A foreign publishing house plans to publish a new magazine and has contacted you to do the project. They know what the magazine will be about and they can provide you with finished articles. They just do not have any visual idea or strategy for the magazine itself. Your job is to come up with a concise strategy and visual concept that forms the basis of the magazine as well as the layout.
I started this project with a few lessons:
Given the subject matter, I instantly thought of a magazine familiar to me; the «Innsikt» magazine published by Aftenposten.
Frontpage: I don’t really like this front page all that much. It is chaotic and full of information.
Innsikt is a magazine with narrow borders and dense content, suitable for the subject matter. Page 5 comes after a few ads. It has the Editor’s Letter and table of content. The images are equal squares, the headlines low caps in dark red and the page numbers in bold and red. Certain parts are in bold black.
Everything is kept clean and sombre.
This page list the contributors. It also informs about its digital solutions. Note the use of the grey-pink background colour repeated from the Editor’s Letter. Also, notice the use of red and dark red.
The very next content is a snapshot of events taken place after the last issue. The photos and text are all the same size and layout.
The next content is stuff read since the last issue. The pages let the eyes travel across the page, keeping it interested. Note the blue repeated in images and in the text as high lights. There is the use of dotted lines and lines and also faded enlarged type.
After all the «since the latest issue», we get the first mayor article. It has an illustration in full bleed and across both pages. The highlighted text is a green taken from the illustration. Note the convervative style kept throughout the magazine.
The article is set in the same style, informative, packed with information and the layout consistent. Note the use of the green text, indicating that you are still reading the same article. The next articles are the same style, but the highlight colour is different for each.
Then, after a few articles, a full double spread, full blead image pops up. This is also a «snapshot since last issue».
Then we get some more articles, all regarding this issues theme. And then we get an new snapshot in the same layout design.
These patterns and styles then repeats through out the magazine.
Aftenposten has an other magazine, the A-magasinet. Lets have a little peak into it:
The front page is one striking image. The A in Aftenposten is the logo for the magazine, and the text is kept simple and to the minimum.
The Editor’s Letter is here on the same page as the contributors and not the list of contents. Note the use of typefaces and light background colour. It is the same as in «Innsikt». This is a magazine within a family of publications.
The table of content is a page a variation of the previous. It has the same graphic elements and guides.
It looks more like the newspaper layout with all black type than the colour variation from «Innsikt».
Also note the use of line and border elements. I like it. The use of coloured fonts sparingly, is also very effective.
When we then get to the main article, we find the guide itself used as a design element with a quote from the artist right in the middle, becoming the headline. The photo on the oposite side is full bleed.
The pages in the magazine repeats elements like lines, quotes, larger and smaller elements and use of images, creating a familiar pattern.
Later, we have an article of a more scientific nature, which has been given a light background colour and slightly less air and no photos, giving it a serious vibe. Still familiar layouts are repeated. The graphic elements, the typefaces and the lines. The headlines are different and help us understand it is a different type of content.
I will have to consider if I want to use this conservative style or go for something slightly edgier. The magazine in the brief has deeply serious subject matter, but it also needs to stand out in order to be picked up and be the tool for change it needs to be.