Visual Communications: Magazine Structures-Magazine Processes.

The second tutorial of the Visual Communications module focused on magazine structure and how this is processed based on the usual release of each issue for a magazine. This was to help us understand the simple production of putting together an issue, as there must be a balance of content in order for the readers to find the magazine familiar and thus encourage them to buy the magazine again.

Magazine Structures:

Magazine Sections:

The Invisible Sections include FOB (front of book), BOB (back of book) and WELL (middle).

FOB – Front – Reels in readers interest, short info on issue, what’s exciting/interesting in the issue.

BOB – Back – Features

WELL – Middle- Can be skipped past.

Main Sections:

  •   News
  • Columns
  • Editorial
  • Reviews
  • Features
  • Regulars

How it helps the reader:

Sections of magazines are created to help the reader find balance in the content provided, it creates a “breadcrumb” trail which makes it easier to read. It also helps the reader on their so-called journey through the issue as it spreads out the content which can help the reader to identify the tone and value which will ultimately put them at ease due to the familiarity. It is generally structured to help the target audience know what to expect, if this changes they obvious the readers attitude would change along with this. An example of this could be if a magazine such as Empire, a magazine catered to film, was to discontinue their highly awaited interview feature it would generate a backlash as result in fewer readers as it is not what is expected from the magazine. Some magazines contain a flowing structure, such as the New Statesman, where it feels almost like a book and is usually more strenuous to read. In contrast, many contain shorter features and more advertisements, a prominent example of this would be fashion magazines such as Vogue.

Depending on the demographic, magazines will feature a range of content that can change the perception of quality to readers. An example of this would be adding colour coded tabs and headers, while others may contain high quality images with little texts to add value. However, ultimately in order to have a successful magazine, it is essential that readers feel that they are getting value for their money, and a good way to prove this to them is by containing as much content as possible.


This is used to help plan how pages will be arranged together, even before creating them. An example of this would be page one: Cover, Page two: content page, Page Three: Advert and so on. Although advertisements are usually used in the flatplan, it is an essential part of magazine planning as this is where they make most of their money; however, what advertisement is shown depends on what magazine it is being featured in. For example, Cosmopolitan will include advertisements for designer clothing, make-up and purfume; for Empire, it would have ads for film posters, dvd releases and film events.


  • Sign of how well a magazine is doing/ what readers will expect in quality
  • Placement is important
  • Editorial and Ads work well together

What to Include:

What tends to determine what goes in to a magazine’s content can be a number of aspects. For example, the season ( whether it be winter or summer), what is deemed to be popular at that moment (is it trendy enough to sell copies?) and so on. It is all about remaining in the moment and generating the here and now.

The Grueling But Essential Magazine Processes.

Words and pictures:

  • Copy
  • Images

Three main groups:

  • Editorial
  • Art and production
  • Ads


  • Publishers
  • Managing editors
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Printers

What goes in/why?

  • Editorial meetings
  • Individual ideas
  • Ad driven
  • Seasonal
  • Trend
  • Set in stone schedule
  • Freelance pitch
  • Readers letters


  • Fixed layout
  • News editor/editor will decide a running order


  • Broken down into parts
  • Content, focus agreed with editors
  • Layout a moveable feast (sort of)
  • Art will conceive a ‘treatment’
  • Commissioned or in-house


  • Headline
  • Strap
  • Copy
  • Details
  • Character or word counts


  • From in-house or freelancers
  • Copy from freelancers often needs to be stylised
  • Formatting for the layout
  • Style guide

Style guide:

  • AP
  • Guardian
  • Personal whim of the editor
  • Dictated by demographic


  • Original photography
  • PR companies or direct
  • Stock shot websites
  • Imagery will have its own ‘style guide’

Rough process:

  • Copy and images on server
  • Layout
  • Sub-editor
  • 1st read
  • 2nd read
  • Sub-editor
  • Editor


  • Think about your target demographic
  • Think about the section your DPS is in
  •  Write them down

Taget Demographic:

As my initial thoughts for my target demographic would be similar to that of such publications like Epmire and Total Film, I feel that my double page spread would be in a section that is usually more lenient in terms of its content from issue issue. An example of this would possible be features. I have decided that I would like my double page spread to centre on the subject of Comic Con and as an annual attendee of this event, It has come to my attention that there is a significant decline of attendees who go for comics. The convention now revolves about advertisement of big budget productions from Hollywood or the gaming industry, and so I have come to question if the convention is simply ignoring its roots and embracing its new-found fame of being a symbol of pop-culture? I feel that this is an article that would be included in something like a features section as its a topic that many readers I am sure will have often pondered themselves.

Overall, I enjoyed this tutorial. It contained aspects of magazine making that I have often wondered about myself and the creation of them in general. I feel that its pretty essential for us to know in depth the detail behind sections in magazines as it will help us when we do eventually start writing our 1000 word article and will help us cater the writing style to that specific section. It is also key for us to know if not already start to question what type of demographic we would like to write our article for, by going in to detail with all above, it has definitely helped me start to brainstorm what exactly I want to write along with the magazine this article should be a part of.



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