Project 2: Magazine Design | Article Spreads and Covers


Our third brief required us to develop a concept for a new independent magazine, including a feature article on the theme of 'migration'. We had to create two alternative sets of double page spreads (a 'splash' and 'turn'), as well as a masthead cover.


I started out by doing some research to find some good examples of editorial design for inspiration. I was looking particularly for interesting layouts and use of alignment and negative space.

I also did some research on what I wanted my article to be about. I decided to base mine on animal migration so I began researching online about interesting facts to see if I could find anything interesting enough to base an entire 2 double page spread on.

I drew up a mind map of the research I found with some facts to base my article on, as well as brainstormed some possible headlines.

Potential Imagery

Here are a view potential images I could include in my magazine spreads. I tried to find good high quality photographs as well as a few illustrations and diagrams. I must prefer the images I found on humpback whales as I love the colours and would like to use these as inspiration for the design of the rest of the pages.

Thumbnail Sketches

Here are my thumbnail sketches for each type of column number. I included splash and turn page layouts throughout, varying them as much as I could and using the editorial images I collected earlier for inspiration.

Setting Up the Grids

We had to set up the documents using InDesign; 250x202mm trimmed pages, one spread with 6 columns and the other with 11 columns.

Initial Mock Ups and Developments

I then started trying to recreate some of my layouts from my thumbnails using the software. Below you can see some of my process and changes I made as I went.

Here is my first mock up for the splash and turn 6 column spreads. I tried out a contrasting colour scheme and a view variations of the layout. I think I prefer the first variation for the turn page more as there's more of a balance of negative space so I will probably revert back to that if I decide to take this design forward.

Here is my first mock up of the splash and turn for the 11 column spreads. So far I am happy with how this is going, and I especially love the more complementary colour scheme and the faded words in the background of the spread. However I think the layout of the body copy could do with a rework as I'm not sure I like it at the moment.

Here I tried out another layout for the 11 column grid spread, using a full bleed image for the splash page. Im not as happy with the turn page; I think there perhaps isn't enough body copy and the images are too large.

Developments After Feedback

After receiving some feedback on how to improve my initial spreads I went ahead and made some changes. I was told my spreads look more like two splash pages, so for the first set I removed the big titles from the turn spread, tweaked the layout of the body copy, changed some of the images so there were smaller and then switched out all the place holder text to an actual article. I also wrote out the pull quotes, headers, sub headers, and captions etc.

The second set I did mostly the same thing but I quite drastically changed the layout as I felt the images were too large and that there wasn't enough body copy. I also edited the images to that I could use text wrap.

Magazine Cover

For the cover I began by researching online to get some initial inspiration. I tried to find ones that were a little different from each other; some being more busy and others more minimal, focusing more on promoting the main featured article.

I then draw up a few quick thumbnail sketches, thinking about how I wanted to layout the elements on the cover. I knew I definitely wanted the mast head to be at the top so that it would be most visible on a shelf and then include a large, high quality image of a whale. I mainly just experimented with the placement of the featured article name and if I was going to include other articles or not.

I then began transferring some of my thumbnail sketches into design in Adobe InDesign, experimenting with a colours and typefaces that would match my article spreads and create a harmonising set of work. I ended up designing two covers; one for a more affordable magazine and the other more minimal and high-end.

Final Designs

Here are my final designs for each of the different column grids and the cover after receiving all of my feedback. I also included mocked up versions so you can see them in action and how they might actually look in a magazine.