Great magazine cover designs and tips to create one

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If you want to design magazine cover designs you should know the two key goals: to express the theme or content of the magazine and attract the attention of a prospective purchaser’s.

The magazine cover page will have to achieve both key goals and will remarkably increase the odds of the final goal – an increased number of customers.

If you want to attract attention, you should start your magazine cover design by studying your competition and creating outstanding work.

Create a magazine cover design that will catch attention by being prominent or extreme, unusual, a cover that will stand alone on the magazine rack. Your magazine cover design should be directly connected to the main subject and topics approached in the magazine issue.

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0b3286ccaabfc0a103f25e069f2d6b8e-800x1042 Great magazine cover designs and tips to create one

If you are working as a junior designer in an agency you will probably learn soon from your senior colleagues the many things to be considered when thinking about your magazine cover design ideas. You thought you know how to create a magazine page design, but in fact, you don’t.

You will have as much to deal with creativity as you have to do with limitations. You have an approximate space of 8×11 inches which is pretty much to create a beautiful and attractive front page design.

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f3e7s1?v4a60e9ef938a7fa0240ac9ba567062cb Great magazine cover designs and tips to create one

At the same time, you also have guidelines that you must follow to avoid confusing the readers and at the same time offering them as much information possible about the contents of the magazine.

The following magazine design tips are aimed to help you move forward with your projects.

Be consistent when designing a magazine page

Most magazines like the magazine cover layout shall be consistent from one edition to another. The same applies to the magazine cover template. It is the reason why famous magazines tend to keep their style for a pretty long time until they decide to change it.

This is available in the case the managers insist on building a strong visual identity. However,  there are magazines, which I enjoy a whole lot, which do exactly opposite, changing the style every time a new number is released.

It is true that the magazine logo must be kept the same for minimum brand exposure, but the rest of the cover page ideas, the typography, page arrangement, style of the cover, photo or illustrations, can be toyed around with as long as it’s being done strategically and not completely randomly.

Magazine cover typography

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7b6bfee1923979593c6b19a5c71b2f18-800x1091 Great magazine cover designs and tips to create one

I often write articles about fonts and typography and I don’t think there’s a need to repeat myself by saying why typography is so important for magazine covers.

You will notice in the examples below that typographic hierarchy is important in print as well as in web design.

The magazine cover maker must show to the reader certain articles that are more important than others and also to create a readable structure within the page by using typographic hierarchy.

For example, the title of the article about the person or event that is on the front page will most of the time have a bigger font than the rest of the articles.

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1514f357b591fd9c0fb5925bab86e885-800x1000 Great magazine cover designs and tips to create one

Also, the color used for various headlines and overall text on the page is very important. A big mistake from rookie designers is to put non-contrasting elements on the page.

In order for the text to be read, it must be light on a dark background or the other way around. Besides achieving this by using the magazine cover fonts, you always can darken or whiten areas of the illustration or photo in order to make the text readable.

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The easiest way to achieve this contrast is with black or white text. However, you shouldn’t be afraid of using colors; after all, you are creative so keep being so. Also, there are professional standards that you must choose in any case.

Any color just won’t do your magazine front page. Most of the time, you will have to use a color palette on the page design, so be sure that you haven’t forgotten your lessons learned about color theory or color schemes. These are very important for creating a visually appealing magazine covers design.

Use your Creativity for a magazine cover design

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20200328_cna1280_0-800x1053 Great magazine cover designs and tips to create one

There’s no reason wasting time for improving the internal pages of your magazine if random browsers don’t take up the issue to take a peek.

An outstanding magazine cover is important for selling the magazine to potential readers and encouraging them to have a deeper look at the publication.

However, a striking cover doesn’t need to be dull. A good spectrum of colors and an over-packed design can look cheap and dated. Well-balanced, clear headers and sub-headings combined with pure, graphic callouts can attract attention to the magazine cover page design templates in a subtle way.

Try to stick to the A B C rule—stick to one (A) heading (the magazine title), one solid (B) sub-heading (bring out one article to be the central focus), and a wider selection of shorter (C) sub-headings. Nearly every creative magazine cover designs practice the A B C rule to improve the layout balance.

