High-Impact Magazine Design Tips

We’ve got ten great ideas for bringing your magazine template designs to life, from creating eye-catching magazine covers to putting together compelling contents pages.

This is a great place to get your creative juices flowing and learn how to make your magazine layouts look uber-professional, whether you’re creating a fashion bible, fitness mag, or gastronomic flick-through.

Be Bold in the Design of Your Covers.

Great magazine covers are a given for visually appealing publications. It is pointless to spend time refining the inside pages of your magazine if no one picks it up and reads the articles within. The cover design of your magazine is critical to attracting readers and enticing them to read the rest of the issue.

However, you don’t need to go over the top with your magazine cover design. A riot of colour and a crammed design can come off as old-fashioned and unprofessional, but a well-balanced layout with powerful headers and subheadings and simple graphic callouts can attract attention to stunning magazine covers more subtly.

Use the A B C rule, which the most inventive magazine cover designers employ. Concentrate on one major (A) sub-heading (such as the magazine title) and a small number of more focused (B) sub-headings. Almost every magazine cover adheres to a rule of thumb to keep the design in proportion.

You may create a layout that is pleasing to the eye and graphically striking by combining these headings with a strong, simple photograph and regions of white space (where no hectic text or images are used).

Keep to black-and-white photographs for a bold yet balanced and tasteful image.

As seen in this elegant InDesign magazine template named Alright, use slab and display typefaces set in uppercase letters with vivid whites to contrast with a full-colour photo.

We all know that one colour is louder than a thousand.

Most great magazine designs use only a few colours, suggesting that a simple splash of colour may be more appealing than a rainbow of hues.

For men’s magazines and technical titles, pairing a single bold colour with black-and-white images and monochrome typography looks terrific. Layouts with bright font, banners, and dividers provide an athletic, manly feel. It’s a quick and easy method to tie the magazine’s look and feel together (see Tip 9 below, about promoting a style theme in your designs).

If you’re looking for a bright, happy colour for your extreme sports or vacation publications, use an acid yellow or fiery orange. Another option is to use a sky blue and gold colour scheme, as seen in this chic sports magazine.

Magazines are nothing without their colourful illustrations.

Magazine covers that use images as their image medium of choice may be seen on just about any magazine rack. If you’re working on a book about technology, art, or design, an artistic cover would be a better option. If you want your magazine to stand out from the crowd, flat graphics are an easy way to do it.

Get familiar with Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, or Inkscape so that you can generate vector drawings that you can easily place into your InDesign designs.

Vectors can convey more abstract or fanciful themes, making them ideal for magazines that don’t fit the typical fashion or lifestyle categories. See how this design magazine’s cover stands out from the crowd of photo-heavy spreads with its abstract graphic.

It’s also nice to include hand-drawn or vectorized illustrations in special or collector’s edition issues.

With graphics instead of images, your magazine design will be consistent, helping to establish a brand look for your publication. Because of this, it’s an excellent choice for magazines that need to promote themselves and their brands, such as airline and retail publications.

For Fashion Magazines, keep things simple.

Make your magazine look as current and aspirational as possible when designing fashion or lifestyle content. Fashion photography and shop displays benefit greatly from using a simple, clean design, and this fits in well with the current trend for clean, simple print design. For publications dealing with these subjects, this is the ideal layout.

Layouts should have at least two-thirds of the page dedicated to pictures. As in this chic fashion magazine template, use them with a stark white or pastel backdrop and rich black font.