Client: Student Christian Movement (SCM)
Magazine design & print

Magazine design for Student Christian Movement (SCM)

Magazine design is a real art and one that we really enjoy. We’ve been designing magazines at Morse-Brown Design for almost 15 years now, starting with Warwick Business School’s Alumni magazine over a decade ago. Our latest piece of work is this highly contemporary 'zine'-style magazine for Student Christian Movement. A very clean design, with lots of white space, and a simple yet highly effective layout – that puts the content first, and crucially, lets it breathe. (We also rebranded the Student Christian Movement, and their magazine redesign was timed to coincide with the rebrand).

It’s very easy to spot a well-designed magazine - just browse the shelves at your local newsagents. But it’s a lot harder to define what actually goes in to making a magazine great. Over the years, we’ve worked out and honed what those elements are. Here’s just a few of them:

Just as with brochure design, the first step is always to read the text you’re given. And then to study the visuals, photos, and illustrations that are to be used. Without a comprehensive knowledge of what you’re designing for, you cannot expect to design appropriately.

The next step is to come up with an overall concept for the magazine.

One of the attractions of the computer screen is that almost whatever you put on it looks good. And that actually makes it harder to do what you need to do at the beginning of any new magazine design job, which is to sit down and work out what your overarching concept is going to be. The temptation, instead, is to ‘play’, on-screen, and just make something work on a page-by-page basis. All magazines that really ‘work’ have an overall theme that the designer has come up with and stuck to, throughout. It’s always worth putting the time and effort in at the beginning.

Another element of good magazine design is a largely hidden on - namely the use of a good grid. If you don’t believe us, try it. See if you can work out what grid has been used in a magazine that you have lying around. Using a grid is a very good example of the thought that goes on behind the scenes when designing magazines.

As with brochure design, white space is again very important. And in magazines, the opening page of a big article is where it’s most important. It signifies to the reader that this is where something big starts. It makes the reader pause and take a breath, and is one of the many visual signposts used when designing magazines. We liken it to a public square in front of a large, important building. You don’t hide large important buildings up tiny backstreets - you put them where everyone can see, and you make sure there’s enough space for everyone to see it well.

Like to know more? Give us a call or drop us a line.

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