Strik·ing (adj): Attracting attention by reason of being unusual, extreme or prominent.
There are two important goals when designing a magazine cover; the first is to attract the potential buyer’s attention and the second is to express the content or theme of the magazine. Design a cover that achieves both of these goals and it will significantly increase the chances of the ultimate goal – a consumer purchase.
How will your magazine cover attract the potential buyer’s attention? By being striking. Study the competition and do something different. Create a cover design that attracts attention for being unusual, extreme or prominent; a cover that stands out like a sore thumb on a crowded magazine rack. And as these striking magazine covers demonstrate, create a design concept that is closely tied to the theme of the magazine issue.
So, let’s get on with the show – or the showdown. In the great magazine cover battle, here are 50 striking magazines that have delivered winning blows.
01. Give the issue title pride of place
Our first contender? Little White Lies. The issue title takes pride of place on this cover, even more so than the masthead. An illustration of Natalie Portman’s face is overlayed with black-foiled type that boldly declares ‘The Black Swan Issue.’
02. Flip the layout
This issue of Blend is striking for the way the minimal layout flips the typical magazine cover. It centres the background and issue title and sidelines the image.
03. Use one-point perspective
This New York Times Magazine cover features James Gandolfini’s beat-up Cadillac convertible to represent the theme ‘The Lives They Lived (And The Things They Loved).’ The angle, placement and size of the car and the subtitle create a one-point perspective that vanishes into the distance.
04. Create a laser cut cover
Columbus Monthly used a laser cut street map for the ‘Made in Columbus’ issue, appropriately designed and made by a local Columbus company. Overlaying grey the laser cut on a pink background adds dimension with shadows and contrast.
05. Showcase a sequence
Audubon’s cover uses a grid to show the elegant flight sequence of the Roseate Spoonbill, photographed by John Huba. It showcases the colour, flight and movement with minimalist typography aligned to reinforce the grid.
06. Merge the image and the background
Image and background become one on this cover of Naif as much of the girl’s shiny black hair is indistinguishable from the black background. A white flower and pink cheek add pops of colour.
07. Create impact with imagery
Martin Schoeller photographed Orange Is the New Black actress Uzo Aduba for the June 2015 cover of Stylist. The close up of Aduba’s face – with eyes squeezed shut and grin gap-toothed and joyful – is magnetic and jubilant.
08. Experiment with transparent shapes
This No Cigar cover has simple transparent shapes over a photograph of a pensive-looking model. The transparencies add blocks of colour without disrupting the reflective mood of the cover.
09. Play with face paint
Jessica Fecteau created this Vogue cover with bold lines and angles that traverse the model’s face and hand. Although she executed it digitally, the red and turquoise strips look like face paint with colours that match the masthead.
10. Create illusions with paper
For the cover of Washington Post Magazine Ariane Spanier created an illusion of sliced and spiralled paper in order to reveal bold letters that express the theme of the magazine. ‘Lives Remembered’ tells the life stories of people who passed away in 2012.
11. Nothing wrong with pretty and sweet
A pretty and sweet aesthetic often goes against the grain in the world of magazine covers where being bold is eye-catching. But at this cover for L’ode by design student Julie Ferrieux shows, an elegant display of flora that appears to float across the page can also be striking.
12. Create a sense of texture with embroidery
Design studio Maricor/Maricar hand-stitched this analogue image onto paper for Desktop’s ‘Neue Folk’ issue. The embroidery gives the cover a sense of texture and three-dimensionality and speaks to theme of the magazine by translating folk art into digital art.
13. Avoid eye contact
While the models on most magazines look directly at the viewer, the model on this cover of Lovely is giving a sideways glance that – along with the fashion styling – adds quirkiness and eccentricity.
14. Fake a light source
Shane Griffin designed the cover of Print’s New Visual Artists issue 2015. He used a gradient on the background to give the appearance of a light source hitting the top right-hand corner adding a sense of dimension to the cover.
15. Experiment with psychedelic colours
Illustrator Matt Corbin played with bright psychedelic colours and globule-like forms to create the image of a strong woman posed against a shiny black background.
16. Use a cheeky photo
It’s hard not to be attracted to this cover of Surf featuring a young boy poking his tongue out at the camera. It is, in the words of Wedge & Lever, “sophistication that does not take itself too seriously.”
