Year 12 Media Studies Magazine Evaluation

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Information about Year 12 Media Studies Magazine Evaluation

Published on February 18, 2014

Author: JamesMLooby



This is the evaluation I created at the end of my year 12 media studies course.



AUDIENCE PROFILE Before I carried out my research, I had this in mind about the typical member of my audience: The male or female that enjoys my magazine is a 16-30 year old middle-class member of the populace that loves indie music. They are not necessarily well educated, but they are likely well-read, and probably consider themselves to be „smart‟. They enjoy mostly non-mainstream indie and alternative music. Although much of the music industry is based on fame, they do not care for it, and simply love the music and the people that make it. They may not have a well paying job, or may not have any job at all – which is perhaps why they do not like hearing about mainstream artists successes and prefer to root for the underdog. They are creative, and use the music they love to express themselves.

AUDIENCE PROFILE After discovering who my audience were, I performed a survey to learn more about what would appeal to them in a magazine. From this data, I could gain more information about who my audience are. From these two questions, I learnt that my audience prefers to see order than chaos. From this I can gain that they prefer the sophisticated layout that is more often associated with older audiences as it separates them from the mainstream view of young people and makes them feel more cultured and less like a „puppet of the system’ . Also, they want something that looks less childish in order to make themselves appear sophisticated.

AUDIENCE PROFILE From these two questions, I learnt that my audience prefers quainter, more natural, less in-your-face colours. From this I can gain that, again, my audience wants to appear sophisticated for having a different view than the mainstream media, as bright, loud colours are often considered as being more childish and more associated with pop music and culture. Duller colours are also more arty and relaxed than their brighter counterparts , and from this I can learn that my audience has a more relaxed, easy-going view on life.

AUDIENCE PROFILE From this question I learn that my audience prefers to read things in a less serious, more conversational tone. From this I can gain that my audience, again, has a more laid back attitude toward life. However, this contrasts the need to feel sophisticated that my audience seems to harbour. Because of this, I can learn that my audience, although they want to feel like a refined grown-up in the big wide world, are still young at heart.

AUDIENCE PROFILE From this question I can learn that my audience generally do not have well paying jobs or are simply unemployed. But then again, who wouldn‟t want a free magazine?

AUDIENCE PROFILE After completing my research, I found that much of my initial predictions were correct. For example, my research fully supports that my audience have an aversion to all things mainstream, and have a strong hatred for pop music. They also hate the idea of being stereotyped as being typical young people, and try very hard to be different. I initially predicted that my audience is jobless, which could be seen as quite a chaotic trait. However, after my research, I have learnt that my audience are not like this, and prefer everything to be neat and tidy, meaning that they are perhaps more mature than other people their age. I also learnt that, although they like to appear mature, they are still young at heart, and prefer a more conversational tone when being spoken to, rather than a formal one. They are also creative people, and are drawn to imaginative designs.


FRONT COVER Consistent use of the font: „Georgia‟. Creates a cohesive house style that helps to make my brand recognisable to my demographic. The consistency here is not chaotic and makes the magazine seem more sophisticated, which appeals to my audience.

FRONT COVER Very limited use of plugs to avoid cluttering the page. Appeals to tidiness and sense of order that my audience prefer over more stereotypical and chaotic designs.

FRONT COVER Running head will always be positioned at this position on the page for every issue. The consistency appeals to the order that my audience find attractive over chaos.

FRONT COVER Masthead and running head are entirely separate to the rest of the page, this avoids cluttering and makes the content of the issue clearer, which is vital as the content of the magazine is not heavily featured on the cover. This therefore puts more focus on the area of the page below the masthead and running head, which is the more creative area which is designed to be appealing and meaningful.

FRONT COVER Feature article photograph designed to be meaningful and to say things about the artist. (Cluttered table full of mugs representing the fact that the band does not leave their house, warm colours used to create homely atmosphere, etc.) Appeals to my audience‟s creativity and fondness of knowing who the artists are as people.

