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  • Writer's pictureCindy Cheung

Magazine Page Anatomy


Key EDITORIAL TERMS to help get started with magazine/editorial design 👌

The anatomy of a page in particular will interest those of you interested in Editorial or Desktop Publishing, those include: Headline, credits, main intro/kicker, image, image caption, pull quotes, subheads, body copy, by-line, credits. There isn’t a fixed way to design magazine pages or spreads, but the above’s an example of a spread I made that match with the target audience and is EASY to read.

Get to know some of the key terms in magazine design quickly:

Headline – The head of a story. A headline should be interesting, meaningful and compelling enough as it increases the chances of an article to be read.

Running Head – A heading printed at the top of each page of a magazine and aid readers in navigating through an article more easily.

Pull Quote – A brief, attention-catching quotation taken from the main text of an article.

Image – used to tell a story, grab attention, and create a particular pace within the layout to the page spread.

Credits – The names of people who have contributed to the article. E.g. the writer and photographer.

Intro/Deck – The introductory paragraph to the main piece of content that introduces a reader to an article.

Image Caption – Short description about the image, usually in font size 7pt.

Footer, page number – A footer is text such as publication name or page number displayed at the bottom of each page.

From experience, designing lots of magazines. Here, we look into the three most crucial elements of a magazine layout:

• Layout

• Main image (photography)

• Headline

1) My tip to any good design lies in the way its visual elements are organised and positioned in relation to each other. This is exactly what LAYOUT design is all about. Layout gives meaning to my designs and makes it look visually appealing, helping maintain balance from page to page or slide to slide (online presentations). In the image below, I've used an 8 column grid, use of a grid helps organise elements inside my space/on my page.

2) Make Beautiful PHOTOS the main focus – Photographs are very effective images that can convey stories very quickly. Think how less effective advertisements would be if they used only words. If you’re lucky enough to have some beautiful photography to feature in your magazine, make sure to highlight it as the main 'pull' or focus. Most people buy magazines for the imagery, I know I do, and stunning illustrations, with (usually) the text content playing a secondary supporting role.

Just how drooling is the image below? The whole composition of the elements in sharp, natural lighting, with a nice strong sense of depth of field that focus on the main mouthwatering set up, just makes me want to lick my screen! While you may only acknowledge this on a subconscious level, that purposefully placed fork all subtly contribute to the mood to tempt us to 'want' this brownie.

Chocolate brownie and ice cream photography
photography by:

3) There’s a reason marketers talk about the best HEADLINES and calls to action more than anything else. The best headlines on magazine covers and articles actually move consumers to physically pick it up and buy. Online, all you need is a click (to read more).

Magazine design can be complex, and this post is only touching the surface of the subject, there are lots of terms you need to get familiar with and many layout rules to consider. But if you’re someone interested in Editorial design, I hope you found this post inspiring.

Let me know if you find posts like this useful in the comments and I’m happy to share more fundamental content aimed to help move your branding and marketing forward!

If you need further help with discovering your brand's voice, feel free to send me an email or drop me a DM on Instagram 👉 @cindycheung.designer.


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