Geek Magazine: Layout Research

As I am looking to replicate an issue of Geek Magazine in the style of a ‘Convention Special’, it is crucial that the layout of my Cosplay segment  mimics the typical design of a Geek Magazine issue. With that being said, as I have planned to do an interview article, double-paged photo-spread and photo-diary article, this means that it may be tricky to compliment Geek’s usual design as there will be just as much copy as there is of images.

I have decided to take another look at the media kit found of Geek Magazine’s website for further guidance on how to go about designing my very own Geek layout. In this media kit, they have a plan layout for a printed publication which shows exactly where advertisements tend to go; which is really great as my final product is looking to be a printed version as opposed to something online. This is also something that I may need to consider as well: what advertisements (if any) I am allowed to use? Should I make my own? etc. I feel that in order to make it come across as authentic as possible, this is really something that I will need to take in to consideration, and soon. However, for now I need to focus on what my layout designs will possibly look like by looking at existing issues of Geek Magazine itself.

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As I’ve mentioned before in a previous post, Geek Magazine’s layout and design is very similar to niche publications such as Empire and Wired; almost to the point that if it wasn’t for the Geek logo situation by the page number, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. This is obviously because in theory these publications are very similar in topics, in that they provide a service for a particular audience and so it is understandable that they would look virtually the same. With that being the case, the demographic of these publications would also be the same and want the same things the magazine itself; which I would personally say is a balance of significant amount of copy and images.

From what I’ve read of Geek Magazine, it appears that the main focus of each issue revolves around a particular theme related to geek-culture; which ultimately tends to go right on the front cover itself and therefore has most amount of pages dedicated to that feature. As my issue looks to be about conventions, one of the main attractions is obviously going to be Cosplay; which is why this topic will fit perfectly in to being 2 articles and a photo feature spread as well.

Inspiration for Interview Layout:

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For the Cosplayer Interview article, I really like the idea of having the copy over the images like Geek Magazine chose to do for their interview with the cast of ‘Revolution’. To me, this a great way of showing how visual Cosplay can be as well as being able to identify which Cosplayer is being interview on each page; and it couldn’t hurt to save some space for the rest of the photo-spread either. The only risk that comes with choosing to do a layout like this is that it can sometimes make it hard to read the copy itself, as the images can be slightly overwhelming it they are not edited or positioned properly. With my article, the images will be different as I will be shooting on location at a convention and not in a studio; which in theory means that if I choose to shoot with a low depth of filed that the text should still be deemed readable and not too overwhelming in contrast. I have to say that I’m really leaning towards this type of layout for my interview article, to me it just looks so much more professional that it would be to have them separated; which I think would really hinder the images that I will include as they simply won’t be big enough.

Double-Paged Photo-Spread Inspiration:

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For this photo-spread, I’ve been looking at ways to show the images of the Cosplayers that I’ve interviewed in a way that is complimentary to the opposite interview layout page. A lot of the images above that I’ve looked at have had articles on the previous or opposite page to them which I think will make the segment appear more fluid than simply putting them together in a layout that has a montage feel to it. I also really like the idea of having quotations from the interview articles on top of each picture, which I think would be another way in which the reader can identify with each Cosplayer; giving it a more personal, yet still professional approach. I’m more leaning to this type of layout for the images than the trip-tych style of the photo-spread with had Katee Sackhoff  in it. To me, although that style flows fairly well with one person, with 3 Cosplayers being featured in the article I really think that a style like that would be slightly confusing for potential readers, as it would make it more difficult to determine which Cosplay was which from each interview.

Photo-Diary Layout Inspiration:

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With this article in my Cosplay segment, its obvious that the main focus will be the copy over the actual images. This is mostly because I am writing an article that is investigative and also documentary of my own experience with Cosplay, and so it needs to be quite detailed and therefore there will be a significant amount of copy on the page. This is something that is going to be quite tricky, because ideally in order to not make the article appear off-putting because of the amount of copy, I’m thinking that I with what images I do use they may need to go under the text; although this might also make it too busy looking as well. I like the first layout as it has quite a few images on the page and a relatively big amount of copy without making it look like there’s too much going on. However there are only 2 images and given the nature of my article this needs to have the right amount of image so that I can translate my Cosplay journey in a fluid fashion. I also like the  third and fourth layouts because they seem to have laid the images out so that they appear almost like a timeline, which is something that I think would work for my article as its telling the experience of a journey. Although, I kind of feel like there’s a little too much going on; especially in the fourth. I feel that this might be just something that I may have to make a small sacrifice with, and seeing as I still have yet to make my layout there might not be as much copy as I have previously thought. Once again, only time will tell!

With the Wales Comic-Con fast approaching, my main focus will be preparing for taking images of other Cosplayers who I have decided to interview as well as a form of back-up. This means that I need to once again do a little more research in what photographic techniques will best compliment these cosplayers, and then add them to my layout. In the meantime however, by next week I hope to that put together a mock-up of the layouts so that I can simply add any other images without any hassle at all.

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