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In Part 1, we discussed some of the building blocks in starting a magazine. This week let’s get into some of the nuts and bolts, which is my favorite: DESIGN!
The design is largely what makes a magazine amazing, next to content of course. In other words, the design is the tight beat and the content are the lyrics; for the Hip Hop heads. In order to achieve both it’s important to have the overall message and target audience of your magazine/blog solidified in the beginning.
There are about 4 elements to designing an online and physical magazine, which in my experience are the same with small variations. I’ll divide them into 2 parts:
Design Part 1
Design Part 2 (Next post God-Willing)
The Tone (color scheme, font styles, buzz words, etc.)
This links to the importance of becoming a student of magazine publications when feeling out what design you want for your magazine. You literally have to fall in love with being a publisher and publications to appreciate any of this and to have the needed level of endurance.
This refers to where you would like to feature your magazine. I chose to go with a digital magazine, so I’ll offer a few digital platforms that I’ve worked with and that I enjoy reading from.
When I first began publishing, I featured Hurt2Healing in Microsoft Publisher and saved it to a PDF file where readers could easily scroll through the magazine. It was easy to learn, attractive and I could use the previous editions as a template for the upcoming editions.
Next, I ventured into the Wix platform. I talked a little bit about this in Part 1 of this series. Wix offers a selection of easy to use and edit-friendly templates. This platform is what is known as “drag and drop”. This means that all of your edits or customize changes are made by dragging items (text boxes, images, etc.) and dropping them in the desired space. Wix uses a front-end dashboard that allows you to see the changes you make exactly where you make them and exactly how it will appear to your readers. Very straightforward and intuitive, like me! (smile)
Following Wix, I mastered a couple of other platforms that were of tremendous help in growing my skills. These platforms prepared me for the current one I used today. I discuss these platforms in my one-on-one coaching sessions, so if you would like to learn more about them, be sure to schedule a coaching session with me. I can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soon after, I began mastering the current platform that I use, WordPress. WordPress gives me warm and fuzzy feelings inside! It is the ultimate digital platform that allows the publisher to interact with readers. It feature real-time updates. NOTE: Be very flexible with edits. Either you’ll see one or someone else may catch a typo. This is why I enjoy digital publications. Should I see an edit or should my guest who I interviewed want to add something, I can go into the WordPress dashboard, into the post, make the changes and update it. Even if readers click on the link I initially Tweeted or posted on Facebook, the updates are live!
Also WordPress has tons of templates that you can easily customize OR pay someone else to customize for you. This is a great time for me to mention my web design services (smile). Email me for details/quote at email@example.com
For me this part is my “adrenaline rush”! I can spend an entire day or night looking at/ for website designs. The layout or template is what will draw your readers into your magazine. It is how and where content, images, colors, fonts come together and represent who you are and message you have for the world. The template and layout of your template is definitely important in having an amazing magazine. For those who have been H2H readers since day one, you can clearly see the advancement of quality and skill throughout the years, thank Allah! Today templates are more fluid and are coded for longevity, meaning you can grow into it with more room to grow after that. You don’t have to continuously redesign your layout.
There are generally the same elements to layouts that you’ll notice when studying other magazines that don’t change: the header, top bar, main menu, categories, sidebar and footer. Therefore, you can begin brainstorming on what you would like to feature in your digital magazine that ties into your message for your target audience. Again, make sure you’re tailoring all the above to your message so it flows and makes sense to your readers.
Depending on the platform you’ll be using will depend on where you can find some nice layouts. Each platform carries its own selection, which makes it very easy!
I pray you enjoyed Part 2 of Behind the Scenes of Starting A Magazine! See you next time for Design Part 2, God-Willing!
If you would like a more thorough breakdown about getting started with your magazine, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a one on one coaching session!
Peace & Blessings,
Ebony S. Muhammad, Publisher