Combine these headings with a clear, simple photo and lots of white space (where you put no images or busy text), and you will have a magazine cover layout that’s both graphically very bold and pleasant to look at.

Use a Simple Pop of Color when designing a magazine cover

Some of the best magazines cover ideas are using colors more sparingly as to prove that a single pop of vivid color can be more attractive than using a palette of many bright colors.

Combining one vivid color with black & white photography and text will look fantastic for technology titles and men’s magazines, but not so much for a fashion magazine cover design.  Bright banners, typography, and dividers lend a masculine, sporty edge to layouts.

This can be achieved in a very easy way and it is an excellent way of bringing the entire magazine cover ideas together. You can try a hot orange or acid yellow for a cheerful color pop that will look awesome on travel magazines and extreme sports headlines, or you can simply try a sky blue for a fresher look.

Also, using a vivid red will look really powerful and will add some modern touch to old-fashioned monochrome photography. For a school magazine cover design, you better keep a lot of pictures and joyful typography.

Spend More Time Improving Your Contents Page

As the readers open up your magazine, the contents page is the first thing they will notice.

The magazine cover design templates have to be practical, enabling the reader to find articles and sections quickly; however, it’s is also the best place to practice a bit of creativity and find your creative magazine cover design inspiration.

In case that your magazine has a huge amount of content, don’t limit your content to one page out into a whole two-page cover. That will provide you lots of room to include a large ‘Contents’ header and loads of enticing photographs. You can also extend the visual messages by selecting a special magazine back cover design.

All of the various contents will be further organized on some kind of framework layout, yet it surely doesn’t need to be dull or restrictive.

If you take a look at the unusual photo-grid utilized on this sports magazine’s contents spread you will notice the interesting mixture of small and large images which is not messy, and how the taglines pulled out in acid-yellow strips adds some context to any graphic.

Large, fashionable page numbers set in black and white are spontaneously clear, allowing an easy overview of the contents of the magazine.

Limit the number of sections you highlight in every column or row of your grid, as to give more space to every detail and maximize the white space in the layout.

When making the magazines cover design, focus your energy on good structured and well-styled contents. You can boost typography forms and colors from the contents spread and use these as a basis for producing a constant look at the entire magazine.

Don’t forget that content pages for magazines are quite distinctive from contents pages for various work reports or books. Magazine content needs to have plenty of attractive images and interesting typography to get the readers in the spirit for exploring the content of the rest of the magazine.

Illustrated Graphics for Unique and Stylish Magazine designs

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20620bd1a5b53d430c5945c718d89ddf-800x1023 Great magazine cover designs and tips to create one

When you are looking for magazine cover design inspiration, scan each available cupboard of magazines to see what pictures and what environment is used.

Still, an explanatory cover can be unique and very stylish, and it is also an excellent choice for arts, tech, and design headlines. Good smooth graphics can be designed easily and will make your magazine to look especially design-forward.

Get familiar with CorelDRAW, Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator, to produce vector graphics that you easily insert into the magazine layouts.

Vectors are an excellent way to show more complex or fantastical creative magazine cover ideas and can be a perfect alternative for magazines that don’t fall into the typical lifestyle or fashion niches.

Illustrations, either vectorized or drawn by hand, will also add a pleasant unique character to specific issues or collector’s publications.

Using illustrations instead of photos additionally helps to improve the brand consistency of your magazine design, creating label looks for your editions. This is definitely a great option for magazines requiring a powerful branded style, like self-promotional magazines for businesses such as retailers and airlines.

Give Your Magazine a Specific Identity and Mood

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beyoncevogue-800x967 Great magazine cover designs and tips to create one

The typography plays a huge part in giving your magazine a unique mood and identity and positioning it on the market.

We’ve been trained over time to incorporate special type techniques with particular magazine styles, and you can use this idea when looking how to design a magazine cover.

For instance, let’s say you’re working to create a fashion magazine. In case that you want to look more rich, expensive and inspirational, you can apply for the first-page design a fancy serif like Bodoni or Didot or for Vogue-inspired attractiveness.

