Technological advancements are being made at a rapid pace today, and while paper and print technology have given way to mobile handhelds and online subscriptions, magazines still manage to retain their otherworldly charm.
While a lot of people are attached to the emotional aspect of it all and profess about feeling it, touching it, and smelling it, the real reason behind why people are still attached to magazines is much simpler. Magazines are glossy, colorful, and capture attention easily. Their graphical presentation is still unmatched since most magazines are still larger than your average phone or tablet.
Magazine retail sales might not be touching the roof but are still holding the fort in the face of a widespread digital onslaught. Magazine layouts are beautiful to look at and still remain practical, a major reason why magazines are still getting business amounting to 85 million dollars in 2016 in the USA alone! In fact, the number of magazine readers in the US has gone up since 2012 too!
So what keeps this print medium alive and thriving? Most magazine publishers would suggest that it is the way a magazine is structured and presented that makes it so useful. In fact, the popularity of a magazine is measured by not only its overall design and print quality but also the way the columns are laid out, thereby allowing for a more cohesive feel. Professional magazine design layout creation is a skill that is highly sought after, and in this article, we will try to deconstruct the importance behind magazine columns and how they impact magazine design layout ideas.
Magazine columns are an important design element which cannot be overlooked. More often than not, publishers like the magazine to contain as few columns as possible. This is the reason why in most magazines the cover story or the main story is generally of two columns, portraying its importance while still looking elegant in nature.
Less important stories, however, have their work cut out, and can generally be found to be laid within 3 or 4 columns. Mostly it is because these stories are short. In some other cases, you might even find several different kinds of columns mixed on a single page. Let us see how magazine columns influence the overall magazine layout -
Single column layouts are used very sparingly, as text laid out in such a fashion can look quite imposing in nature, and might be skipped over by readers. In some cases, when this type of magazine layout is used, then the text size is generally increased to about 60 characters per row. Another trick is to make the outer margins wider, and using the white space gained to depict imagery or, if you are going for a more dignified look, leave it white. This kind of layout is generally found in the Editor's letters at the beginning of a magazine.
The two-columned magazine layout is one of the most common ones out there and is mostly used to depict top stories or highlight articles. Making some room around the columns also allows you to play with the white space available. In fact, if you want things to look interesting, you can make the outer margin a little bigger than normal, and then make two narrow columns for an understated, but eye-catching magazine design layout.
Three columns are not too far behind when it comes to portraying elegance while still allowing you more space to play around with and arrange content. To break the monotony of such columns, you can add a little break to the page and give it some character. Also, ensure that the number of characters/row are way lower than 60, or reduce the type size to break the monotony.
Four columns are ideal if you are looking for a little bit of flexibility, as now you can tinker with varying column widths. You can either lay out your text within two or three columns, while filling the fourth one up with relevant images. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that if you are going to use all four columns for text, then ideally you should not have more than 30-35 characters per line.
Five columns are mostly used in news sections, sections dealing with cultural events or other informational parts of the magazine. Although typically you get to play around more with this sort of layout as compared to two or three-columned layouts, but it is safer to use this layout in combination with images so as give the page a more dynamic feel. Also, ensure you use the text sparingly or use it only for very short text blocks, such as image captions. The type size, as you would have guessed by now, should also be smaller.
Creating a magazine layout can be more creative than you would think. This is probably why you would see your fair share of six, seven, eight, and sometimes even nine columns on a single page! Of course, you can play around with laying text in the first four columns, then perhaps use the fourth column for pulling out quotes, and then use the final one of images. In short, you are free to experiment with whatever layout you think is promising.
A great magazine is not only reliant on a well-designed magazine layout template but also great content. After all, at the end of the day, magazines are meant to be read. As a designer or publisher, it is, therefore, your role to not only ensure the attractiveness of the content but also prop it up with a suitable magazine layout. In many cases, a great layout design can even make bad content look good, while constantly shaping the ideas presented within.
At FWS, we believe that the best magazine designs are the ones that are created to inspire and complement the content within. With 19 years of experience in various creative design behind us, we are confident in the ability of our designers to take your content and ideas and shape them into something real and tangible.