8 Ways to Make a Magazine Cover That Sells
Magazine covers are the first thing that make a publication sell
8 Ways to Make a Magazine Cover That Sells
I have been writing for magazines for some 30 years. Most of them were local publications, but I have also written for a regional magazine and a British publication in the past.
I also edited two magazines. One was a marketing magazine and the other was a food magazine. I want to share with you some tips on making a magazine cover that sells, and how to choose a good printing company that will present your hard work in the best light.
There days there are all types of magazines in the market – sports, health, gadgets, lifestyle, architecture and more. They look for a good printing company because the cover inspires people to pull your magazine out of a shelf and buy it, amid many other competing publications.
To make a Magazine Cover that sells, here are some tips:
1. Be consistent. You don’t want to sell just one magazine. You want a loyal readership. Loyal readers don’t like surprises. They want to get what they are expecting. Your magazine cover artist should communicate well with your printing company. He should also know the magazine’s inside layouts and content, and make the cover consistent with it. Also, have a standard cover template that rocks. This template will stay for a long, long time. Vogue, Reader’s Digest, Sports Illustrated and Good Housekeeping have regular templates, knowing their target market feels comfortable with consistency. Within the ranges of consistency, each edition can add a little extra to give each magazine cover added pop.
2. Audience first. Your cover must suit your target market. Try testing it by gathering people who comprise your target market, and ask them to view your design and give inputs on it. Your printing company should also be able to add valuable input.
3. Be inspired. Your cover won’t be inspired if you yourself aren’t inspired. Some tips: Bookmark magazine covers you see online that you like. When you feel dry you can look at them for starting points of inspiration. Also, have a collection of magazine design annuals from the last five years, and a copy of the Society of Publications Designers. The American Society of Magazine Editor’s Top 40 is another great reference tool. Look at their cover lines, use of white space, images and typography for ideas. If you still don’t feel inspired, go for a walk. That should do it.
4. Typography. Typography is how you arrange your cover text. More than selecting fonts, it involves principles of hierarchy that affect the style and appearance of the cover headlines. The top story should be emphasized through either color, height, glow, drop shadow or other techniques. It also involves the use of pull quotes, font colors and headlines. A good printing company should be able to spot weak points in your typography. This makes a big difference because typography can make a boring article attractive to a reader.
5. Offer benefits. Your magazine cover line should list the benefits the reader can expect such as latest updates, knowledge, tips on growing healthy vegetables and the like. Be specific and only include your top stories.
6. Use an amazing photo. The photo should have high quality and draw readers in. Consult your printing company to ensure that it has enough pixels for the job. The main image should be clearly seen. It could be an actor, athlete, food, or an animal. The image must personify what your magazine is about at just one glance. Choose a strong image with a plain background. Also, don’t keep your cover too busy.
7. Space matters. Balance white space on your cover design for a clear, clean look. It will have a subliminal relaxing feeling that will please your reader, especially when it is planned well with your other elements such as image, typography et. al. A good printing company should know when you have too much or too little space.
8. Don’t take risks with your printer. A magazine cover is the selling page of a publication. To make a fabulous design and then waste it on a sloppy, sub par printer wastes all your hard work. Go for experience and a track record. Choose a good printing company with a track record that includes good service and printing quality. A good printing company should be able to advise you on your cover elements, factoring in your brand, marketing goals, target market and budget.