A foundation course in typography

Category: Graphic Design

Class 19 – Anatomy of a Magazine Page

There are 2 basic categories of elements in a magazine layout: architecture which stay consistent from issue to issue (grid, margins, standing heads, folios, typographical style sheet, etc) and content which changes with each page and each article.

The crucial elements of a magazine page that you should know:

  • headline¬†– also known as the “hed.”
  • art – photo, graphic or an illustration.
  • deck – not all articles or features have one, but when they do, it is usually longer and provides more information than the “hed.”
  • byline – the name of the person who wrote the article or feature.
  • lead – the opening paragraph to the article that is written and designed to engage the reader.
  • caption – a description used to identify the photograph or art element. Usually small in size.
  • spread – the 2 facing pages of magazine article. The spread needs to be designed as a unit.
  • folio – not only a page number, but may contain the magazine’s name and issue date.
  • bleed – all elements that are to print off the page should “bleed” off the edge of the page.
  • pull quote – used to explain photo or used to pull important information from the story. Usually larger in point size than captions. AKA call-out text that invites the reader into the story.
  • subhead – used to break up large chunks of text and help the reader understand what will follow.
  • credit – photo credit or credit for other art element; names the photographer or person who created the art element.
  • sidebar – a small story related to the main story. Sometimes set off by a colored box.
  • infographic – presents additional information in a graphical format, usually in the form of table, chart or graph.
  • margin – the white space at the top and sides of your page helps to make the layout feel open and inviting. Keeps everything organized.
  • gutter – AKA the alley; space between columns.
  • grid – helps to keep the page layouts consistent throughout the magazine.

Read Elements of a Magazine Page for more explanations and definitions.

The crucial elements of a magazine cover that you should know:

  • masthead – the name of the magazine. Sometime referred to as the logo of the magazine.
  • main image – large image or photograph that relates to the content or subject matter of the magazine.
  • main coverline – the largest most visible coverline; relates to the main image.
  • coverlines – titles of highlighted stories that appear in the magazine. The main coverline is usually larger along with smaller ones. They appear around the main image.
  • barcode – used by retailers, contains the price and other information about the publication.
  • tagline – AKA the “selling line.”
  • dateline – ¬†the publication date, which is usually the month and year.

Review this marked up cover for clarity.

View the following video, Understanding the Parts of a Magazine Cover.


As a resource to this lesson, download the PDF file, Anatomy of a Magazine Layout.

Homework – Due Monday, 11/21

  • Your Chap Book should be ready for in-class critique. It should be at least 90% finished since it is due on Wednesday the 23rd.
  • Prepare for Quiz #2 which will be on Mon, 11/21/16. It will cover information we’ve covered since the mid-term, including anatomy of a magazine.

How to Draw Thumbnail Sketches

When it’s time to begin a new project, before you sit at the computer and open¬†InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator, the first thing you should do is a series of thumbnail sketches. Thumbnails are a way of brainstorming and getting your ideas out of your head onto paper. Thumbnails are not perfect, detailed drawings, but instead they are very rough, quick sketches. Watch the video below, then get your pencil and paper and begin sketching out the ideas for your next project. Do as many sketches as you can, then you’re ready to select the idea you like the best.

Class 5 – The Grid System and Why We Use It

Here’s a brief recap from ¬†Wednesday’s class. One of the main things we covered was how to work with the grid system.

A grid is a non-printing system of horizontal and vertical lines which help the designer align the elements of the layout. This system of alignment helps to create a more organized layout. In multiple page documents, the grid assists in the consistent placement of design elements. Think of the grid as the skeleton of the layout.

Vocabulary used:

  • text page – the area on a page, within the margins, where text appears.
  • margin¬†– the area of the page around the text area.
  • folios –¬†the page number. In most instances this is at the bottom of the page below or outside the text area.
  • header – the area at the top of the page, outside the text area. A running header is a header that is repeated across many pages
  • footer – the area at the bottom of the page, outside the text area. A running footer is a footer that is repeated across many pages.
  • gutter – the gutter separates the columns and rows from each other. It is also the area where two facing pages meet.
  • active corner – the upper left corner of any field in a grid system. This is where the top of the text is aligned.
  • passive corner – the bottom right corner of any field in a grid.

Review pages 177-221 of our textbook for full details.

In InDesign we learned to set up columns for a grid, how to use a template, and how to save a file as a PDF. We did this as we were introduced to the Type Book project.

Homework Due Monday, 9/19

Class 4 – Introduction to Adobe InDesign CC

During class we reviewed letterspacing/tracking and kerning. We also began to explore the working environment of Adobe InDesign.

Areas covered:

  • Creating a new document
  • The InDesign workspace
  • Working with text boxes, fonts, point sizes, leading alignment
  • Leading, measurements, kerning

We also discussed increments of measurements:

  • type is measured in points (pts)
  • 12 pts = 1 pica
  • 6 picas = 1 inch
  • 72 pts = 1 inch


If you missed the class, or need a review, here is a video that might help you with getting started in InDesign. It is a bit long but pretty thorough in helping your get started:


Others Videos Viewed in Class:

Homework ‚ÄĒ Due Wed, 9/14/16

  • Reading Assignment in textbook: Grid System pgs 177 -221 (be prepared to answer one quiz question on this topic)
  • Spend a some time reviewing the articles posted by your classmates and leave comments.
  • Watch¬†the video:¬†Typography & Design – How Typography Impacts Design¬†below, and be ready to discuss during class.