Magazine Design: Essential Guide to Cover Design
These stunning magazine covers use surprisingly simple design tricks and techniques to achieve an eye-catching effect.
Be inspired by these fantastic examples of beautiful cover design, and find out how to recreate the look for yourself quickly and easily in InDesign.
1. Easy 3D Effects to Make your Cover Jump off the Page…
…Most magazine covers have a 2D look that falls in line with the flat print format. But what if you could create a 3D effect simply by creating a trick-of-the-eye using typography or frames?
These covers, from new indie title Knit Wit and industry heavyweight V Magazine have done just that, giving the impression the photos are bursting out of the boundaries of the page.
It’s not as difficult to imitate as you might think. Check out this tutorial on creating a simple 3D effect for your InDesign layouts.
Design: Knit Wit and V Magazine
2. Layer up to Balance Typography and Images
Layering your cover design as you work allows you to bring elements forward or send others to the back of the page with ease. These simple, striking covers from Fabric Magazine stick to a strong layered order: header, then image, then smaller typography. It’s a simple formula, that’s easy to recreate in InDesign.
Make friends with the Layers panel in InDesign (Window > Layers) and have fun experimenting with the arrangement of items on your cover design.
3. Dare to Experiment with Type
Magazine covers are meant to be frivolous and fun, so why stick to formal design rules? These covers from Esquire US, Esquire Singapore and Esquire Malaysia show that a simple splash of handwritten typography can really lift a design and make it feel more youthful and fresh.
Check out some more font inspiration for magazines here.
4. Catch the Eye with a Bright Pop of Colour!
Introducing bold colour onto your cover design is one of the simplest and most effective ways to grab a reader’s attention.
Take inspiration from these colourful covers for Pulp Magazine (adorned with watercolour graphics by Iveta Ka) and Lula Magazine.
The effect used on Lula’s cover is really simple to achieve in InDesign with a coloured gradient. Get acquainted with out how to apply gradients to frames and shapes with this quick tutorial.
Design: Pulp Magazine and Lula
5. Integrate your Typography with Images
If you design your cover around a central image, try adapting your typography to merge seamlessly with the photo. Lifestyle supplement Eat (from Los Angeles Magazine) does a stellar job of integrating type creatively with strong images to create a holistic, unified cover design. Type is curved around the rim of a plate, and a striking sub-heading is positioned over the belly of a goose.
Learn how to create your own Foodie Magazine with our design tutorials.
Design: Los Angeles Magazine
6. And Finally…Sometimes Simple is Best
Arguably, it’s the image that should be the focal point of a magazine cover. Striking photography doesn’t always need much embellishment to make a cover appealing.
Just take these beautifully minimal magazine covers for Esquire Russia as an example. No bells and whistles here—just simple titles in monochrome, and a sparing amount of typography elsewhere. The lesson here? If in doubt, keep it simple and striking.
Design: Esquire Russia
We hope you can use these examples to make your magazine covers shine, if you’re short on time or just dipping a toe into magazine design. Learn how to create your very own magazine in Adobe InDesign with our series of tutorials. Or get your creative juices flowing by finding more InDesign inspiration from around the world.