Body talk…

The 2015 ESPN magazine Body Issue is on sale and Marvel’s mightiest flex their muscles alongside sporting heroes

imageThe Body Issue is a celebration of sporting heroes and the effects that years of hard work and dedication have on the human body.

There are six regular covers (showcasing different athletic body types and sports) and a special Super Heroes edition insert. This Marvel Insert compares the different physiques of some of Marvel’s mightiest heroes and are illustrated by the likes of Frank Cho and Jim Cheung.

The Body Issue’s are full of inspirational photography (without showing any ‘naughty’ bits) and there are multiple covers – showing today’s sporting superstars. You can view the 2015 (and previous year’s) covers here. My favourite from the 2015 series is a body-positive effort featuring the beautiful and powerful US Hammer Olympian Amanda Bingson.






Empire of the Ant-man…

The UKs best-selling entertainment magazine gets a refresh


Simple effective design and drop cap
Loads to look at
Loads to look at

Empire has always been one of my favourite magazines to read and I am a long-time subscriber. I enjoy the magazine’s editorial consistency and mix of features and reviews. The design has always been – outside of stunning features – either rather plain or bonkers (random colour slabs behind review copy anyone?). The July 2015 issue is however, rather beautiful…

The two review sections – In Cinemas and Review – have a lovely new grid system that allows plenty of white space (without feeling empty). I love the big splash images and the delicate greyscale drop-caps. I also think the ‘like this, watch this’ box outs help break up the page well. Alongside the reviews are fantastic catch-up viewing guides, tables and more.


The whole issue is linked via a delightful set of arrows that flow throughout – pointing to important information, tidbits and images – encouraging the reader to examine even the smallest details.

The colour palette is quite muted using greys and creams alongside blues and greens but don’t let that put you off – it really lets the images and movie features stand out.

There is some weird pacing in places. I don’t personally like features that start on a single page and the Magic Mike XXL feature is a little lost because of this but, I’ve worked in magazines long enough to know this was probably due to advertising constraints.

All in all this is a very solid start and I can’t wait for the next issue to drop through the letterbox.

Ant-man teaser arrives…

Entertainment Weekly’s magnificent magnifying cover really hits the spot

1346-ANTMAN-cover-EWYou can’t move for Marvel movies these days. Following on from the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers et al comes Ant-Man starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas.

I’ve never been a big fan of the character  – as I prefer my heroes to be very big, very strong, angry and green (you know who I’m talking about) – but I think you have to applaud Marvel for making movies based on less well known characters. Check out this stunning infographic to see if your favourite is heading to the big screen.

Ant-Man may have been a movie with issues (Edgar Wright leaving halfway through production etc etc) but I think the trailer looks half decent. It is only a teaser but there is something about it that gets my juices flowing.

I also love the superb cover photography from Entertainment Weekly’s January issue. It’s quirky but does a good job of promoting the movie in a visual way. I guess Paul Rudd should count his blessings that the sun wasn’t bright that day or else he’d be a bit crispy.

Ant-Man is released on Friday 17 July 2015.

Back in time…

Learn how to travel back to 1066 with issue 141 of Your Family Tree magazine.


When designing magazine covers flexibility is the key. You might have a fixed template but you need to bear in mind current trends and be able to follow these – whilst retaining your identity.

One of the current trends is to have fewer cover lines on your digital editions. When readers view your magazine on web-based newsstands – such as GooglePlay or Apple – most words are too small to view. Removing words enables you to promote the most important messages and enlarge images and logos. As you’ll see from the image above I have removed the top word-mechanics of the magazine and this has allowed the movement images and give an illusion of space on the smaller digital cover.

The single most important message on this issue was ‘going back further in time with your research’. I wanted the ‘time’ aspect to jump out and decided that the best approach was to have a combination older documents and a timepiece. I also wanted to have the illusion of moving in time so we blurred the hands of the clock. The simple blue san serif typography (Sanuk LF) also jumps out to the reader. Only ‘time’ will tell if my approach has been a success.

Your Family Tree issue 141 is on sale now. If you’re interested you can find more information on the issue and ordering details here.

© Future Publishing Limited.


Remembering the brave…

Your Family Tree issue 139 ushers in our in-depth WWI centenary series of features.


The First World War Centenary is upon us and this special issue marks the beginning of a series of features and articles with a difference. The national press and media world will be running hundreds (if not thousands) of interviews and programmes that look directly at the battles and losses during this horrendous war. We at Your Family Tree magazine wanted to showcase WW1 and bring you the information that allows YOU to find and honour YOUR war heroes. YFT139 is full of handy hints and tips that enable you to search medal records and rolls online, alongside a special social history feature that looks at how British home life was transformed during this terrible time.

