:

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I felt that this photo had the nicest background and was the best shot of the T-shirt. I decided that it worked best without having the background blurred, the focus was already on the T-shirt because it was the one thing that you could see in the box. As you can see I maintained the same border that I had around the other pages in my magazine. Next up was applying type to the page, I decide that my main body of text would fit well inside the white box and my title would go on the left hand page. I experimented a lot with different typefaces and placement on the page before I found a layout that I was happy with. The two styles of type that I liked were serif, as this was the style the type on the T-shirt was, or bold Sans Serif as this made the page look quite modern.

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My favourite two were:

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I felt that the one on the right was most similar to the branding on the T-shirt, I also felt like it added class to the design because a Serif font often makes something look like it has a heritage and a quality about it. Equally I liked the one on the right for different reasons, it was bold so attracted the readers eye, I also felt that it looked modern and up to date so maybe student readers would feel like they could relate to this article. I decided to go with the font on the left because I feel like it matches the brand more, that is the typeface that the use at the bottom of each T-shirt, I also feel like it works more effectively with the imagery I’ve used, the layout style is refined and this is reflected in the typeface. I have kept the slogan at the bottom of the photo in a more modern typeface so that it still gives the article a younger feel. I added some more text to the white box and made the typeface of this consistent with the LOCALED title, I also made the first line bold so that people would read the introduction and know roughly what the article was about. I didn’t want this article to feel too type heavy as the proof is really in the pudding, by this I meant that I think it’s more important to give emphasis to the photos of the T-Shirt as this is the main reason that people would become interested in the Clothing label and therefore interested in the article, another reason for this is that students don’t like to read large amount (I know this is a large generalisation) so I wanted to split the text up into small nuggets and allow the photos to provide intrigue and coheres them into reading the text. The idea for pages 3-4 came from visuals that I’d drawn, I thought it would be cool to have the text in the middle of two photos. I tried different images to see what would fit best:

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As two of my photos were both of the fountains I thought it would be effective to make them appear like mirror images, the only difference being the T-shirt…again this adds further emphasis to the T-shirt as the background to both the photos is the same, therefore I felt that the combination on the left was the most effective. As you can see I experimented with what to go on the other page, I thought I could use some of the photos I’d taken of my female model but I felt that it looked a little too cluttered, and not all of the photos were the same size, and I del that I’d already cropped them enough, if I cropped them further I would lose some of the detail that I wanted to keep. It actually seemed to make more sense to split the article as having the first 4 pages with the male model and the last 4 pages with the female model. So this led me to use a full page image on the right hand page. Another asset to setting the article out in this way was that it meant that I could also match the text to the photos, in this part of the text I was still introducing the company, I’m talking about where they get their inspiration from so naturally it fit well to have images where the model was stood in a recognisable part of Sheffield, like the peace gardens or the train station.

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Pages 5-6 took me a long time to make a decision on, originally when I started this article I only envisaged it having 4 pages but then as I mentioned above I felt that the photos spoke louder than words and that actually it would make more sense to include more photos, I took the step to actually deciding that this would be more of a photo portfolio of the T-Shirt designs. As I looked through the likes of Wedge and Lever I was encouraged by the fact that their articles lasted more than 4 pages long, I think this often can also the most creative solutions with photos as it gives them their full glory as they are at a bigger size. This next page I actually wanted to have the image full bleed and then put a white border where the border of my page was, when I tried this I was unimpressed so I decided to just have the image to the edge of the border. I tried this with two different images although I couldn’t use one of the images as the T-shirt was right in the centre of the two pages and so it would likely warp the image in printing as both sides wouldn’t line up.

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As I mentioned earlier, I was careful to match the text to the photo, the next part of text I had led on from the last page, it was about the favourite design that John had, his favourite design was the one that I had photographed in this photo. I felt that the best place for the text was actually in the darker area of the photo where the background was fairly plain.

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For the final page I knew that I wanted to use the remaining photos that I had of my female model. The text to go on this page was about the future of the company and how people could get hold of these T-shirts so I knew that I wanted to leave a fair amount of space for this text. At first I thought that maybe I could just limit the final page to just one page, instead of having a double page spread.

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However I found that because of the nature of my photo it didn’t seem to lend itself to making an interesting looking final page, compared to the pages before the design seemed a bit boring…not much of a finale. So I looked at adding another photo to the mix and extending the final page to a double page spread. Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 09.42.57 Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 09.43.11

This still seemed to leave me with the problem of the white space around the paragraph not really making the article look like it was finished, I didn’t mind the white space but it gave the impression that there was another page of the article to come, in my eyes, it didn’t really look finished. So then I went back to trying to fit the last page into a single spread.

