This article was updated last on November 2019

Did you know that in 2018 there wereover 7000 magazines in circulation in the United States alone? If you are just now planning on starting your own publication, it seems obvious that you are entering a very crowded market with a lot of established competitors.

But don’t give up just yet! We find that with any publications, but especially magazines, the design plays a very big role to lure readers in.

Experts and researchers have analyzed and come to the conclusion that first impressions are 94% design related. If your magazine design is awesome, it can help your magazines to stand out from the busy crowd.

Learn more with these 9 great tips for an incredible magazine design.

1. Nail the Cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover, they say. But when it comes to magazines, that’s exactly what people will do, including us.

The first thing that people will see from your magazine is its covers. Therefore, the key to standing out from the crowd is having a cover that really grabs people’s attention. But grabbing attention doesn’t mean it has to be packed with the content or brash colors. An understated but stylish cover can have just as much impact.

The majority of successful covers follow the same format: One main heading, one key sub-heading usually focussing on a particular story, and then a number of smaller sub-headings. 

This format gives an overview of the key stories as well as a more in-depth look at what else is in the magazine, which will spark curiosity and get people to open the magazine and read more. 

It’s also important to find the balance. You don’t want to show too many subheadings on the cover that it feels crowded and unorganized.

2. Don’t Ignore the Contents Page

Probably the most important page after the cover is the contents page. It’s usually the first page that readers will turn to inside the magazine.

If you’ve got a lot of content in your magazine, packing it all onto one page is going to make it hard to read. There’s no harm at all in spreading your contents page out to two pages.

Most content pages usually follow a fairly standard grid format but you can get a bit creative with this to stop it looking stale. Emphasizing your stronger stories is a great way to give a flavor of your content at a glance.

3. Be Clever with Color

Color is a sure-fire way to make your magazine stand out. But you need to use it wisely.

A mix of bright, well-matched colors can really make a page pop. But by the same token, minimal use of perhaps just a single color can also make a page look incredibly classy.

What you don’t want to do is just use a mess of color just for the sake of it. Take your time to choose your palette and use color to enhance the content, rather than detract from it.

4. Insert Infographics

Images and text are the building blocks of any magazine. But combining them in infographics can really give your content some punch.

Most pages of your magazine either feature images, blocks of text, or both. A page or even double-page spread that breaks up this pattern by using an infographic is going to immediately catch the reader’s eye and therefore their attention.

Infographics are a great way of imparting complex information for what would otherwise be a very text-intensive article. They make the ideas easier to absorb and there is a whole range of styles you can use.

5. Focus on Fonts

Nice colors and clever infographics are important, but at the end of the day, the majority of your magazine content is going to be text.

Choosing the correct fonts can make a massive difference to the quality of your magazine design. The key thing to remember is that your headlines and body text doesn’t have to be in the same font. Combining a stylish serif font for your headlines, with a modern sans-serif for the body text can have a really powerful impact.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the font of your body text needs to be easy to read.

6. Grab Their Attention with Pull Quotes

Much like your cover gives a glimpse of what is in the magazine, pull quotes can be used to give a flavor of what is coming in the articles.

A pull quote is a quote taken directly from the article that is presented in a much larger font than the body text. It can even be given its own page if the impact of such a statement is worthy of the content. By choosing pull quotes that will really pique the interest of the reader you can suck them into articles they might not otherwise read.

The design of your pull quotes can have a strong impact, so it’s definitely worth putting some effort into these.

7. Be Consistent Throughout

Once you’ve found a style that works for you, stick to it.

There is little more jarring than a mish-mash of styles within the same magazine. This means that everything from the page numbering style to the typography and background colors should follow the same style. This gives your magazine its identity and makes it more comfortable to read.

8. Make Your Type Look Beautiful

Choosing great fonts is important, but so is making sure that your text is perfectly laid out.

Aligning all of your text in your articles is vital for giving your magazine a professional feel. If the text in one column is slightly out of line with the next, readers will pick up on it, even subconsciously. It makes your magazine look unprofessional, and is very easy to fix.

Crowding too much text into a small space is also a surefire way to turn readers off. Remember that readability is key.

9. Make Use of White Space

Whilst content is obviously the most important thing on the page, it needs room to breathe.

Try to keep away from the desire to fill every page from top to bottom. Leaving white space not only makes your design look stylish but helps to draw the eye to the content you want your readers to be focussing on. Too much going on can be quite off-putting.

More Tips For Magazine Design

We hope you have found these 9 tips for incredible magazine design useful!

If you are specifically producing and designing a digital magazine, we do have a very specific digital magazine design tips that you can check out here

You are also encouraged to check out our blog here for more useful tips and information to help you produce the very best magazine as well as other really useful tips and hints for your business. 


If you have any questions or would like to know more about the services that we offer, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.