Category: Formatting effective layouts

Transforming websit article to Magazine Spreads


Final spread 1


Final spread 2


Magazine Spread 1

By starting off the design process of the first spread, I created a master grid system with six column that will be used within the two spreads. By setting the baseline grid, guide rules and guidelines for column and margins (see screenshot 1-3), it allow me to stick with these layout during the whole design process.

Before visualising the layout, I made use of rectangle frame tool (see screenshot 4) to orgainise the text and image , so it gain me an impression on how the final output will look like. With the typography, I have experiemented with text scale and colours to create hierarchy, leading readers to focus on the book title and image in the first piority by attracting them on the content. The title text was also in a large scale in order to create a striking effect. For the colour choices, I have chosen a simular colour palette with a combination of pink and black that have similar use in the website, which make the magazine more engaging and bright-looking (see screenshot 5 & Resources 2).


Screenshot 1: Baseline grid and guidelines


Screenshot 2: Baseline grid, Margins and Columns setup


Screenshot 3: Create layout master (rectangle frame tool, snap to guide)


Screenshot 4: Insert text and image


Screenshot 5: Adding shapes, line & colour


Magazine Spread 2

In the second spread, I adapt the same grid system to show an alternative way to layout the image and text. By seperating them into three columns (see screenshot 6-7), also experiment with text allignment such as centered text, It features each promoted book with a clear and readable description in a formal while attractive way.

I continued using different font size, as well as pink and black to create hierarchy among text. Pink rectangles are used to decorate and highlight the images of book (see screenshot 8).

At last, I futher adjust the typography by adding intent to group the text with better legibility , and end up as my final design (see Final spread 1-2) by switching pages between spreads of the second and fouth page as to prevent mountain of texts.

Screenshot 6: Alternative layout 


Screenshot 7: structuring last page 


Screenshot 8: designing spread 2

Software Tutorials

The software tutorials that I make use was mainly from Adobe website and Youtube. In previous project, I have some experiences using Indesign in struturing text by paragrapg style and master page, while lack of knowledge about structuring both image and text.

In the initial stage of struturing the text and image with layout grid, I watched Dansky and Stephen Kelman’s Youtube tutorials , which I learnt to use guidelines and rules with margin and columns setting to create a grid system and organise content properly. Stephen futher demonstrated about how to use the three column grid systems that I used to created for my magazine spread. In Adobe tutorial: Align content with guides, I then learn to use the snap to guide to easily making text allign with the grid system that I created. Another adobe tutorial about wrap text around objects, it helps me to create equal margins to seperate the image from text by using the text wrap tool.

Futhermore, The youtube streaming: Erik Kirtley streaming the design of magazine spreads was also useful on helping me with the baseline grids and guides that align the context properly. The streaming also shows tools to change colour of the image within Indesign, which I haven’t used this tool in my design but found it quite helpful in creating interesting visual effects within magazine spreads.


Resources for research and inspiration

By planning magazine layouts, I mainly found inspiration from Pinterest, which provide loads of layout ideas with their composition of text and images. Creative market website involve professional magazines designs spread, which I was inspired by one of an example (see Resources 1) that create an effective and simple layout using basic visual elements with colour and shapes. The original website (see Resources 2) for the design task also inspired me to make uses of a simular colour pallete of pink and black.

For articles that help me across, 10 Tips for Designing High-Impact Magazines shared few tips that inspired my magazine spreads, such as tips like ‘stick with few colours to make the magazine spread looks balanced and stylish.’ and ‘A single pop of color shouts the loudest’. Some of the most effective magazine designs used color very sparingly, proving a simple pop of bold color can be more striking than a palette of rainbow brights. It encourages me to experiment with the technique sticking with two to three colour and making a poping colour to the text.


Resources  1: Inspiration of magazine spread 


Resources 2: website: Rule Breakers: Ten novels that broke the mould

Learning across the module

From the quiz result, I can see tiny improvement in the knowledge of the software, which reflect I still have space to improve my software skills. I have lack of knowledge about exporting image and chosing to work on a right software in some case. However, I thought I have learnt quite lots of techniques and gain some experiences with the software across the module.