FRONT COVER Due to the fact that my audience seem to harbour a strong dislike for all things mainstream, I tried to keep the design of much of my magazine unconventional, in order to appeal to them. However I also needed to remain identifiable as a music magazine. I will delve into this topic in detail later on…

CONTENTS PAGE Page split equally in half, image focus on one side, information about magazine content on the other. This equal separation makes the page organised and grants equal focus on image and text.

CONTENTS PAGE Continued use of the font: „Georgia‟. Maintains the house style which makes my brand recognisable to my demographic. Yet again, appeals to the want to be sophisticated and less stereotypical that my audience have.

CONTENTS PAGE Colours used in text are directly taken from image. This creates a greater sense of consistency which is more visually appealing to my audience.

DOUBLE PAGE SPREAD Informal mode of address used. Appeals to my audience, who prefer a conversational tone in writing.

DOUBLE PAGE SPREAD Technical language and imagery also used. Appeals to the creativity and intelligence of my audience.

COMFORT FACTOR Through my research into other magazines, I found that one of the most important factors in making a magazine appealing to any audience is how easy it is to read and how natural and comfortable it feels to the reader. I therefore included features in my magazine to make my magazine feel comfortable to a reader.

COMFORT FACTOR Warm colours used – reminiscent of the glow caused from firelight. Creates a cosy, comfortable atmosphere.

COMFORT FACTOR Picture not intimidating. Taken in a house rather than a studio, more familiar atmosphere. No impression of cockiness or intimidation in the picture, more friendly and comfortable. Casual clothing worn by subjects of the photo, not intimidating. Mugs, associated with warmth and comfort. Cluttered atmosphere, casual, less imposing.

COMFORT FACTOR Block parallelograms used to break up large chunks of text. Makes text seem less daunting and therefore nicer/more comfortable to look at.

COMFORT FACTOR Font size slightly altered in „Reviews‟ section (from 16pt to 14pt) in order to keep each page reference on one line. This makes the design consistent and is also quite conventional, as it is an appealing layout that people like to see and are comfortable with.

COMFORT FACTOR Semi-transparent white used for background of text rather than pure, bright, opaque white. This allows the photograph to be seen behind it which is less restrictive and makes the page feel more „free‟. In addition, bright colours are often imposing, and using a less bright colour is less so

COMFORT FACTOR Subject of photograph not looking at camera and smiling. Feels friendly and not intimidating.

COMFORT FACTOR Shorter columns of text that go horizontally across the bottom of the pages (rather than the more conventional longer columns that span whole pages. This format makes the blocks of text seem smaller than they actually are, which makes them less daunting and therefore more comfortable for the reader to read.

COMFORT FACTOR Informal mode of address used. Feels more friendly and conversational, which is more comfortable to read.

COMFORT FACTOR Unplanned photograph featuring subjects naturally laughing. Again, not intimidating and creates a comfortable, friendly atmosphere.


FRONT COVER Image on front cover is familiar to the social group interested in my magazine. It represents the fact that my audience probably live in or share a house similar to this one, and are in fact, much like the subjects of the feature photograph.

FRONT COVER Image on front cover also serves as an aspirational image, as it promotes a lifestyle of not having to leave the house, and being relaxed.

CONTENTS PAGE Subject of photograph surrounded by nature, represents the creativity of my audience. Also serves as an aspirational figure, as she appears laid back and at peace.

CONTENTS PAGE Names of bands also appear aspirational to my audience as they are detailed as being the „ones to watch‟ and receive a slightly elevated status.

DOUBLE PAGE SPREAD Image and colour scheme on double page spread is aspirational as it promotes a comfortable, friendly, homely atmosphere, and represents my audience as being fun-loving, and comfortable around friends.

DOUBLE PAGE SPREAD Headline promotes positive image of all homes, which represents the fact that my audience probably live in or share unimpressive houses, but still inspires confidence. This therefore represents my audience‟s idea that they are at least slightly well-off in the housing department.

