Project: Magazine Pages

Choose a magazine, newspaper or journal and work out the grid or grids they have used.

You will probably need to look at least four pages to get a feel of the layout.

Measure the size of the pages, the margins, the text columns and the gaps in between them. How many columns do they use? Is it the same on every page?

Can you identify the fonts they use? Do you have it or one with similar properties?

How do they use photographs and illustrations? How much ‘white space’ on the pages is there?

Draw up a two page spread using the same grid as the magazine. Indicate text using Lorum Ipsum and indicate images by either filling a picture box with a 10% tint or using a picture from your collection.

When you have done this see if you can develop the grid further.

Select a title and images and see how many variations you can come up with. What happens when you alter the body font or headline font? Do different kinds of images change the ‘feel’ of the publication? Do you think the readership for each of your variations would be the same? Does the image you choose suggest a different design?

Which ones work best and why? Make notes in your learning log.

I looked at several magazines before deciding to use Graffiti Art Magazine. I choose this because I have a special inters in street art.

I get this bi-lingual magazine any time I am travelling through a french airport. I had never examined the layout in detail before. I was quite surprised that it is so sober. For a magazine dedicated to graffiti art one would expect something more adventurous. I felt the layout could be made more interesting. There is dry little white space making it very dense.

First I examined the layout and measured the gutter and margins..

I created a double page spread in InDesign using two column layout with a 4mm gutter and all the margins as they are in the original article.

The typeface was pretty easy. it was sans serif. I reckoned either Arial or Helvetica. I settled on Helvetica having examined the differences between these two typefaces.(see diary entry date 4th March.). The column on the left is the french version of the article and english is on the right. The left column seems to use ‘regular’ and left ‘light’ Hevetica. I used 10 as point size for the main body of the text as these seemed to be the point size used.

I decided to use my own graffiti images even though they did not fit the article which was about using words in Urban Art. I just wanted to work with something more colourful.. I measured and cropped the images to fit the areas allotted in the article.

Then I added the other attributes on the page like: page numbering, image captions, headers etc. The image captions proved difficult. They were numerated from 1 – 4. I made a list of the first two on the LHS page in 8pt type. I wanted to continue the numerated list beginning with the number 3 for the RHS page. I found a very non-intuitive method on the Internet. I am not sure I could re-create it. I had to decrease the tracking for the headings to -70 or -100. I used bold for the footer heading.

This is how the final product looked:

I find this layout almost overwhelmingly boring. Something I would not expect to find in a Graffiti magazine. The amount of white space is minimal making for a lot of dense reading. Since most young people are used to reading Twitter style material I feel the article would deter all but the most dedicated graffiti fans.

I then tried to make the layout more attractive using more relevant images. I did some sketches in my logbook.

Then I combined ideas from different bits of each and came up with this layout below. I have to remember that this is a bi-lingual magazine so French and English must be catered for in all layouts. The first one I did I envisaged French on the left page and English on the right. I met the graffiti artist in Chile, he was happy to be photographed.


I did some more sketches and then received some layouts from my tutor as part of my Assignment 4 feedback. Using these I tried some more sketches in my log book.

I tried the top one since this accommodates a bi-lingual layout. Below is the layout I came up with. I left large margins on the outside as I like white space especially with blocks of text.

I still feel that this is too dense and a little boring.

Using different images in sizes different from the original article I wanted to create something which I felt would appeal to a younger more trendy readership. Black as the background, I felt, would show off the images. I did keep to the brief in that there is text, albeit very little on some, but not all of the images. I wanted the main image which is text rich to bleed across the centre fold. I decided the language differences would be accommodated with different type colour. I also decided that it would be better to intersperse the different languages.


I feel the readership would be very different for each of these three designs. The first one might be a fairly general audience of people interested in graffiti art. The second one is, in my opinion, close to the original, and not very interesting for anyone other than the converted… The third should attract a young audience both for the layout and the images.