17. Centre the masthead
This cover of Pilot, designed by Jase Mildren, gives the masthead pride of place in the centre of the cover. It also works like a bulls-eye as the encircling O is the same as the smaller O in ‘Pilot’ and the model looks straight through it.
18. Tear it up
This cover of Wad uses the illusion of a model’s face torn in two to reveal another image of her face, perhaps trapped, perhaps empowered. Three eyes peer out at the potential consumer.
19. Use simple lines and forms
LiceUlice translates to “Street Face” and is a Belgrade street paper sold by members of marginalised groups. Fittingly, the cover has the profile of a face and a clenched fist signalling the strength the magazine gives to those often-unseen faces on the street. Very simple lines, forms and colours create a bold image and strong statement.
20. Make a statement with the barcode
There are few magazine covers where the barcode is such an integral part of the design. On this cover of La Luna de Metrópoli, the barcode is infused in an illustration of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
21. Add a transparent overlay
Sidney Lim has used a transparent overlay with a brushstroke masthead for his cover of Dwell. The white logo is like a cloud that casts a shadow across the sky as the transparency moves.
22. Layout a series of simple illustrations
Simple illustrations, a minimal colour palette and a white background combine in this striking cover for Odd. Miriam Garcia has created a series of swimmers that effortlessly float across the page.
23. Use gold foil to reflect light
This cover of Slanted has been smothered in gold – or at least gold foil – and stamped with a repeated pattern that glimmers with the light. The gold and the shine amps up the glamour factor and is fitting for the ‘Paris’ theme.
24. Contrast a blurred image with crisp lines
Graphic designer David Carson is renowned for his explorative approach to typography and layout. On this cover of Ray Gun he overlays a blurred, almost steamy, image of Beck with strong black typography made all the more bold with the holes of each letter filled in.
25. Get ready for an extreme close-up
This cover of Fricote features an extreme close up of a red-lipped mouth holding an ice-clad raspberry in its teeth. The glossy lips and the shiny ice cube boost the high-end factor of this cover.
26. Experiment with type
An elongated O in the masthead of this Rumor cover stretches from the top to the bottom of the page looping all the way back up again. It connects the masthead with the image and provides a line for the details of the magazine to be aligned.
27. Disorient with surrealism
Surrealism prompts the viewer to question “what the…?!” as this cover for Magrocardona demonstrates. The image is of a model split in two; her head and torso faces away from her her legs and feet walking in the other direction.
28. Be artistic with traditional tools
Go back to your traditional box of art tools and play with other mediums – paint, crayon, pastel, pencil – and create an artistic composition like the cover of Adbusters.
29. Follow a formula
Gist’s covers, designed by Mexican agency Anagrama, all follow a formula: a portrait of a model is framed with a shiny foil border. This cover adheres to that blueprint and uses a bright red frame over a luxe black and white image.
30. Use an extra wide frame
This cover of Spleen uses an extra wide frame – or a small picture, depending on which way you want to look at it – to draw attention to the central image. The title, issue number and theme of the magazine are placed sparingly along the edges.
31. Muster nostalgia with sepia tones
You’ll find a lot of interesting design techniques on this Feld cover including blocky typography, transparencies and a quirky image. All are rendered in sepia tones giving the cover a nostalgic feel while still being distinctly modern and contemporary.
32. Morph the image
The model’s face appears to morph and drip down the page on this cover of Exhibition. However, look closer and you’ll see it is actually a silk scarf draped over the models’ face and torso, and fittingly so for the ‘Silk Issue.’
33. Use a frame to highlight
A disjointed and broken white line frames the model’s mouth on the cover of Hen Magazine and it serves to highlight and draw attention to her cheeky sneer.
34. Add depth with a geometric transparency
Myp is an online magazine and design project that showcases the work of young creatives and artists. A geometric pattern with varying levels of transparency is laid over the image of a wind-blown model and adds varying depths to the image.
35. Experiment with depth of field
The cover of Pedal uses a shallow depth of field for this photo of a man wading further and further into the (not shallow) water in order to muster a feeling of wistfulness and adventure.
36. Capture dynamic movement
U/C – or Under/Current – freezes the movement of a dancer been thrown or caught by a group of other dancers. The movement is captured in the dynamic tension of the dancers’ outstretched limbs.
