How to Improve your Magazine Design

Flipping through a magazine

Last updated on June 21st, 2024 at 04:34 pm

At first thought, printed magazines may seem like a thing of the past. Even with the rise of social media and online communication in general, printed magazines are still very popular with today’s society. Despite devices such as smartphones and e-readers, many people still prefer to hold a physical printed magazine in their hands. It’s sensory. You can pick it up and feel its weight and presence, smell the ink and take in the glossy paper and vibrant colors. Nothing compares to that experience. Here’s how to make that moment even better for your audience by improving your magazine design.

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First thing’s first; planning

Before you get to designing, you want to make sure you have enough content to fill a magazine. Take stock of all of your collateral, everything from the images to the ads and articles. Everything you include in your magazine should be intentional and thoughtfully curated. There are a lot of ways you can structure your magazine, but you’ll want to tailor that to your audience. Group similar pieces of content together to help your magazine flow. Flipping through the magazine will be a much more enjoyable experience if the content your audience is reading through makes sense. 

Don’t judge a magazine by it’s cover… or do

It’s no secret that it’s hard to grab someone’s attention these days. Between short attention spans and only having a few seconds to stop someone passing by, it seems to be near impossible sometimes. With a magazine, not only do you have to stop someone to grab their attention, you need to draw them in enough that they will pick up the magazine and flip through it. Keeping these things in mind, you’ll want to carefully select the cover photo and headlines you include. Make sure you accurately reflect the interior content, and highlight the hot topics that your target audience will be interested in. Come up with some hooks that will stop your audience in their tracks and make it so they have to see what’s inside your magazine. While you want to hook your audience, you’ll want to make sure you are not misleading. Nothing would infuriate someone more if they are expecting one thing and then open up a magazine to find something completely unrelated. If they feel you have wasted their time, they may not give you another chance.

Magazine open on a table next to a cup of coffee

Use high quality images

One of the most important things to remember with any print project is to use high quality images. The standard resolution for printing is 300 pixels per inch. Just because an image looks good on your computer screen does not guarantee it’s hi-res and will look good in print. If you are unsure of the size of your image, your best bet is to open it up in an image program to view the file properties. Most computers come loaded with a basic image editing program that will allow you to do this, so no need to break the bank on some fancy software. Your magazine will only be as good as your highest quality asset, so take care to make sure you don’t end up with pixelated and blurry images that are hard to decipher.

Person opening up a magazine

Details matter

Seemingly little aspects of your magazine such as the colors and font you use are actually very important. It’s never a bad idea to research your audience and note details such as which fonts appeal to different types of readers. Choosing a legible font is crucial to the success of your magazine. You may have amazing content, but if no one can decipher it, it won’t do you any good. If you are targeting an elderly audience, consider opting for a larger font. The older you get, the harder it can be to focus on tiny print.

The same goes for colors. You’ll want to stay in line with your branding and ensure the core design of your magazine matches that. If your business incorporates a number of colors into its branding, make sure you are combining ones that compliment each other and are not difficult to read. Red text on green, and vice versa, is never a good idea.

Pro tip: When designing, keep margins in mind and make sure you don’t lose any content to the gutter

Take advantage of EDDM

If you don’t already, you should consider taking advantage of EDDM, Every Door Direct Mail services. The EDDM online tool through the USPS website helps you map out your routes, ensuring your magazines are delivered exactly where you want them. Instead of providing a specific list with names and addresses, you select the route through the USPS mapping tool. Not only are you saving time and money by not having to acquire and prepare a mailing list, the USPS also offers postage discounts that are available for most businesses and you can send anywhere from 200 to 5,000 pieces of mail per day per ZIP code. It’s fairly simple to set up an EDDM Retail Mailing, but the USPS website includes a step-by-step process outlined here.

And last but not least, the materials

Printivity offers two types of magazine binding, perfect bound books and saddle-stitched booklets. The number of pages you have in your magazine will dictate which binding is better suited for your project. Saddle-stitch is ideal for booklets with 64 pages or less and perfect bound booklets work best with anywhere from 30 to 200 pages. When you order your magazines through Printivity, you can customize everything right down to the shrink wrap or three hole punching. If your magazine is all about high class items and luxury living, consider opting for thicker gloss coated paper such as 80 lb. text gloss that will last longer and feel luxurious in your readers hands. Alternatively, if your magazine is centered around manual labor, consider opting for a more industrial feel with a lighter weight paper such as 60 lb. text, uncoated. There are a number of options you can choose from to design a magazine that suits both your business and your purpose.

If you are ready to get started on your order, or if you have any questions about the process, feel free to reach out to Printivity at 1-877-649-5463.


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