In Autumn term, I mainly focus on generating ideas through task include podcast cover, postcard and stickers. As I would like to practice using in Adobe indesign in the spring term, I have spent more time and was more confident in using  adobe indesign working on timetable and magazine spreads design.

To further develop my software skill in future, I will start from using photoshop, as to improve my photography editting skills in more professional.

Screenshot 9: Quiz result


Magazine layouts

Design ideas & process

I wanted to show two very different design layouts and chose a non-linear and a linear design. For one I wanted to use a lot of images with not a lot of space between the writing and for the other I wanted it to be very striped back in terms of visual design features.

Linear design
Non-linear, circular layout

For the very stripped back design approach I wanted to let the typography do most of the visual effect and only used one photograph. This was possible through the use of the text wrap panel. Wrapping the text around the image it could add extra visual to the spread and tie into the text so it doesn’t seem out of place or forced. To stop the image from taking over I used the direct selection tool to cut the image in half so only the right bottom triangle remained, thus allowing the text to wrap around the photograph in a diagonal line to bring it together.

Typographic design visual
Photograph prior to editing & text wrap

One of my design ideas was to create a circular layout, with the individual book covers surrounding the middle, creating a boarder for the circle. As it is a circular design the most important information goes to the centre, the core of the design. Individual book’s descriptions and information surrounds the title and introduction ,which the reader needs to make sense of what is going on – otherwise they may believe that it’s an ordinary list of books. Another reason for the book information going around the circle is to ensure it is clear that all the books are of equal weight in the hierarchy. There can be no mistaking one as more important than the another. To emphasise the purpose of the article I changed the colouring of the words ‘break the mould’ as that’s what it comes down to, these books aren’t the norm.

Original idea
Tinted background, prior to text wrap

Software tutorials

Building on the skills I learned from my previous experience with the Adobe InDesign software when we did the book exerts last term I used my notes to reiterate the principles we touched upon already. This helped me a lot in terms of setting up the hierarchy – especially with the non-linear design as it is an unusual spread for people to come across. Following the rule that something new catches people’s attention, but too many new and unusual things may end up confusing the reader in the end I drew from my experience of common and uncommon techniques. In order to get the spacing between the linear design right I used the guide lines. Similarly I ended up using the guide lines to centre the title and article introduction for the circular spread.

I did use the Adobe InDesign tutorial for Adding work with graphics to learn how to use the text wrap panel. This allowed me to further develop both my designs. Another good thing I learned from this tutorial is how to use the direct selection tool to alter the frame of an image in InDesign. I used this for the chosen photograph to become an integral part of my design to ensure I wouldn’t overwhelm my design with my chosen image. It allowed me to incorporate the photograph into the existing design, while keeping the balance of the layout. With the text wrap I managed to generate more space for the non-linear layout while also linking the individual covers to the corresponding information.

While it wouldn’t have worked for my designs, I do want to learn some more about how to wrap text around an object. Especially as the object doesn’t need to be removed from the image before being placed into InDesign. There’s so many possibilities I can explore with this. Moreover, in future, I would like to explore some more magazine layout styles, in particularly the call out features they use.

Resources for research & inspiration

One of my hobbies is Bullet Journaling (BuJo), so I create layouts a lot within my life to keep myself organised, jot down my ideas and thoughts and to relax. This meant that when this task was presented to me I already had a lot of different inspiration from creating my BuJo. As I wanted to do something that was non-linear I used a double spread layout I like to use on occasion as I felt it would suit the purpose. While I cannot recall who initially introduced me to this particular layout The Petite Planner uses a spread like this for her weekly spread to give you a better idea. Many others in the BuJo community use a similar layout for some of their spreads – the most popular ones I believe are to ones for tracking habits to improve them.

In terms of my other design idea I didn’t have a singular inspiration, I simply knew I wanted to create a large contrast between my two designs. I’m also rather fond of simply having text be the visual as I feel it is being often overlooked. Since I knew the other design would be quite heavy with images, colours and not have a lot of space I wanted this design to show the opposite (within reason of course). After having looked at some of my peer’s designs so far I developed a better understanding of what exactly I wanted my linear layout to look like.