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I wan’t happy with this either, I felt that it was a little bit boring, that the  last page should have a unique design that didn’t just look like photos and text fitted on a page but actually designed on a page. This led me to be a bit more creative with the photo and text placement.

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 09.49.11 Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 10.49.55 Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 10.52.25   I messed around with the size and placement of both the text box and photo and tried to keep it within my grid system. My favourite is the second design however I wasn’t sure whether this was just me trying to be too creative, I thought that the third design fitted better as a whole page, it seemed a bit more consistent and nicer to read. I wasn’t convinced that the brick wall photo really fit with the style of the train station photo as it was a lot darker, so decided to take it out.

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I chose to go with the left hand design, I felt that the white space here works well as it shows a gap between the main body of the article and the ending, the ending is also at the bottom of the page so I feel like it suggests to the reader that that’s the end.

Then the last thing I had to do was add page numbers.

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I tried them in the centre of the page and at the corner of the page, always at the bottom as I thought this would be the least intrusive, also I felt that it sort of reflected the ECHO header, but obviously smaller, this is why I liked it the most in the centre of the page and decided to have it in the centre for all of the pages.

Final Changes

When I did a trial print of this spread on the Black and White printer I found that the eyes were very dark on the male model, so I used a layer mask to make sure that I just brightened the eyes. I also noticed that the type was too big so I reduced it to 10 pt, I decided that this would be the consistent main body of text size.

These are the final spreads:

Interview/Review Spread

As you can see from my spider diagrams, I looked at a lot of different ideas for this spread…there’s just so much you can do!

I decided that I wanted to try and do something that I could take my own photos for, so I narrowed it down to either the restaurant Bungalow and Bears or a friend of mine Rosy Nash who was a singer/songwriter.


I’d taken some photos of Rosy with the whole theme of ‘Explore’, this was the name of her latest album, these photos were meant to represent a girl exploring who she is.

These are the best photos I’d taken:

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I decided that I wanted to follow a vintage style of photography in terms of editing the photo, I felt like this reflected the singer/songwriter style of Rosy Nash, a little bit quirky and vintage style of dress.

I had a vague idea of what vintage photos looked like but I chose I researched some vintage photography. I found that vintage photography uses warm tones, a lot of the photographs I looked at had a milky filter, some vintage photography was black and white whilst others were in colour, I decided that as I’d already got a spread that used black and white then I wanted to use the coloured vintage photography style. I noticed that the bright colours seemed to blend into each others and the background of the image was often blurry.

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Originally I started by editing this photo:

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I adjusted the brightness and contrast to make the trees stand out a bit more:

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This made Rosy too dark so I cut her out and added her to a new layer above the brightness/contrast tool layer.

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I then added used the Exposure tool in order to create the milky effect:

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Finally I wanted to give the photo a sepia effect so I used Colour Balance to add a bit of warmth to the image:

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However after I’d done this I still felt that the image looked a bit murky, it was a little bit too dark, a lot of the vintage images I’d looked at were full of light so I decided that instead of using this photo I would use other photos that were brighter images, I also wanted images that would look like they were part of a set, instead of being completely separate, so to do this I picked images that had similar brightness to them and tried to make sure they all had green in the images. I also thought a bit more about which part of the image I wanted to emphasis the most, I decided that I wanted to draw attention to Rosy’s hair, it was bright red and this is something unique that I wanted to draw out in the photography, I was also conscious of emphasising the theme of exploration through the contrast of the trees and natural environment.

I used this same editing technique for all of my photos. Here’s an example, this is my starter photo:

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I then increased the brightness and contrast:

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I liked how this emphasised the green in the trees and the red hair, these were the two aspects of the photos I determined as the most important, I wanted the green to stand out as this was the idea of exploring and then I wanted the red of the hair to be a distinctive part of the photo as this is the thing that makes Rosy stand out.

I then used the Exposure tool in order to create this milky filter:

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I used the Colour Balance tool to further emphasis this red, this gave the photo a red tint that also made the photo look warm:

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I used this same technique for every photo as I wanted to bring out the red.

I used the same technique as stated above for this photo:

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However for this photo I actually used a layer mask over Rosy’s hands so that they weren’t too bright.

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I saw this article on I liked the handwritten style of the title, although I didn’t like the photography I thought I would try using the handwritten style. This just inspired me, I didn’t want to use the same style this magazine had as I didn’t think it would match Rosy’s style, instead I wanted to use a handwritten style that was easy flowing and elegant.

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I drew a few sketches of what I wanted this text to look like and then went on Illustrator to try and recreate it.

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I thought this was okay, I liked how it reflected the individuality of Rosy, however I didn’t think it was the best design I could do.

So I tried something different.

