The magazine cover is a designer’s dream. There are sufficient constraints to give you framework — a set space of 8 through 11 customs or so; a couple of unifying traits that carry throughout issues — but past that it’s approximately you come arrange text and touch up photos, working with several of the ideal photographers and also illustrators in the game. Your just mission: disclose the magazine’s contents in a means that provides it jump off the shelf.

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The human being of print media might be shrinking yet the magazine cover proceeds to sell a riches of helpful takeaways for developers of every sorts — internet designers and packaging designers in particular. Below are 8 newspaper cover design techniques that all developers should know.

1. Dark top top light, light on dark text placement


Left to right: Morberg (via Me and also My Magazines); Interview (via an innovative Bloq); The new York time Magazine (via Pinterest)

The basis of most magazine covers is going come be one of two people a picture or one illustration. Either way, appealing pictures tend to have actually a great amount of contrast in between light and also dark regions. Obviously, for text to be readable, it have to be irradiate and set against a dark lift or evil versa.

So, much of magazine cover design is finding a perfect spot for message — look at just how New York time Style magazine listed below places the phrase “talking dirty” in the one an ar of George Clooney’s shirt the is many blackened, or how the text over Keira Knightley ~ above Interview magazine adheres to the heat of she dark coat.

Conveniently, modern designers have access to editing software prefer Photoshop, so digitally lightening or darkening locations of a photo is constantly a possibility. The crashing wave in the foreground the the Morberg magazine web page is a great bed because that dark text spelling the end the magazine’s contents however it might not it is in a “natural” part of the image. The designer could have lightened it increase or also planted it there altogether! If excellent well, we’d never ever know.

2. Match and also complement text color


Left come right: Seventeen newspaper (via naldzgraphics); home Miami (via you the Designer); Dwell Magazine

Black and white are constantly solid options for subtitles or various other smaller text, however a magazine cover’s bigger, bolder text facets are a an excellent place come inject some major color.

As any type of skilled designer knows, choosing color is never ever random. In newspaper cover design, usual approaches space to either complement or complement details vivid locations of the picture or illustration beneath. The below issue that Home Miami, for instance, samples the vibrant red tone from the patio chairs, just as the issue of Seventeen magazine samples the pink shade of Avril Lavigne’s lipstick. Dwell, ~ above the other hand, choose an orange that is not existing in the photo, yet which unique complements the image’s leading blue and also feel tones.

3. Usage 3D message behind and in prior of the image


Left come right: Vanity fair (via friend the Designer); new York newspaper (via Behance); Rolling rock (via Gossip Teen)

The magazine cover might literally it is in flat but that no mean every one of the style elements have to share a solitary plane. Indeed, one common strategy is to location a photograph or illustration therefore it partially obscures some text while showing up behind other text, effectively setting up 3 layered planes.

Vanity Fair employs this strategy in that cover with Tina Fey, and also Rolling Stone yes, really goes every out v its cover special Taylor Swift — she nearly entirely blocks the location text! notification how in the cover of New York magazine, the illustration that the earphone starts to wrap around the letter “k.”

4. Placing focus with backgrounds, bolds, italics, etc.


Left come right: Wired (coverjunkie); well-known Mechanics (coverjunkie); Cosmopolitan

One the the main attributes of the magazine cover is to offer the issue’s inside stories. This often means a lot of brief teaser present floating about the sheathe page. The more of these there are, the more methods a designer need to come up through to attract the reader’s eye to each — specifically in renowned magazines, which commonly go because that a loud approach.

On the most evident level, bold and also italic fonts are your ideal friend. Indigenous there, you have the right to get fancy with fancy or shame backgrounds — check out the pink and also yellow strips on Wired‘s cover, and the highlighting and also blue serrated ribbon on Popular Mechanics. Cosmopolitan, together you deserve to see, take away an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach.

5. Combine photography and also drawing


Left come right: Fiasco (via creative Bloq); Nature (via coverjunkie); Esquire (via McMurry)

Harkening ago to the humble doodle, a mix of photographic and illustrated/designed facets is frequently a good way to make a cover stand out. Examine out the clever methods in i beg your pardon Fiasco magazine and also Nature magazine mix the worlds of illustration and also photography, and also how Esquire Malaysia surrounding Daniel Craig through hand-written text in location of typical typographic fonts

6. Take it illustration and also digital architecture all the way


Left come right: WP (via Pinterest); WP (via Graphic arts News); The brand-new York times Magazine (via girlfriend the Designer)

Although less typical than the photo-centric approach, it’s possible to pull turn off an engaging shown or typographic-only cover. Great color and a distinctive style are, of course, vital here.

7. Spice up the boring stuff


Left come right: little White Lies; Slanted (via coverjunkie); The new Yorker

These 3 elements, although probably not of much interest to most designers, do have to be placed nonetheless. Many magazines take a quite hands turn off approach, leaving castle in a traditional spot in the bottom left corner. Some magazines, however, have found unique places to placed them, making lock striking architecture elements in themselves.

For example, see just how The new Yorker includes the price and also date above the title line, in the classic brand-new Yorker font, or just how Little White Lies always includes the barcode front and also center in the focused circular window. This specific issue the Slanted is laid the end to look like a to press error, with the an outcome being the the barcode, right here in purple, sits dead center.

8. Consistency is key



While all of the above techniques provide a designer many of room to get creative, the is ultimately necessary to remember the every constant publication needs some degree of consistency from issue-to-issue, in stimulate to keep its branding intact.

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This walk not typical a design template (although some publications seem to adhere come one), yet it does median that the in its entirety layout and also feel remain much more or much less constant. Examine out these display grabs that Cosmopolitan, Dwell, and Time newspaper covers to see what we mean.