37. Explore negative space
This Used cover explores negative space by slicing the masthead from the solid black box in the centre of the page. Glimpses of the model’s face are seen through the negative space and it is particularly striking as the model’s eyes are framed by the black box and her angular haircut.
38. Foster anonymity
Belgium magazine BEople also uses a solid masthead in the middle of the page. However, it is placed over the model’s face to foster a sense of anonymity and to disrupt the connection between model and viewer.
39. Create an illusion with a decorative pattern
At first glance this Thursday cover appears to have a decorative gold pattern overlaid on the image. But look closer and you’ll see the main image is gold and sepia and it is indeed a white pattern and negative space. The overall look is illusionistic, romantic and sentimental for an issue themed around love.
40. Maximise blank space
This cover of Human Being Journal features vast amounts of blank space framed with a peach-coloured border. It proves the mantra ‘less is more’ and is as striking as any complex cover imagery.
41. Consider a different angle
Soccer features a photo of a boy balancing a ball on his head. Shot from below, the photo enhances the presence of the boy and creates a vanishing point towards the top of the page.
42. Add warmth with a colour transparency
This cover of Esquire turns up the heat and sizzles with summer. A photo of a couple kissing on the beach is drenched in a warm yellow transparency while the masthead is on fire, so to speak, in bright red.
43. Create atmosphere with silhouettes
This cover of Dallas Observer is moody and atmospheric with the silhouette of a man wearing a Native American headdress and shadows cast across his face.
44. Set an image within a shape
Brownbook consistently sets an image – whether it is a photograph or illustration – within a hexagon on a white page. This issue of Brownbook places the model strategically so that her head and toes reach the top and bottom corners of the hexagon.
45. Move everything to the middle
Collect also uses a consistent design formula for its cover layouts. Masthead, magazine details and image are aligned in the middle of the magazine with the solid background spreading out around it.
46. Add a pop of colour
Pops of bright red are at the top, middle, and bottom of this L’Insensé cover. The red balances and ties the masthead, model and issue theme together and interestingly works to draw the viewer’s gaze to the model’s eyes.
47. Create a mood with your colour palette
Designers Violaine & Jérémy use a soft and subtle colour palette that is fitting of the relaxing mood associated with having a cup of tea, reinforced by the steam wafting up the page.
48. Create layers with torn paper
Three faces are layered and combined in this Clash cover that uses the illusion of torn strips of paper to reveal different parts of each face.
49. Find patterns for striking visual effect
Makeshift’s cover features a photograph that is taken at such an angle that repetition has created a pattern with striking visual effect.
50. Use hand drawn techniques
Vicente Garciía Morillo used only pencil and lipstick to create this cover of Yorokubu. He overlaid a pencil illustration of lips with letters drawn in lipstick and repeated the pattern four times, each with a different letter.
So how do you create a striking magazine cover? Here’s three factors to consider: 1) Create a design that stands out amongst the competition. 2) Come up with a concept that expresses the theme of the magazine. 3) Think outside the box when it comes to design techniques and tools.
Once you’ve done that, get ready to enter the great magazine showdown. May the most striking cover win a well-earned place in the annals of beautifully designed magazine covers.
It’s all about first impressions. But how much care do you put into dressing up your documents?
Is it all title, headings, subheadings, bullets and paragraphs, or do you put some more thought into the documents you create in Microsoft Word?
There are a lot of things that go into a professional Microsoft Word documentHow to Create Professional Reports and Documents in Microsoft WordHow to Create Professional Reports and Documents in Microsoft WordThis guide examines the elements of a professional report and reviews the structuring, styling, and finalizing of your document in Microsoft Word.Read More. But we are talking about first impressions here. So, let’s take on the first thing our eyes fall on – the cover page.
The cover page is the very first page of your document. Its purpose right at the beginning is to give the reader the “Big Idea” about the document. The why and wherefore is communicated through a specific title, the author name, date, a one-liner on the subject and any other bit of important information that you think is important for the reader.
What Does a Vanilla Cover Page Look Like?
You might have spotted monochromatic and simple cover pages on research documents and school essays. They are dictated by style guides like the Chicago Manual of Style. The title page takes a minimalist approach to cover page design. For instance, the title or topic of the study is centered one-third of the way down the page.
For an academic assignment, do check with your instructor before using a cover page.
But what if you want to give your document a cooler cover page when not dictated by a style guide but realize that you don’t have the design chops for it? Design your own.
