Creating an Eye-catching Magazine Cover One of the hardest parts about designing a magazine is getting the right picture and making the other elements compliment that image. Layout designers find themselves asking the questions, is the image good enough, is all the text in the right place, and would they pick it up at a store? If it’s a question of beauty alone, then there’s not much you can do to answer those questions. What’s beautiful to you may not be beautiful to other people. You can’t just create a cover that’s beautiful. You also have to create one that is useful. Tips for a Useful Cover Design Here are a few things to think about that will help guide you to making a useful cover design. First and foremost, knowing what you know about what’s inside, ask yourself, what’s in it for them? Why in the world do they want to pick up your magazine? If it’s just for art, then it’s easily passed up by a busy shopper. If it’s for an exclusive interview with J.K. Rowling about the career paths that Harry, Hermione and Ron pursue later in life, then it will be hard to pass up, if you put that on your cover. Determine what your top 3 or 4 most interesting aspects of the magazine are and determine to put them on the cover. Out of those 3 or 4, determine which one is the most compelling reason and make that the cover. If it’s an interview with someone, then put their picture on the cover. If it’s a how to run barefoot without getting hurt then put a picture of bare feet running on concrete. Of course choose an attractive picture because some feet should never make it to film. Once you have an image that fits the most compelling reason, figure out a compelling tag line to accompany it. Use descriptive words that spark curiosity. For the Harry Potter example, you could simply put “Is Harry an Auror Now?” followed by the tagline, “an exclusive interview where Rowling reveals all.” Use action phrases to tell your reader to expect a powerful story. Balance that phrase with a benefit spelled out for the reader. This is the most important text that will sell your product or not. Tweak it until it is absolutely perfect. The shorter the copy, the better. Get to the point in as few words as possible. Make the words you do use descriptive. Use a thesaurus for ideas. Do the same for the other 2 or 3 hooks as well. Choosing the Right Picture Once all the text is figured out, you can start placing it with the picture. Your goal with the layout is to make the cover tell a compelling story. The image needs to bring them in, and then direct them to your tag line. Faces are very attractive to the unconscious mind. If you can focus on a face and have your text next to it, you will likely accomplish your goals. Check out how other magazines do it. Look up famous “people” magazines (not necessarily the magazine “People,” just magazines that feature people all the time). Take some ideas you like and try them out with your images. Make sure you’re following the standard design principles and you will be just fine. The only thing more compelling than a beautiful cover is one that tells a compelling story. Remember that as you design your covers from now on. Stevens Henager is in the business of creating educated experts out of inexperienced dreamers. They offer a layout design degree to anyone that wants to learn more. If you found this post helpful, then see how Stevens Henager can get you a layout design degree to begin your career in layout.