DOUBLE PAGE SPREAD Pull quote represents both the scientific and cultural interests of my audience, which represents my audience as intelligent and cultured.


COMPETITOR MAGAZINES Once I had an idea of who would be buying my magazine, I explored the internet and found three other magazines that my audience would also be likely to read: I then analysed the front cover, contents page, and double page feature articles of an issue of each of these magazines, in order to get an idea of what shape my magazine would take…

FOLLOWING CONVENTION Due to the fact that my magazine is trying to appeal to a niche audience that pride themselves in not following convention, I mostly avoided the typical layout of mainstream magazines. However, I still wanted my product to remain recognisable as a music magazine. As a result of this, I stuck to some conventions…

FOLLOWING CONVENTION Typical placement of masthead on the front cover is from the top-left corner from left to right. Makes the product recognisable as belonging to this medium.

FOLLOWING CONVENTION Use of running head to promote brand identity and house style within the magazine.

FOLLOWING CONVENTION Masthead/magazine logo shown next to page number to create strong sense of brand identity/house style.

FOLLOWING CONVENTION Conventional feature of drop cap used.

FOLLOWING CONVENTION Pull quote used – conventional feature.

BREAKING CONVENTION Conventionally, magazine covers are filled with as much information about the content of the magazine as possible. This is due to the fact that they need to be sold. My magazine however, is given for free, and therefore does not need to be littered with plugs and puff to sell itself. I therefore broke convention by having very limited information on the front of my magazine.

BREAKING CONVENTION Conventionally, contents pages in music magazines array information in many columns, give larger amounts of focus to more important articles such as cover stories, and offer small write ups summarising the referenced article..

BREAKING CONVENTION In my magazine however, I broke convention by keeping all the page references in one column. This created a more novel-like contents page which would appeal to my well-read audience. This also makes the page feel more ordered, which appeals to my audience as it feels more sophisticated.

BREAKING CONVENTION I also broke convention by not classing any articles as being more important. I did this by listing the articles in page order. All of the contents entries are the same size and follow the same format so as to not draw any particular attention to themselves.

BREAKING CONVENTION I also broke the convention of including a description of the article next to it‟s page number. Instead I only included the names of the band featured in the article, the names of the albums being reviewed, or the venues at which certain bands were playing. I did this so that readers of the magazine would not form any sort of judgement about an artist before reading the full story about them.

BREAKING CONVENTION Columns of text organised in a shorter, more horizontally dominant format, rather than the traditional vertically dominant format.


DISTRIBUTORS/PUBLISHER S IPC Media are one of the largest magazine publishing companies in the UK. They publish such works as NME and Uncut. I believe that this company could publish my magazine as they do not currently publish a magazine like mine (that is a magazine focusing on independent, up and coming artists) However, due to the small, niche audience of my magazine, and moreover, the fact that it is free of charge, I do not feel that IPC Media would publish it, as there is not much chance of making a large profit.

DISTRIBUTORS/PUBLISHER S MAMA & Company are also a viable institution to publish my magazine. They already have a magazine (“The Fly”) which features similar artists to the ones featured in my magazine. MAMA & Company also own many London based venues as well as other venues elsewhere in the UK. In addition, the company own a collection of small festivals which take place across the UK. These non-mainstream venues and festivals would appeal greatly to my audience. However, due to the fact that MAMA & Company already publish a magazine similar to mine, which is also free, it is unlikely that they would publish mine too.

DISTRIBUTORS/PUBLISHER S INDEPENDANT Probably the most feasible distribution/publishing plan for my magazine is to independently print and publish the magazine in-house. The magazine could then be distributed in places where my audience are likely to see it (i.e. coffee shops, record stores and smaller music venues). This would likely be popular with my indie audience and would be a safe option for the future of my magazine, as it means that the image and style of the magazine can be kept how myself or the readers want it to be, and not changed to suit the needs of a larger coorperation.


