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.