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Starting work on a print magazine can be an exciting endeavor. While it provides designers with great showcase opportunity for their work and talent, magazine design can also be very challenging.

With trends coming and going faster than the wind, designers need to keep magazines instantly appealing and hip, while they are still comfortable to read and browse through.

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In the later years we have seen some magazine design trends that were not very user-friendly, like cramming text into a page and excessively small fonts or contrast levels and color palettes that make reading rather difficult.

To stay ahead of the game today, magazine design has to take into consideration trends, originality, looks and comfort, all at once. At the same time, magazine printing has to stay cost-effective and formats must combine just the right amount of tradition with innovation.


COVERS

The cover can be a deal-maker or deal-breaker, so, it has to be really attractive, while also carrying some of the spirit of the magazine.

Short snappy headlines and a masthead that truly stands out combined with powerful photography can usually do the trick.

Finally, the golden rule of cover design. Do a couple of mockups and get as much feedback as you can!

Here is a powerful cover by Carsten Witte.


LAYOUT AND FONTS

Spacing has taken over magazine layouts, almost to the point that if you don´t allow large chunks of text to “breath” with some white empty space around it, you´re completely “out.”

One trend that has also been very steady is the creative use of fonts inspired by the text´s content. In the old days, it was customary to have harmony ruling over everything, deciding on a set of fonts to be used throughout the magazine for consistency. Today, it is acceptable and fun to have some magazines where each page introduces us into a completely different world, and font choice can have a lot to do with that.

Check out these cool CREATIVE TYPE examples by Luis Vicente Hernandez

IMAGES

Bold, powerful images that tell a story rule in the design world today, and magazines are no exception.

Check out this neat black and white example from MUST MAGAZINE.

One powerful image spreading across two pages, one powerful headline, white paper, and black and white ink. This is a good example of how minimal can easily become sensational.

The use of textures in a minimalistic design context is also very in, as you can see in this example from nevertheless magazine by Atelier Olschinsky.


RETRO INSPIRATIONS

Vueling´s in-flight magazine by Santos Henarejos: Using retro for good, not evil.

I don’t usually fall in love with uncreative renderings of things we have seen before, but I have to say that retro spiced up with a 21st century feel can be very attractive.

Whatever you do, before you start designing a magazine, try to look at every single magazine in the same niche and finally, open your mind to inspirations from painting, popular culture, fashion, etc. Try to create something personal and original, that is tied to your own experience and background, and people will be drawn to it, because it will be something only you might have created, and, in the end,  that is what art is all about.