Insert an Attractive Cover Page
Microsoft Word makes it painless to create a professional cover page.
The Office suite comes with a few well-designed cover pages that you can re-purpose for your document. There’s a good variety to choose from.
Open a new Word document. Click on the Insert menu on the ribbon. The dropdown for Cover Page is the first feature you will spot on the menu (under Pages). Click on tiny arrow next to it and open the inbuilt gallery of templates. Pick one from the 16 pre-formatted templates and three more on Office.com.
Select the one you like and click on it. The cover page appears at the beginning of the document by default. But to place it in any other location, right click on the cover page thumbnail in the gallery and select from the options given. Though, am not sure why you would want to!
Customize Individual Fields
Click on each pre-formatted field (the square brackets) and the whole thing gets highlighted with a blue field label on top. Type in your version for the given field. The author name might appear by default if the Office installation is in your name. Place the common information in Quick Parts and you don’t have to bother with typing them again and again.
Change the date fields with the drop-down arrow and select a date from a calendar. You can format all fields just like normal text.
You can easily edit graphical cover page elements like any other image. Just click on the graphic to display the Drawing Tools and Picture Tools menus on the Ribbon.
Change the Design on the Fly
Customizing a pre-formatted cover page is a piece of cake. The templates consist of formatted controls and graphic boxes that come in different color themes. So, you can change any part of the template on the fly.
Notice a picture on the cover page template? Maybe, you would like to swap it out with a logo or another more appropriate image. Just right click on the picture and click Change Picture in the context menu.
Changed your mind about the entire cover page? While working on one cover page, you can change it for another cover page by selecting a new template from the drop-down. The new template retains the field entries.
Note: To replace a cover page created in an older version of Word, you must delete the first cover page manually, and then add a new design from the cover page gallery.
Click on Save to finalize the cover page as a document.
If you would like to save the cover page for later use in another document, select the entire cover page. Click on Insert > Cover Page > Save Selection to Cover Page Gallery. You can use the same menu to remove a selected cover page from the gallery.
Design Your Own Cover Page
Microsoft Word templates are a time-saving solution, but they don’t allow your personality to shine through. To add a personal touch, you should put in a bit more effort and make a thoughtfully designed cover page from scratch.
You have all the image editing tools in Microsoft Word at your disposal. When you can design your own logo in Microsoft Word, a cover page is less of a chore. Borrow or steal ideas from the process.
The screenshot below displays a cover page I created in Microsoft Word from scratch. I used a few basic Shapes to create the design and formatted them with color.
Save Your Custom Template
Complete your design on a fresh Microsoft Word document. Save this document as a Microsoft Word template (File > Save As > Microsoft Word Template) in a location of your choice.
Now, the next steps are about adding your own cover page to the default choices under the Insert menu. Follow these steps:
Press CTRL + A to select the entire page.
Add these selections to the Quick Parts gallery. Go to Ribbon > Insert > Quick Parts (the Text Group). Select Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery… from the drop-down.
Enter the details in the dialog for a new Building Block. Building blocks are reusable Microsoft Word elements that you can add to any of the galleries available in Word. This is what the dialog box looks like:
- Name: Give the cover page a Name.
- Gallery: Choose “Cover Pages” from the dropdown.
- Category: Choose a category. For better organization, make a new category.
- Save in: Save it in your template or in the building block. When saved as a building block, you can use it in any Word document without opening the template.
Click OK and close the Building Block dialog box. Go to the Insert menu and check your new cover page template.
Add Some Style with a Cover Page
A cover page is one of the best ways to stylize your document. But is it one of the more underused features of Microsoft Word7 Underused Microsoft Word Features and How to Use Them7 Underused Microsoft Word Features and How to Use ThemAre you overlooking some of Microsoft Word's most useful features? This application features a surprising number of underused tools and options. We have unearthed seven and will show you how to use them.Read More? A Word document is often bland. So, do consider the merits…
- A cover page gives the reader a quick visual of the content inside.
- Save and re-use a generic company-wide cover page in the gallery.
- Convert a document with a cover page to PDF with one button and send to any device.
Most of us don’t commonly employ a cover page with a document. Or do you? Let us know the benefits you find in inserting a well-designed cover page.
Image Credit: faisalsk007 via Wikimedia Commons
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