Creating a magazine: stage three reviewed in more detail
Earlier this month I was commissioned by the people at Sync City magazine to art direct and design their exciting first issue (due to release 1st February 2013). From the very beginning, I thought I would shed some light on some of the design details and thought processes behind the creation of Sync City Magazine.
THE PLANNING – remember the thumbnails and flat plans!
A few weeks ago I illustrated a diagram of the Creative Process of Creating a Magazine – I know each creative job will be different but the majority of them and structure will be more or less like the one I drew up in my introduction post here. In my last post I shared with you Stage Two: concept creation process and what that involved – you can read the shared post here. In today’s blog post I will be moving onto the next stages of developing a magazine which will be Design Development and Content Creation.
In my design brief (stage one), the client pointed out how they wanted this exciting new magazine for Sheffield to be “friendly, warm, inviting, engaging and inspiring. To inspire people, building confidence and encouraging people to dream. We believe in happy people – not just being happy people but making happy people too!” and for it to become a real, people’s publication. Therefore, I wanted the magazine to mimic that idea and flow. Having areas to visually build with interest as the stories progressed and then counteract that with space to breathe and read easy. The magazine needed to be presented in a way that was not overwhelming, yet it needed to remain interesting.
A designer’s first concept(s) or set of visuals are always still in working. There is always room for improvement, tweaks and refinements. The selected concept (from stage two) were then worked up with all details implemented. Because there was so much text I knew I had a challenge to overcome. But I was ready for it.
Some of the articles were more visual than others so some of the notes included where I thought images should be and what I thought they should be had to be scrapped. This stage can often seem a bit random. I find it the most lengthy stage of the whole design process but an important point to bear in mind is that this stage is an organic process and details can be changed if necessary. A more detailed specification of the design of the magazine for production planning and final costing was also created at this point.
A sneaky peep of the new pages to some of Sync City's exciting regular features
THE DEVELOPMENT – page shuffles, amends, and re-works!
It is my job, in this stage, Design Development to make sure that the pages meets the editor’s intent, the features objective and also guide Sync City reader’s eye. The elements of graphic design are used, and often combined, to create graphic works. This can be done through several techniques (please see page visuals I’ve shared above):
- Choosing a final aesthetic for Sync City magazine – how the magazine looks will define its brand almost as much as the content itself. This was achieved by some of the points below:
- Defining a grid/layout system
- Use of white space
- Choice of fonts (typefaces), size, alignment, color, and spacing all come into play
- Use of illustrations, photography and supporting imagery
- Use of graphical elements – lines and shapes
- The choice of paper stock – printed on glossy or matte paper?
Throughout this stage I always had to make sure what I was doing was matching with the publication’s ethos. In other words, to know and understand their readership and their expectations! Amended PDFs, prototypes and revisions of graphics/pages are emailed to and fro until both parties are happy.
Some people say that the magazine is a dead art form. It isn’t. I believe people still very much enjoy the pleasure of reading the magazine format. What matters more is the topic and articles.
My next and final stage will be ‘Publishing your magazine’ – where we’ll be taking a look at the print production stage. Look out for the post later this week.