Analysing a Magazine

Illustration showing layout of front cover of magazine

A magazine's cover is the most important element, in terms of how it appeals to potential buyers

At a glance, you can generally tell if a magazine is going to satisfy your interests, outlook and aspirations.

Different magazines have distinct house styles that convey their brand identity.

The brand identity and point-of-view (or ideology) conveyed by a magazine is vital when we consider that magazines are selling us content that is often aspirational.

Modes of address

Different magazines have different modes of address.

This may be formal and informative, or more casual and catchy.

Magazines use design and language to stand out from their competitors in the same subgenre.

For example, Kerrang! and NME both use an informal tone and style but Kerrang! uses language that will appeal specifically to heavy metal fans. NME, which is also informal, uses language that will appeal to indie music fans.

A magazine contents page lists all of its content including regular pages and special features. The audience (or readers) will normally expect to find regular pages in the same place for each editon.

For example, readers of Empire will know where to find cinema reviews, as opposed to feature articles. Readers of a lifestyle magazine will expect to find items like horoscopes near the back.

Features are particular to each magazine issue. They will contain new content on current topics and may be an exclusive for the magazine.