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Designing a Magazine Cover and Making it Stand Out in the Rack

It may appear very simple to design a magazine cover by just placing a photograph and writing on it, but actually it’s not only creative but technical also.  Amongst thousands of other magazines placed in the shelf, what points you must know as a designer to grab the attention.

Create a Bleed

All magazine covers need to be designed by first choosing the option of creating bleed. In latest softwares this option is available itself, otherwise you create cutting margins yourself just by dragging the rulers and leaving certain space on all sides.

Creating borders will help you fix your image right in place. Also don’t forget to write the copyrights of the image you are using. The name of the photographer, phone number, e mail address and usage rights.

Creating Frame

Rectangular frame will help you to place your image in a way that it touches the margins of the document and you will exactly know which part of the image will be in cutting area of the paper and which part will be visible.

Fit the Image

Scaling the image to your exact requirement needs to be in proportion. Never stretch the image haphazardly to distort it. Always use shift key to stretch the image if you are working in Adobe Photoshop.

Creating a Masthead

Masthead is the upper portion of the magazine cover which has the title of the magazine. The text should appear on the top portion, why? The answer is very simple…viewer’s eye always travels from top to bottom so of course you would want to show the name of the magazine first, so always use the title on the top. The problem with the above image is that there’s no head room. Where will you place the title, it will come on the nose or on the eyes which definitely will ruin the whole image and the cover. So the photographers are always told to keep the space on top of the picture for the title. The title if already established is in certain type or font, otherwise for new names you can be as creative in typography as possible.

Adding of Date, Issue Number and Publications Name

Apart from creating the masthead, you need to write the publications name, date and issue number. That separate place can be on left or right but at a readable corner, since it is as important as the masthead. It clearly states the volume number, date, website or publications which must also be in larger font. Graphic element can also be added to create its enhancement.

The Story

When somebody looks at the magazine they want to know what’s the lead story behind using this model. What is inside the magazine that I would want to buy this magazine. Create a text box that will have the least impact on your main photo but surely reflects the model’s use. Use a bold font but never use the same font as masthead.


Colors can make a drastic change in your cover. Choose a color for your text that best suits the image as well as stands out. Graphically text can be as creative as possible. Swatches and color palettes can be exported also from some other software but you must know which ratio of color will appear after printing. The drop shadow trick works very well in highlighting the text. Same goes for glow or bevel techniques.

Magazine doesn’t necessarily have to be a fashion magazine, but mostly yes, it is. Any corporate magazine cover would definitely be more sober, minimal colors and no glamour. Product magazines highlight the product and cover will definitely state the usages. Whatever magazine cover you are designing, it takes lot of strength and creativity with good composition.

Some of the Best Magazine Covers

Here i have colleced some beautifuly designed magazine covers for your inspiration.

Magazine Cover

Magazine Cover

Magazine Cover

Magazine Cover

Magazine Cover

Magazine Cover

Magazine Cover

Magazine Cover

Magazine Cover

Magazine Cover

  • Designing a Magazine Cover and Making it Stand Out in the Rack
    [See the full post at: Designing a Magazine Cover and Making it Stand Out in the Rack]

  •  Art

    Wow, after reading the article I see what you mean about making all this stuff stand out. The magazine examples really draw a person in and make them want to know the story behind the cover. 

  •  Thomas

    red bull amazing poster, only the first formula…

  •  Nida

    excellent work in all listed brochures and helping article as well. thanks for sharing


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