I needed an image for the cover that instantly said ‘WW1’ to the casual browser but wasn’t just a black and white soldier shot. After a few hours searching it was Getty who came to my rescue with this amazing illustration by Popperfoto. It shows the military allies and their flags during World War One from around 1915. I think it certainly helps the magazine stand out from the crowd. We also created a wonderful little logo that enables our readers to jump straight to our Great War articles whenever they see it in the magazine.

Your Family Tree issue 139 is on sale via all good retailers right now and is also available on your iPad/iPhone, Nook, Kindle and desktop via Zinio and Google Play for Android devices. You can order all editions and try us for FREE here.

What is light without dark?

Top Cow’s The Darkness arrives on the Madefire Motion Book platform…


The Darkness, one of the best comic books of the last two decades, was launched yesterday on the Madefire Motion Book platform. The Darkness tells the tale of Jackie Estacado (a Mafia hitman) who on his 21st birthday, became the bearer of the Darkness! This ancient elemental force allows those who wield it to access an otherworldly dimension and have control over the demons who dwell there. As you can imagine, this macabre character from creators Marc SilvestriGarth Ennis, and David Wohl, is a perfect match for the dynamic Motion Book platform.

“Madefire really brings comic “motion” books alive in a way no one else has yet to master,” says Matt Hawkins, President of Top Cow. “The Darkness is alive in a way we’ve not been witness to since the release of the last video game.”

CCO and Co-Founder of Madefire Liam Sharp stated: “The Darkness is one of the seminal books to emerge from the Image revolution of the 90s, and it’s as powerful today as it was back then. Add sound, motion – the element of surprise! – and you have a title ideally suited to the Motion Book format! Lock all the doors, close the windows, and settle down for a chilling night-time read…”

A Motion Book is the perfect bedfellow for any classic character and this year has seen launches including Hellboy, Batman, Transformers, Star Trek and even My Little Pony. You can discover more of these excellent titles from Madefire at and you can read/download The Darkness Motion Book and more on your iPad via the Madefire app and on your desktop via deviantART.


Empire magazine unleash an Amazing Spiderman 2 double.

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Sometimes the best magazine covers take the direct route. The latest issue of Empire magazine does just that. Superheroes are some of the most recognisable characters and Spiderman is one of the most popular of all time. Amazing Spiderman 2 stars Jamie Foxx as villain Electro and the team have put Spidey on an electrifying background and added fluorescent green cover lines for added ‘thwip’. The subscriber edition is as direct a cover as I’ve ever seen. Big Spiderman = happy inner 10-year-old. Wonderful! You can view the Electro teaser trailer here and discover more about Empire here. It’s on sale from Thursday 25 July.

Do you feel lucky…

Well, do ya, punk?

ShortlistDirtyHarryShortlist magazine have unleashed a mighty cover for their latest issue. It’s mean, moody and impactful. Let’s face it, you can’t really go wrong when the iconic ‘Dirty Harry‘ is your cover-star and the retro font is a lovely added touch. As soon as I saw it I couldn’t help but hear the music of Lalo Schifrin and it makes me want to pick it up now! Issue 281 is out tomorrow (4th July) but if you can’t wait, just visit for their definitive maverick cop list. Stunning!

Catching up…

Get two Your Family Tree magazine covers for the price of one!



I can’t believe that two whole issues have passed since I last posted a cover on this blog – we have just been stacked out workwise and it has been hard to find the time to think.

Still, what we’ve managed to publish is one traditional style genealogy cover and one slightly different, modern approach.

YFT128 is definitely a modernist, graphical approach and is quite a departure for us. Adam (my editor) and I thought that the DNA subject matter warranted this. We then chose to use joined up DNA strands with vintage photography inserts. The striking dark blue background contrasts with the bright red elements that leaps from the page (especially in our digital editions).

YFT129 is a much more traditional cover that uses typography to ram the ‘FREE’ message home. I backed this up with an empty, distressed wallet and ornate picture frame. The simple, bullet point elements stand out with the handwritten font use.

Both jumped out from crowded shelves but for entirely different reasons and they both worked exceptionally well on digital devices.

Now is the perfect time to view these covers digitally – as we are giving away an issue free when you take out a digital subscription.* Digital subscriptions to Your Family Tree are available in the following formats and prices start from just £3.99:

*Free issue not available on Zinio

© Future Publishing Limited 2013