VIGNETTE Due to the colour of the photograph, I had a problem regarding the legibility of the white text.

VIGNETTE To get around this issue I selected „Correct Camera Distortion…‟ from the „Filter‟ tab.

VIGNETTE This opened a range of options for correcting various aspects of an image. I used the „Vignette‟ section.

VIGNETTE I altered the amount of vignetting all the way to „-100‟. This created shadows in the corners and edges of the image and also darkened these sections.

VIGNETTE This solved the problem, as the text became a lot more legible.

OVERLAY The initial draft of my front cover involved the cover line being slightly transparent so that the background could be seen behind/within the text.

OVERLAY However, altering the opacity did not give me the effect which I desired, so I changed the layer mode to „Overlay‟

OVERLAY This gave me the effect I desired, however the text was not fully legible (and was incorrectly spelled).

BRUSH TOOL To resolve this issue, I decided to put something of a darker colour behind the text so that it could be read. To do this I used the „Brush Tool‟. I experimented with different brushes and found that „Wet Sponge‟ was the most suited.

BRUSH TOOL By performing multiple strokes with the brush gave the impression of rougher, stained edges with an appealing, smooth middle.

QUICK SELECTION TOOL After playing around to make the cover line appropriately stand out, I wanted to follow magazine convention by having the subject of the photograph‟s head in front of the text.

QUICK SELECTION TOOL In order to achieve this, I needed to create a separate layer consisting of only the subject‟s head and bring that layer to the front of the image. To isolate the head from the photograph, I used the „Quick Selection Tool‟.

QUICK SELECTION TOOL This tool works similarly to both the „Magnetic Lasso Tool‟ (in the sense that it sticks to the „edges‟ of sections of an image), and the „Selection Brush Tool‟ (in the sense that the selection is applied with a brush like cursor).

QUICK SELECTION TOOL After moving the layer to the front of the image, the desired effect was achieved.

DIFFERENCE When I inserted the masthead to my contents page, it could not be seen on the white background. As well as this, I also wanted to be able to read the word „Contents‟ along with the masthead. To efficiently achieve the effect that I desired, I changed the layer mode of the masthead to „Difference‟

DIFFERENCE This gave the desired effect.

RECTANGLE TOOL I used the „Rectangle Tool‟ to create a rectangular shape for use in conjunction with the subtitles on the contents page.

SKEW TOOL However, I did not find the rectangles to be visually appealing and I thought that parallelograms would fit better. Unfortunately, there was no „Parallelogram Tool‟, so I had to improvise. I did this by skewing the shape using the „Skew Tool‟.

SKEW TOOL By dragging the bottom-centre point to the left I achieved the desired effect.

OPACITY I wanted to make it so the hidden section of the image could still be seen behind the white area.

OPACITY To do this, I altered the „Opacity‟ of the layer from „100%‟ to „70%‟ and that gave me the desired effect.


ORIGINAL TASK We were originally set the task of designing and creating a student magazine for the school at which we attend. We were tasked with making the front cover and contents page, all whilst having limited knowledge of magazine convention and limited technical skill. As a result of this, I learnt a great deal in the progression from this task to the final task.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT Text must always be legible, rath er than just blindly following house style.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT Subject‟s face should not be covered, as it is very important in conveying information about magazine and articles inside.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT Any visual effects used should be unobtrusive of the photograph. (Also, I feel, after using this effect, that visual effects can often make an image feel more tacky and less sophisticated, and I therefore didn‟t use anything of the sort)

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT (Although I didn‟t use this layout for my final task) Plugs should be contained within „columns‟ and should not overlap.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT Any editing performed on photographs should be convincing, and should not be performed if it is not necessary.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT I learnt that I much prefer an ordered layout to a chaotic one.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT Also, due to the fact that there was not much of a sense of house style/brand identity in my school magazine, I found that brand identity is important to making a magazine appear professional.

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