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Ten Design Tips for Creating a Memorable Magazine

Design tips for creating a memorable magazine

As you sit in a waiting area or stand in a check-out line, you may have noticed your attention drawn to a catchy title on a magazine cover, accompanied by a well-selected image. The image and headline were certainly not an accident; in fact, magazine covers are very strategic and effective ways to get a potential reader interested and consider delving deeper into the magazine’s content. If you’ve considered purchasing and reading a new publication and had no original intention of doing so, then it’s likely you’ve come across a highly impactful magazine cover. Whether you’ve subscribed to one or more magazines or enjoy flipping through one occasionally, there are quite a few strategic design aspects that build effectiveness and memorability with the magazine you read. If you enjoy working with print media and are passionate about creating content for magazines, this article can help you understand a few tips and tricks for creating a magazine that will leave your readers wanting more.

No matter what your interests and hobbies are, you can usually find a magazine in almost any genre, including fashion, cooking, news, travel, and more. You may ask, “What makes some magazines so popular with a wide range of readers, and how can I create a magazine like that?” Here are ten tips to help create your memorable magazine:

  1. Your cover design should be a hook. You can author excellent and effective content within your magazine, but before anybody can get there, they have to be sparked by the cover.
    • It’s vital that, when designing your magazine, you do not shy away from creating an attractive and enticing cover design. If your cover can catch the attention of its readers, they will be far more likely to purchase a copy and delve deeper into your magazine. However, a highly impactful cover does not need to be overly packed with images and colours.
    • A good magazine cover should include the title of the magazine, one strong subheading highlighting one of the best articles in the magazine, and a few selected sub-headings.
    • A strong and catchy heading should be coupled with a simple photograph to help draw your attention. The photograph on the cover is usually the first place your eyes are drawn to, so use techniques to help make your photograph appear three-dimensional and enticing. There should also be spaces where there are no text or images on your cover; therefore, it doesn’t become overwhelming for your readers.
  2. Colours are key. When used correctly, and in all the right places, colours can be a very effective tool to create an attractive and catchy magazine mailing.
    • When it comes to colour, there is such a thing as too much. The more colours and shades you use on your cover, the more our eyes have to take in. If you choose to use an entire palette of colours, it can be overwhelming for your readers and difficult for their eyes to focus on any one aspect. Using a touch of bold colour in the right places can be a very effective tool to capture and direct your readers’ eyes to the most important feature on the magazine cover, or on any page for that matter. You can also use colours as a way to set the tone and mood of your magazine. Brighter colours can be used for high energy sports magazines, for example, whereas you can go for darker or nude shades for your fashion features.
  3. Illustrate some of your graphics. Photographed images are not the only options for your cover, although they are widely used. In some cases, an illustrated graphic on your cover can set your magazine cover apart from the rest.
    • Illustrated covers can be a great choice for technology, art, or design magazines, and create a unique, eye-catching and stylish cover.
  4. Give your contents page the time and attention it needs. Your contents pages are usually the first to appear in your magazine and serve as a navigational tool to steer your readers through the content.
    • You can use as much space as you need to create a very thorough and creative content page. Sometimes, using a two-page spread for your contents can be the best way to lay out all of the material for your readers. Throw in some images to help keep them interested and excited to get to the actual content. The contents page should be easy to follow, with headings and subheadings that are easy to understand to direct your readers to the correct material.
  5. Your most attractive photographs should get the limelight. In almost all cases, the images and photographs you use in your magazine are what attracts your readers, with the written content usually playing a secondary role.
    • In many magazines, such as nature and travel magazines, the main focus is usually a beautiful photo. Photographs can be blown up and spread across an entire page. Your readers will automatically be drawn to the text surrounding a stunning photograph.
  6. Stick to a style. Every magazine has a unique style, and when you come across some of the larger magazines, they can be easily recognized by their unique style. It’s essential to choose a specific style and theme for your magazine printing, which can be, in essence, assigning a personality to it.
    • A theme or style for your magazine can help establish some consistency among the various spreads and features. Constantly changing colours, styles, and themes from one page or section to the next can be confusing and fails to create unity among the features of the magazine.
    • Select a unique colour palette, typography, shapes, page numbers, headers, and background colour to use consistently throughout the magazine.
  7. Less is more. Sometimes, a few carefully selected and impactful photos with accompanying text can be more effective than a full spread of unnecessary information.
    • Simplicity is appreciated in a magazine, especially if you’re creating one for fashion and design. Photos should always be the focus of all of your spreads and layouts. After all, what are words in a fashion magazine without their accompanying images? Usually, fashion magazines utilize a white background colour and bold black typography for the greatest impact.
    • It’s also a good idea to select photos that can be grouped into a similar style, so they work together harmoniously on a page or spread.
  8. Choose your font wisely. Just like a particular theme or style can give your magazine a personality of its own, so too can the typography that you use.
    • Some of the large magazines can be identified simply by the type of font and text they utilize, thus, creating a unique identity for your magazine is very important to help people quickly recognize it. The type of font you use can also reflect the tone of your magazine, and it should be kept consistent from one issue to the next.
  9. Focus on a spread, not a page. Picture yourself when flipping through a magazine. Do you focus on the page number, or one unique article or spread at a time? If you’re like most, you will focus your attention on one feature piece, regardless of how many pages it covers.
    • Although your magazine will be printed and bound into two-page spreads, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get creative with the way that your articles are placed and how they appear throughout the pages. When your readers have completed reading a specific article, they’ll hold onto the feature as a whole, rather than the number of pages it spanned.
  10. Combine your information with graphics. When you flip open a magazine to a random page and find it covered from one end to the other with text and only a single picture, it can be overwhelming.
    • If the title seems interesting, you may still be tempted to skip past the article if there is too much text. When you have a large amount of text, it can be hard to know where to look for the key points, and many people are not willing to read through each and every word.
    • This is where infographics come in. Infographics are a great way to help break your article down into points and share some of your main ideas with an accompanying picture. Each blurb or paragraph of text will be easy to complete, but most importantly, your readers will take away the important message from your magazine mail.

Direct mailing magazines can be an excellent way to capture some of the most interesting topics into a single platform. Magazines are a combination of photographs, illustrations, text, and fonts, with each piece carefully selected to create reading material that you won’t want to put down. Magazines are unique in that they have their own personality, and when designed using a few key tips and tricks, they can hook their readers and create very memorable reading experiences. At Troi Mailing Services, we want to be a part of your magazine mail marketing process and know that bulk printing and mailing is an essential part. If you want quality direct mail printing services by a team you can trust, call Troi Mailing Services in Canada today at 1-866-486-9350 or visit our website here to learn more about magazines, catalogues, journals, newsletters, and other types of booklet printing for direct mail.

About: Seamus Barton
Seamus Barton - Author
Seamus Barton joined Troi Mailing Services in 2014 after graduating from York University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Writing. As a manager of print and direct mail solutions, he sees how words play an important role in personalizing any experience. Seamus’ passion for writing motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that supports each Client’s individual needs. Please chat with Seamus about commercial printing and direct mailing campaigns, or about how to marry digital and physical strategies for optimal Smartmail Marketing success.

You can connect with Seamus on LinkedIn or by calling Troi Mailing Services at 1-866-486-0423 or via email at Read his latest article featured in Direct Marketing Magazine on “Dimensional Mail: Marketing’s Buffet Lobster

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