I found a site this gave me the idea to do a design similar to the one below with strips of a photograph:

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I had an idea of making the photos look like they’d been cut up, so I tried cutting them into strips:

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Again I wasn’t happy with this so I did some research to find inspiration on what else I could do:

I didn’t find any designs that really stood out to me on this site, so I kept looking.

28 Cool & Inspirational Magazine Designs

There were some really cool designs that I liked on this site, I especially liked this one shown below because it sparked the idea that actually I could do a design on a chalk board, I’d have loved to do this and I may just have to save this idea for a later projects due to not having a chalk board! I thought if I tried to computer generate this effect then it wouldn’t look authentic enough.

This next site was probably the most useful one that I found:

I loved pretty much every single layout on this site!

I found a few that specifically stood out to me:

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This made me think about the ida of just having text in the centre of the page.

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I loved this design as it really caught my eye, it made me think about how I could actually have a colour as the background, however the rest of this design wasn’t appropriate for my article.

The final article layout on this page gave me the final bit of inspiration I needed for my article layout:

I really liked the idea of having the horizontal lines and using different fonts and felt this would fit in perfectly to my design.

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I started off with the basic design, I made sure that it fit into my grid. I did think of just leaving the first page as plain as this but I decided to experiment with other styles before I definitely went for this.

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As you can see I tried the fonts at different sizes to try and achieve the best look, I also tried different borders around it. I really liked the one with a full photo background, however I thought that it didn’t make the name as obvious. I also tried the lines in different colours, to match the colour of the border. You may wonder why I picked the colour purple, well I wanted the colour of Rosy’s hair as for me that was an important part of the image, so I colour picked different parts of her hair and this was one of the colours, it seemed to match both the images that I’d picked. The whole idea of a coloured border actually came from that bright yellow I mentioned earlier, all on my other spreads had a white border and the image was in the middle, but I chose to reverse it on this image…to keep it fresh!

So pages 2-3…what to do…well I took forward the idea of the single column of type in the middle of the page, this kept consistent with the centre text of the leader page, I knew that I wanted to take forward the idea of the border being coloured.

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I tried out various different borders, or no borders, my favourites were the last 2 as I felt they looked the most natural, I can’t explain why, other than that they were just the most pleasing to me.

As you can see I chose to let the text fill the whole of the text box, as opposed to having it left aligned, I did this because I wanted to enforce the single column in the centre of page.

For my last double spread I came across an innovative design by mistake really! I placed the image that I wanted in the centre of the page and then just added the text to the central columns on my grid, I was deciding how much text I should have and decided to delete the top half of the text, leaving the bottom half overhanging…I loved it!

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As you can see I tried the border in two different ways, I thought it looked best inverted as the page before had the border in white when the image was in the centre and purple when it was the other way around, I thought it added a unique twist to the page. Finally I made sure that the image wasn’t cutting my text in half, so that the image was mid line.

I know on my Localed spread I mentioned how I didn’t want the person across the middle of the spread and well that’s exactly what I’ve done in this spread, my reasoning for doing it on this one is that the centre of this photo isn’t a really detailed part of it, whereas for the T-shirt design I didn’t want any of the detail to get cut off, in this image the power comes from the photo as a whole, not just one part of it.

The text is placed at either side of Rosy to match the symmetry of the photos, not only this but it is in the middle of the page to remain consistent with the page before it and finally the text is positioned at that height on the page so the it emphasises the horizon of the photos (the top of Rosy’s head, with flowers and the trees.

Final Changes

Oh pages 2-3 I changed the justification of the text so that there weren’t as many white spaces, I did the same thing on pages 4-5.

Oh pages 4-5 I lowered the photo down even more to further emphasise this horizon, I then put a white box around the text and lowered the opacity so that it was easier to read. Here are my final spreads:

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When we first got briefed in I didn’t think I’d like this project but actually I’ve really enjoyed it as I felt that I’ve been able to use a series of different techniques for each spread, I had the opportunity to take my own photos and edit them. I tried to use a different style of spread for every magazine spread so that in my portfolio I will show a range of different skills. Overall I would say that I am happy with the outcomes.

Before I send my outcomes to the final print I printed them out on black and white, this was to make sure that all of the type sizes were right and that the photographs printed right, I made the adjustments and then sent them to the final print. Unfortunately I was disappointed by the printing, there was a vast difference in colour to what I had designed, this affected all of the spreads, the covers no longer had a light grey background it was a horrible musty colour, all of my photographs for the Localed spreads were way too dark, missing out the prominent details that were essential, The Amazing Spider-man review page was a darker blue than what I wanted and finally the interview with Rosy Nash, the border colours were a dark dark purple that almost looked black.

I’ve learned that next time I print my work, especially if it’s for my portfolio to get it printed at a professional printers, not only this but to print it more than once, I should’ve allocated more time for printing so that I could’ve adjusted the colour and so made sure that I got a colour that was nearer to that on screen.