If you want to make a magazine that looks refreshing and more modern and trendy, you may take a fresh, hip sans-serif for a spin.

For tech and sports titles, you can try out a compact, high-impact sans-serif such as Sovereign, or if you’re creating a review title, maybe try a vintage-inspired typeface such as New Yorker Type.

Photos and color of the magazine cover background can change with every issue, however, typography should stay the same, so you should take the time as to think about the sort of character you want for your magazine and also do some research into getting the best typeface that will deliver this result.

Magazine cover designing tips:

  • Since we all know that eye contact is very important, the model should look right into the camera.
  • When you are creating the magazine cover you can exaggerate and play around, yet should stick to your style and concept.
  • All covers need just one headline, catchy in color, size, and
  • Every cover should have a central point whether it is the model in the image, the headline or a number. Something on the magazine cover should be catchy!
  • Organize your cover in 3 parts. The big one with the main cover line, the smaller one with fewer covers lines and the smallest with some more cover lines.
  • In case, you plan using orange color for the magazine cover lines, print them with extra spot color. Orange never seems good if printed in the conventional CMYK method, as it will look more like brownish.
  • The most used color for magazine covers is red and the least used is green. Whatsoever you utilize, make sure that you have a variance among the colors.
  • The main color must be distinctive from the one used in the previous edition. Customers may falsely replace the new edition with the old one and not purchase it.
  • Some are saying that the black covers do not sell. They are all wrong.
  • For the smaller cover lines, rather go with the white text or black if the background is light. For larger ones use different colors.
  • If you believe you can accomplish something, for instance, increase sales with a magazine cover line over the masthead than run for it. Transfer the masthead a tiny bit under and attach some cover line over it even in a case that you have never done something like that. That can be excellent if your magazine is stuffed away on the counters. This additional space can be very helpful.
  • In the USA magazines are packed in waterfall performance so the first third of them is the most noticeable section and there you will notice the greatest cover lines. In Europe, it is another story. Here magazines are packed so that the left third of them is the most noticeable one. This is the reason why there are many magazines in Europe with masthead centered on the top left spot.
  • Photography seems better and offers more than pictures on the cover page.
  • It doesn’t make any difference if you shoot the magazine cover model in your own studio or if you buy a stock photo of a model; the background should be in good color. Any exemplars or combining colors in the background will definitely make your life hell while creating a cover page.

Tips for the Magazine Cover Lines:

  • Play a bit with the words, but only if you are sure that your readers will recognize it quickly. The possible purchaser has no time to consider what you mean by such wordplay. All must be clear in a second.
  • If you are using a question as a cover line, you should give an answer to it.
  • The largest cover line does not have to be the biggest magazine story.
  • The largest cover line should refer to the largest part of your target readers. For instance, in women’s magazines, these can be beauty, fashion, diets; for men’s magazines, it can be cars, fitness, sex…
  • True, sex sells, however, seldom the term itself can be too direct particularly to females. It can prevent from buying rather than appeal, so practice it implicitly.
  • Utilize numbers because they imply that there is a lot going on in the magazine. Numbers can usually be your biggest selling feature. For instance, “20 best beauty salons tips”. By utilizing the numbers you are showing your readers that you’ve created a choice from a number that is bigger than the one you put in the cover line.
  • Renew your best-selling magazine cover lines occasionally. It is not a bad thing to copy from yourself, particularly if the magazine cover line was so fabulous.
  • You can substitute one magazine cover line with a list. The readers will love it!
  • Use vivid words to sparkle the reader’s interest.

Magazine cover designs to check out

Designing a magazine cover is a pretty challenging task.

It may seem simple at first, but creating a magazine cover needs a lot of thought put into it.

It usually starts with a sketch and after that, the layout modifies gradually but not in a dramatic way. Although you might think this process would take just a few minutes, it usually takes hours of testing more than one front page design template to get the right result.

As we promised you from the very beginning of the article, we will show you some inspiring magazine cover designs with techniques and elements that can be used for your projects too. Enjoy the following magazine cover ideas and I hope they’ll teach you how to make a magazine cover.

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