I have decided to produce a women’s fashion magazine for my main task. I have chosen this mainly due to having a personal interest in this topic, which should therefore mean my work us produced to a better standard, as I have an interest in what I am producing. Fashion attracts a large interest of audiences, as there is a wide variety of designs and style associated with it, which means that fashion magazines are also highly marketed.
Top fashion magazines include: Cosmopolitan, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Glamour, InStyle, Vogue, Vanity Fair and Allure. Cosmopolitan is the largest selling women’s and fashion magazine in the United States with an average readership of 3,017,987 per month (1).
Vogue is an American fashion and lifestyle magazine, founded by Arthur Turnure, which started as a weekly newspaper in 1892, with its first issue being published December 17th 1892. At this time, Vogue was targeted at the New York upper class, and its primary concern was fashion, with smaller stories which covered sports and social affairs, which was included to attract male readership.
Vogue was bought by Condé Nast in 1905 and continued to help the magazine to grow its publication, which proved successful, as the amount of publications and profit made from the magazine increased dramatically. Vogue started in Britain in 1916, and 1920 in France, where it was well received in both. In the late 1930’s Vogue replaced its illustrated covers with photographic images, which was criticised for leading the decline of fashion illustrations (2).
This is the first ever issue of Vogue, published December 17th 1892.
Harper’s Bazaar is an American fashion magazine, which first published in 1867. It is aimed at members of the upper-middle class, as well as the upper class, and gives its readers a different perspective into the world of fashion, beauty and popular culture, on a monthly basis. Harper’s Bazaar was the first American fashion magazine, and began as a weekly magazine, with a newspaper design format.
Harper’s Bazaar was founded by Harper & Brothers, which originally showcased fashion from both Germany and Paris. It remained as a weekly magazine until 1901, when it changed to a monthly magazine, which still remains today. Hearst purchased the magazine in 1913, and continued to publish the magazine, and boosted the sales further. Hearst made fashion magazine history in 1933, when they captured a picture of a model running towards the camera, on a windswept beach (picture shown below). Up until this point, pictures had been mannequin staged images.
Marie Claire is an international monthly magazine targeted at women, first established in France in 1937. Marie Claire covers health, beauty and fashion, but the US edition focuses on women around the world, as well as several global issues which they think are important to cover.
Marie Claire was founded by Jean Prouvost and Marcelle Auclair in 1937, with their first issue appearing later that year. In 1976, Évelyne Prouvost took over the magazine, and added L’Oréal Group to the company. One of the earliest international editions of Marie Claire was German, produced under the leadership of Évelyne, in 1982. Marie Claire has 3 different publishers: Groupe Marie Claire (France), Hearst (US) and Time Inc. (UK). Hearst Corporation started the US edition in 1994, and was based in New York City.
This is the first edition of Marie Claire, published in 1937.
In 2006, Marie Claire launched its first website which included segments such as: daily news, catwalk shows, photographs and reports, fashion and beauty, buys of the day, daily horoscopes and competitions. Marie Claire produces its magazine in 24 different languages, including Arabic. Currently, Marie Claire publishes editions in over 35 countries on 5 continents.
Genre Research: Front Covers
Codes and Conventions of Magazine Covers
From looking at the magazines above, you can see the basic magazine codes and conventions, as well as other conventions which can be included on the covers. The basic codes and conventions of a magazine include: the masthead, the date / edition, headlines, the colour scheme, coverlines and the main image. Other conventions include: barcodes, puffs, plugs and strapline. Here, I have labelled a magazine cover with typical magazine conventions*:
Genre Research: Contents pages
I have looked at the different conventions that make up the contents page of a magazine, while looking specifically at those which are featured within fashion magazines. These conventions include: the main image, structure, the title, colour schemes, and page numbers. Offers and subscriptions may also be features on a contents page of a magazine. I have labelled a contents page published by Marie Claire, with common conventions:
Genre Research: Double page spreads
Finally, I have researched the codes and conventions which are found on a double page spread of a fashion magazine. These features include: the main image, the article, the structure, the headline, and the colour scheme. I have labelled a double page spread
These magazines conform to typical magazine conventions, because of what is included on the cover. Fashion magazines are easily recognisable to the consumers by their typical layout, and each magazine shown above, has a recognisable, “fashionable” layout, with a stand out image and appropriate text. Fashion magazines do subvert magazine conventions slightly, by the removal of barcodes and prices from the cover. The intention of this is to not obscure the cover model, or take away from her in any way. Although these magazines all follow the same conventions, it is noticeable that each brand has their own identity, also known as their house style. An example of how each of these magazines has their own house style is the font used for their masthead. Each fashion magazine, has their own font and spacing which they use for their masthead, which allows them to then change the colour and design used for their masthead. Vogue is an example with this change, as they maintain the same house style throughout each of their covers, but change slight aspects throughout.
Production values produced from women’s fashion magazines will be considerably higher than of many other fashion magazines. Reasons for this may include: the cover models tend to be celebrities, and idols for many consumers, so it means that they want to read the magazine, to find out more about them. Also, many fashion magazines recommend different high street and high end stores, so people want to know where they can get the latest fashions. By targeting directly towards women who are interested in fashion, this means I am targeting a niche market, so this impacts the audience targeting, because I am not targeting everyone. For example, this may mean that men and children feel like they cannot read the magazine, and they are cut off from reading.
The magazines above are all very similar to each other, as they all follow very similar conventions to each other. For example, the mastheads on each of the covers, is big and bold, and is normally in front of the main image, but the mastheads which appear to be behind the main image, seem to make no difference to the audience, because they are recognisable to the consumer, so they know what it is, without being able to see the whole title. This also follows through into the contents pages, where the recognisable masthead is showed here too, usually with a coherent colour scheme. They also have similar structures and layouts, with the contents pages and double page spreads, all having columns in order to layout the text which is written on the pages. This gives the pages a more structured and organised layout, rather than it looking unorganised. This organisation makes the magazine look more professional, so the consumer will therefore think that it will be a good magazine to read. On the magazine covers, the coverlines are typically on the edges of the cover, rather than the middle, so that they don’t cover the main image. However, the main headline may be written over the bottom of the main image, but not over any important parts of the image.
Although most magazines tend to follow basic genre conventions which we associate with a fashion magazine, some women’s fashion magazines use a minimalistic approach. These are magazines which are well known, and although there is less on the page, it has a big impact on the consumer. These minimalistic magazines may allow this niche market to be expanded to draw on different influences, such as architecture, with the use of design work, which makes the magazine interesting and engaging to the audience. These basic designs use simple colours, and a lack of coverlines to create a simply mesmerising cover. Blank space on these covers is filled, with interesting patterns, faint words and shadows, to complete the minimalistic design of these covers.
Inspiration for my production
From looking at different magazines, I have found a few which have given me inspiration for all three aspects of my production (front cover, contents page and double page spread). When looking at different magazines, I found minimalistic magazines interesting, as they are so basic, but still impact the audience. However, I also found that I liked the design of magazines which show basic magazine conventions. Below are some magazines which have interested me, and may influence my production:
While these are focused primarily on front covers, some of these designs can be transferred to influence my double page spread and contents page designs. Each of these covers will affect my design work, in different ways. For some of these covers, the masthead has influenced my design work, while for others, I have found the main image, coverlines or colour scheme interesting.
(2) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogue_(magazine)
(3) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Claire
(4) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harper%27s_Bazaar
*I have not labelled all the conventions, due to not all being shown on this specific cover.