Step 2: Strategy and Inspiration Boards, Cover Thumbnails

Due Thursday, Feb 21

2.1 Your strategy board will contain the following pieces:

Competitor Research: make three columns for different points within the concept of your magazine. You will use these to categorize the competitors of your magazine. For example, competitors of “urban gardens” magazine might include gardening magazines, urban or apartment dwelling magazines, and green living magazines. Research existing magazines in each of these categories and list them in that column along with a brief clarifying description of each magazine’s content. Aim to have at least five different competitors in each category.

Marketplace Positioning Chart: on a matrix grid, place two contrasting target audience characteristics at either end of both vertical and horizontal axises. For example, axis qualifiers for “urban gardens” might include “full scale professional gardeners” vs “small container gardeners” or “urban” vs “country” or “conventional” vs “organic” or “gritty” vs “sophisticated” or even specify and age range. Using your research, plot each competitor in the appropriate cross-axis location on the chart. This process is often revealing of areas of target consumers that other magazines have failed to address, and you may choose to revise the concept of your magazine after doing so.

Target Audience: create personas for the readers of your magazine. For example, one persona for “urban gardens” might be 20-35 year old city dwelling hipsters who are interested in composting and growing container gardens on the balcony of their apartment. Another might be urban families who want to teach their kids about local food and maximize plant growth in a small yard. Develop three personas and include one short paragraph for each.

2.2 Content Selection

Next, utilize competitor magazines that have similar content to your proposed magazine and select articles, as well as other feature content that you want to use in your layouts. You will not be replicating any design or images from this borrowing, only raw text content. If you are referencing a magazine published online, you may be able to copy and paste some text. Otherwise you will need to retype the content from a printed magazine. Place this content into a TextEdit doc file as unformatted text and have it ready next class.

2.3 Illustrating Ideas: Inspiration and Thumbnails

Before starting any layout design, your first step will be to create a series of cover images which illustrate key themes of your feature articles. These images will eventually be used in  your cover designs combined with a masthead logotype and magazine contents highlights. You may create these images using photography or illustration, utilizing symbolism, metaphors, etc to communicate ideas in a simple impactful way. You must create your own images. No stock photos allowed.

  • Create a written list of 3 key themes for each of your three featured articles (total of 9 themes)
  • Develop an inspiration board to help guide your image ideation.
  • Sketch thumbnails of image ideas or “photo-sketching” with a camera for each theme.

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