Cover to cover…

How last-minute design decisions can change the entire feel of a magazine


Your Family Tree is a magazine with a dedicated, predominately female readership. We always aim to make YFT appeal to this demographic and because of this, last-minute design changes often happen. These changes are usually limited to a couple of words but on issue 131 it involved changing the entire colour scheme of the cover. We had finalised everything – pictures and words – but something didn’t sit right with the senior editorial team.

I’d initially gone with a white bordered cover with a dark wood backround. There were two reasons for this – I wanted a contrast between the white headline/dark background and I wanted the colourful images to leap from the page. I think we succeeded and it is a crisp, clean, professional looking cover.

However, the senior team felt that the cover was too dark and wouldn’t appeal to our targeted female demographic. They wanted to replace the dark wood with a paler version and add a brighter, colourful border. We always alternate the cover colours and it was decided that red would be more ‘summery’.

The end product is as striking as the first cover but it left me with a personal quandry – I didn’t believe it bettered the first. Sure, its bright and jumps out from the newsstand but I think the headline is a bit lost and the imagery certainly isn’t as prominent as in the first.

I guess it boils down to personal choice and issue 131 is certainly selling well in its red incarnation. Which do you prefer?


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Magazine designer... Great page layouts... Always hits deadlines... Always hits budgets... Picture editor... Blogs a bit... Husband... Father of two

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