When looking at magazine covers it is important to recognise weather it has been created for subscribed readers, or to be put on shop shelves. Left to fight with competitors for the attention of who ever may be passing by.

Subscription magazines have no cover lines. As the readers has already paid for their copy, it is not as important for the publication to try and grab the attention of a potential buyer.

Copy sold in shop


The current magazine cover style we are all accustomed to today, originated from advertising agents, wanting to make the publications more appealing to possible consumers.

“Ad agencies, which were first established during the 1890s, very quickly saw the appeal of new graphic formats, employing slogans, photography and bold imagery to grab the attention of consumers.” [1] 

The mast head is always placed at the top of the page, as it is what draws your eye in. Especially as the rest of the cover is often hidden by other magazines, on a shelf or news stand.

The mast head is accompanied on the page by the following features:

– Cover Image

– Mast Head

– Cover lines

– Price and Bar code

Subscription copy 

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As you can see this copy is a lot more simplistic, with only the mast head, issue date/title, an image, and one cover line. This is because the copy doesn’t have to draw readers in.

As well as subscription copies, free publications often take this more simplistic attitude towards their covers. Publications such as Vice and Movement Magazine are two good examples of this.



When creating a similar style of cover for Vice magazine using Indesign, the main goal was to keep it simplistic whilst at the same time make it look professional. As you can see the cover is mainly imaged based, using six smaller images instead of one large one, in order to make it that little bit more original. The mast head, or in Vice’s case (almost more of a logo) is in the top left corner like every copy. For this cover an issue title was used, these are a rarity for Vice magazine although they are used on some copies. (Unfortunately a typo was missed in the issue title).

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[1] Jason Whittikar. Magazine Production. (2008). Taylor & Francis Group. Page 11.