Cover Page

This is my favourite piece of work, I honestly didn’t think that it would turn out as well as this!

I really like the style of this, it’s informative as it tells the reader all of the headlining articles that are within the magazine and it does it in a way that is stylish and quirky, which is the style I was going for with the magazine. I think it gives the reader a realistic interpretation of the style of the magazine articles that are to come. I also like how the collages subtly make a number, the number of the issue. Another thing I like about this page is how the Sheffield College logo fits into the design, I feel that it balances the header and was an effective way to incorporate the logo.

The only real disappointment for me with this cover is the fact that it didn’t print in the colours that I wanted, as I mentioned above.

Interview/Review Spread

I was happy with the design to this, I liked how all the type was centred. I’m not quite sure I’d change anything about this spread because I like how the design reflects the personality of Rosy. I liked the purple border and was happy with the photography, I would possibly have liked to use more of the photos that I’d taken, but I think it would make this article too long and so people wouldn’t read it.

Creative Practice Spread

If I’d had more time I would have liked to spend longer editing the photos after I had found out how they printed on my final print. The printer made the photos significantly darker, not only this but the grey was turned a murky beige colour, so ideally I could’ve spent time adjusting the colour and shadow of these photos to help this.

I am really pleased with the first two pages to this article, I like the photo placement that I’ve used in the rest of the spreads. However if I was going to change something I would probably spend more time of the typography of this page, I like how I have placed the main body of the text, but I would have liked to experiment with pulling quotes out of text and making them fit with the photos, I don’t know whether this would’ve worked but it would definitely have been worth a try.

Alternative Spread

The concept behind this page was great, however I wasn’t completely happy with how I executed it. This was the spread that I spent the longest on and don’t get me wrong I love the info graphics I’ve used, but me being a perfectionist I would have liked to have spent more time on the layout. I think I did the best that I could with the time that I had, and considering this is my first go at info graphics I am extremely please. My issue I think is that I felt a bit confined by my grid system instead of using it fully to my advantage, even now I know if I was to redesign it I would do it a lot differently, but I think this will come with practice. I could also have simplified the icons used in the rating scale, they were small so it would make sense to make them as simple as possible.


Overall I would say this is the project I am most pleased with, I feel like I can confidently include this in my portfolio, and there are few changes that I would make to it. I feel like I have effectively produced an alternative magazine that isn’t confined by the tradition of your typical magazine spread of covers, I think that this approach to a student magazine will be effective as the content of the literature may not attract everyone as it won’t be big celebrities but more local, smaller scale people, therefore I think a thought provoking attraction to the eye is what will draw students in to read it and I feel I have been successful in that way. I have gained a lot more confidence and experience in my photography skills, I have learned how to stage a photo well and learned a lot about the lighting needed for the perfect shot, I have improved a lot on my photography since Visual Communication and hope to keep on improving this. From my Alternative Spread I am happy that although I would maybe change parts of it a little bit I have learned a significant amount regarding layout hierarchy and typography, not only this but gained experience in drawing info graphics. I really enjoyed the research for this project as it opened my eyes to how experimental the design within a magazine can be, when I started this project I felt that I would be confined to the typical magazine layout of title at the top of the page, columns of text next to a photo but having being introduced to the modular grid my eyes were opened on how I could overlap text of the photo whilst keeping a layout that was still pleasing to the eye.

I feel that the main thing missing from my magazine is probably the typical magazine spread that I mentioned above, so if the college was to take on my design then someone would have to design every spread, there isn’t really a given template. In my defence this was the whole idea behind my magazine as I wanted to produce a magazine where the headlining articles were completely different in design, not only this but I wanted the magazine to reflect an original and unique design style. If I had more time I would develop a spread that could be more universal in style. I would also have liked to design a contents page for the magazine. I would have liked to spend longer on the photographs, so have been able to take them over a few days so that I could experiment with the natural light however due to the constrictions of working around the models and the unpredictability of English weather this was difficult!

In terms of time management I was happy with my time management for this project, I spent a long time coming up with concepts which worried me at first, however I did seem to make quick progress once I’d gotten these ideas. I was pretty much finished my project with a week to go so this was really helpful as it meant I could spend time ironing out those imperfections. As I have mentioned I think in future I need to give myself more time (and a higher budget) for printing so that I can get the colours I want and maintain the standard that I want. I kept updating my blog as I went along for this project so that helped a lot with getting it all ready in time!

Altogether happy!

Side note

I’ve just been looking on a graphic design blog and found a series of different magazines that follow a similar layout to what I did with this idea of keeping a block border around all of the pages, it’s given me a bit of reassurance that the idea I have is actually something that real designers are following and that it’s an up-to-date style.

This is the link: