Monday, February 26, 2007

Magazine typography

"Good magazines use lots of type--to tell their stories, to create attractive pages, to aid the reading process--and to help sell more copies" ("Fonts" 30).

In magazine design, much like in newspaper design, there is a style guide, or a stylebook. It is this that addresses all typographic elements of the magazine including text, captions, pull quotes, headlines, bylines, and so forth. In Graphic Communications Today by William Ryan and Theodore Conover, it states, “the physical appearance of the magazine should reflect the editorial content and appeal to the audience for which it is intended” (482). This is a good summary of the function of magazines and how typography, as part of the visual makeup, plays a part in the message.

There are two types of situations regarding typographic headers. One is that there is a consistent family used throughout the magazine for all headlines and titles, and the other is to vary the typography depending on the feeling, attitude or image the designer wishes to convey. Time, U.S. News and World Report, Esquire, and Sports Illustrated have set type for which they use for headers. Rolling Stone, Seventeen and National Geographic vary their feature heads to accommodate preference.

“A magazine’s success is closely tied to the ability of its producers to isolate the target audience and create a product that will appeal to that audience. Thoughtful, appropriate design can help ensure that goal” (Ryan and Conover 482-3). A sports magazine should be hard-hitting with bright colors and action shots, while a business magazine should be more subdued and professional looking. Typography on the cover and inside pages plays a major role in creating the visual feeling of a particular magazine.

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