We aren’t breaking any new ground telling you this, but your magazine cover is the most important page you’ll create. So why does it so often come down to the last minute, as we cram in these critical elements under the relentlessly looming deadline?
“Even if you only have the afternoon to write all of your cover lines, get them placed around an image and get everyone aligned, you need to know and respect the fundamentals of magazine cover design,” writes Matthew Higgins in his blog post “The Most Important Page.”
Higgins points out the three critical elements to any noteworthy cover, and offers some good ideas for making them stellar.
- The Logo
Get it right the first time, says Higgins, and you’ll have an instantly recognizable brand element that will attract your existing readers. Spend the time up front to get it right rather than tweak it each issue.
- The Cover Lines
“Crafting cover lines is a unique writing skill that, simply put, not everyone in the magazine business has,” Higgins writes. “It’s short form writing at its shortest.”
He cautions that it’s not enough to simply repeat the article title. Rather, focus on the benefits of the article to the reader, to grab attention and encourage the sale.
- The Main Image
“The main image is the single most important aspect in that, more than the other elements, stands to be what grabs a potential reader’s attention. The best cover lines in the world and the most recognizable logo are hardly likely to matter if the main image is a dud,” says Higgins.
He reminds us that people outperform product shots and landscapes, and images against white backgrounds generally perform well.
Higgins also provides some good examples of cover pages that deal with each of these issues effectively. If cover design or copy is under your domain, the full article is definitely worth a look.