Exercise: Magazine Pages

I was asked to analyse a magazine, to observe the sizes of the page the margins, the rows of text and the gutters in between, the magazine I buy seemed to not fit into a standard size which I googled to double check. I measured where. the content start and finishes from left to right and to the bottom and top, I now had my overall measurements and margins. I moved to indesign and inputted the measurements. I could see in the magazine that the column width would vary from page to page. I noticed some pages would include a very. thin columns left for captions, I assume this is to maximise the image size or as it is an art magazine to leave the images simple and free of distractions. I saw the smallest column could fit with in the margins seven times with a small gutter in between. I decided to add these in as guides, creating a seven column grid with a 5mm gutter.

I used the font finder software from the previous exercise to find similar fonts, the copy text I used Montserrat and the closest I could get to the header font I found was free for personal use, I assume that the font they used maybe a bespoke one and not available for commercial use.

I closely followed the layout, my seven column grid seemed to work, offering very similar results to the source material, it was then just a case to approximate the type sizes and little flourishes such as the captions, quotes and other page decorations.

Research Point : Publishing house & book series styles

The research point asked me to look at different publishing houses and book series, looking at variations and how they fit together as a series.


SF Masterworks

The SF Masterworks collection from Orion publishing group is over 180 classic sci fi books. As you can see the images are very prominent, and have likely been commissioned by a small group of artists, they do vary in style but some seem to be similar. The series title is consistent in position, as this is intended as a set or collection, the title and author are also the same, each book has an endorsement or quote and its here we see a little change in the art direction, fitting around either the imagery or the book title.


Hachette Judge Dredd Mega Collection

I own this collection myself and the books look really great, the covers are all black and white “inked” drawings, the red white and black scheme really pops, the spines together make a colourful image of all the characters featured in the 2000ad universe. The Image again is very prominent taking up around a 1/5th of the cover at the bottom, with the title of the collection taking up half the cover making two distinct columns.


Stephen King

I have always noticed the ration of authors name to book title with the Stephen King Books, this isn’t limited to a certain series or collection I have added a book on this board that doesn’t belong intentionally to show this. He is after all the biggest Horror writer so we will allow him this indulgence. That said the titles o this series have special consideration with an almost illustrated style to the titles, photo or near photo realistic illustration is featured and add a lot of the horror mood.


Mills & Boon

Known for their romance novels these look very colourful, bright and feminine. the books are clearly aimed at females, or the romantic at heart. The images are consistent and may even be all the same illustrator, the flower logo is very prominent as is the Mills and Boon label, this would suggest to me that the author is less of a consideration than the brand, people aren’t choosing by author just for the familiar style and content.


Penguin Books

The penguin books offer a very rigid consistency, this is largely due to the clear structured layout, you don’t even have to look for any hidden guides, grids or markings as they have conveniently added coloured divides and lines. The Logo is also separated form the publishers name, I cant think of a logical reason to separate these, the logo does occasionally vary in position but this could be slight revisions over time.


Ladybird books

The Ladybird books series has glorious old fashioned looking art, again this looks to either be the house style or the same illustrator that worked on them. All the information such as logo, title and series are at the top, an author isn’t credited on these covers. something which would seem standard even if its not important to the books sales.

Exercise:Judging a book by its cover

For this exercise I was asked to design a book cover, spine and back page for a book I was familiar with, I was asked to create 2 versions, one using photography or illustration and the other using only type (no imagery) I picked a book I was familiar with and had recently recommended to a friend.

I decided to create an illustration rather than photography,As I recalled the book a scene was very prominent in my head, it involved lobsters, the story center’s around a man who as the story unfolds decides to crash a 747, killing himself, these things both had strong imagery and the shape of a lobsters tail and body reminded me of an aeroplanes tail and fuselage, I drew both out in procreate, using the mirror functionality for consistency.

I added a fine colour halftone filter over the image, I wanted a distorted look to the image and title, giving it a “pulp” novel feel. I took the Stephen King Approach and made the authors name very large. as the book was about a plane destined to crash, I placed the aeroplane facing down, I ran the title alongside it, I felt this helped give the impression of downward movement. I placed all the elements on a grid, carefully sizing and aligning my content, I wanted it all to sit comfortably. I was really quite pleased with how the image turned out, it has a sense of the. whacky to it and the lobster diving head first juxtaposed with the sweeping opposite wings of the plane added a good amount if interest and intrigue. My friend also liked it, having read the book also.

The next imageless cover was a lot trickier, it was hard to make it interesting or even relate to the story, in the end I decided to add the title in at a crashing angle, it looked workable but I still felt it could look more interesting. I added in two more titles and made it look like the title was moving. I kept to the same “danger colour scheme for both.

I feel that the book cover with the image works best, I cant think of many times I have seen a book with out some kind of imagery to help it stand out, hard back books with dust jackets removed tend to be plain underneath, I think imagery is important, it does draw our eye over to a book, and if it can tell you what genre of story it is even better.