For this project I chose two popular magazines on running. These two covers share several things in common in that their topics are similar, the central image the same, and the general set-up is the same. They also have plenty of differences as well since one magazine is geared towards a more specific group than the other.
Let’s begin with what these two covers have in common. First and foremost, both people on the covers on the magazines are in a running position wearing athletic clothing. The next most noticeable object on the covers are the nameplates which are both eye-catching. The Women’s Running magazine uses bright magenta lettering against a white background which really stands out. The Runner’s World magazine uses white letting against a dark gray background which creates the same pop-out effect. Immediately under the nameplate is the headline to what is probably the biggest highlight of their issue. Both headlines are in lettering that stands out by color and size, but not in such a way that it overtakes the whole cover. Also notice that the font sizes of their articles’ titles decrease as you move left to right and top to bottom. This is way a person would probably first look at and move naturally across a magazine cover. That means that the most important or biggest article of the magazine should be advertised in the upper left space of the cover. The barcodes of both magazines are also in the same location; the lower left corner. This is an area of the magazine that will probably take the least amount of damage and won’t sacrifice prime space for article advertisements. If it were on the right, it could be torn, and if the barcode is torn it won’t be able to be scanned in a store. The barcode itself seems to be removed on the Runner’s World magazine probably for privacy or security reasons. It would normally be the area where it says “magazines.com!”
The differences in this magazine lie primarily in what audience they are targeting. Women’s Running is obviously intended for female readers. The color choices are more feminine in choice (magenta, purple, light blue, etc.). The white background also softens the image as a whole as well. On the Runner’s World magazine, the lettering and coloring has more of a hardness to it but still remains neutral. This magazine is focused for all groups of runners. Keeping it more neutral means that both men and women will pick up the magazine because it’s not portraying itself more for one group than another. If you look at the runners on both covers you’ll notice that they also have different facial expressions. On the Women’s Running magazine, the runner is smiling and happy, while the one on Runner’s World has a more nondescript expression. This is another example of a more feminine image versus a neutral one.
Knowing how to set-up your magazine cover appears to be affected by a few select things: the importance of articles, headlines, targeted audiences, and overall topic of the magazine. Articles and headlines must be placed in order of importance, the audience should be targeted usual subtle visual cues, and the topic must made clear from the cover as a whole. Following these few rules, one can create a visually effective magazine cover.