Magazine Spreads

Over the Easter break, we have been set the task to find and blog about beautiful double page spreads from magazines that we have found. I have researched into a range of agencies, mainly design-based, who run popular magazines, including IdN, Newsweek, Communication Arts, Aesthetica, Metrópolis, Wallpaper* and even The Beatles. I have picked out five or so spreads that I particularly like, each being slightly different from the others, and written about each.


Metrópolis spread 1

The Metrópolis uses really interesting layouts throughout the magazine. The images that they have used are cut out rather than being rectangular, which looks really effective while also allowing more space for other things to go, such as text. Although full colour is used, red is the colour used to link parts on this spread. It is used to create balance across the pages – some of the images have red in them and red is also used for the subheadings of each paragraph, with hints of it in the more expressive fonts dotted across the spread. I like how the images are positioned diagonally across the page from the bottom left corner, as it leads your eye across both pages well. The majority of the text used is written in a serif font, excluding the title which is in block sans serif. The paragraphs are presented in columns and are justified for a neat and tidy, formal look. I really like how they have bled images off the edge of the pages, particularly how they have done it with the title, because even though almost half of it is cut off, it is still readable and the reader can tell what it says. Grid system: 3 column page


I have picked out two spreads from Newsweek magazine as they are both beautiful and the layouts of each are very different.

Newsweek spread 2

Newsweek spread 1

Differently to most of the other spreads that I have picked out, Newsweek uses serif fonts throughout. In the first double page spread from Newsweek that I have picked out, the main image is positioned right in the centre of the spread, across both pages. Several other images are positioned down either side, balanced out well with small paragraphs of text. Each paragraph has a subheading, which is in a different colour and slightly larger point size to the main text – each paragraph relates to the image it is positioned with and balanced out by, acting as a caption. The main large image in the centre of the page is captioned differently – it has a simple, three-line description beneath it. The majority of the text is in sans serif, with the exception of the article heading, which is in a slab serif font. The sub paragraph positioned below the main heading is again in a very slightly different font to the other smaller caption-paragraphs. I like how they have created an indent that covers several of the first opening lines of that particular paragraph, with a tiny silhouette image positioned in the indent. All magazine pages always have a page number, usually positioned somewhere at the bottom of the page in the margin – I like best when it is positioned in the centre. Both spreads use a grid system of 3 columns per page.

In the second spread, I love how they have used the colour red to link both pages of the double spread – the hints of red in the image draw your eye straight to the word ‘spanked’ in red on the other page. I like how they have positioned the paragraph of text at the bottom of the page in three justified columns – it leaves a lot of empty space around the title, which only makes the both stand out even more – it is extremely successful. Due to this, the title has not been put in bold as it stands out enough already – it is instead simply positioned in the middle of the page in centred text in a larger point size than the rest of the text. Similarly to in The Beatles magazine, rather than using an initial letter at the beginning of a paragraph, they put the first couple of words in bold font, making them stand out, thus encouraging the viewer to begin reading. The page on the right is covered entirely by just one single image, which is bled right to the edges of the page. I love this layout style and really want to use it in my own editorial project – a large image, interesting and beautiful image will always immediately attract someone’s eye and if a reader was simply flick through a magazine, they are likely to pause on a page like this and then begin to read. This spread is probably one of my favourites out of all of the spread layouts I have looked at – the simplicity of it is brilliant.

Communication Arts

communication arts spread 1.jpg

This double page spread from Communication Arts is similar in some ways to the spread above from Newsweek, although the image overlaps slightly so it’s on both pages, and the text is arranged in a basic block paragraph, rather than positioned at the bottom of the page and in columns. Overall, the layout of this spread is simple but effective. The colours in the image are not too much – just the two main colours of yellowy-orange and white. The use of blue then for the title on the left is effective as it is a complimentary colour to the yellowy-orange. Like the majority of text in magazines, there is a heading, subheading, then main text. I really like the way they have bled the image and the foreign typography in the title off of the page, and also away the same title overlays the corner of the image – it joins the two elements nicely, carrying the viewer’s eye across from the image page to the text page and vice versa. Using an initial at the very beginning of the paragraph works really well and is something that I definitely intend to use in my own editorial piece. Although all of the text used is sans serif, it is still easy to differentiate between different sections, for example the sub heading and the main paragraph. They have done this by using colour instead, as the subheading is a red-orange (again drawing in the similarly coloured image) while the main paragraph is in black, and also by making the subheading less condensed than the main paragraph, as well as being a slightly larger font size. Th main paragraph is in one single column and is unjustified; just positioned to the left. I think that on this spread they have used a grid system of 5 columns in order for the overlap of the image across the pages to work.

(Note to self: an ‘initial’ or ‘dropcap’ is a letter at the beginning of a word/paragraph that is larger than the rest of the text)

The Beatles

Again, I have picked out two spreads from The Beatles magazines as they are both very different, but both have very interesting layouts.

Beatles spread 1

Beatles spread 2

Throughout The Beatles magazine, they use not a lot of colours (usually greyscale) but then add splashed of bright colour, to bring out certain areas of the spread. They do this brilliantly in both of the spreads above. In the first The Beatles spread that I have picked out, it is completely in black and white with the horizontal lines across the page, working to underline the title and separate the two sections – image and text – while at the same time using the bright and bold colours of the 1960s, which was of course the Beatles era. I think that the text works better in justified columns like The Beatles magazine have done, rather than  like some magazines (the Communication Arts spread for example), as being short makes it a more readable length – readers/viewers are often put off by too large/long paragraphs, sentences and lines. Also in the first spread above, the first few words of the main paragraph are in a bold and very slightly larger font size to the rest of the text – this has the safe effect as using an initial letter (like in the Communication Arts spread). The grid system on the first spread has only 2 columns per page.

In the second double spread that I have picked out from The Beatles does not display a usual article made up of a simple, title and paragraph; it presents a timeline in a really interesting layout style. The images that they have used are interesting, particularly the one on the left page which has been cut around and bled off the page, rather than having the image as rectangular. The title and introductory paragraph of the timeline, are wrapped around the edge of the cut out image, separating it clearly from the timeline itself. The timeline is then arranged in columns, spreading across both pages. The colours that they have used are black, white and brown, but again, with splashes of bright 60’s colours, keeping it coherent with the rest of the magazine. The have used the bright colours to pick out important details in the timeline by having some of the font in blue or red, rather than in white like the rest. Like on the previous The Beatles spread, as well as throughout the majority of the magazine itself, they have used the coloured horizontal lines beneath the timeline, separating the timeline from another paragraph, arranged in columns, below. for extra definition between the two sections (the timeline and the paragraph below), there is also a change in background colour and text colour – it changes from white text on brown, to black text on white. I really like the way in which they use colour to achieve a lot on these spreads, so will use it as inspiration in my own editorial project next term. Differently to the first spread, the grid system on the second spread has 3 columns per page.


Published by

Amber Lloyd

Graphic Communicator

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