Today we examined magazine layouts, paying particular attention to the grid and how designers often ‘break out’ of the grid layout to create a more dynamic and visually entertaining article. Firstly, it is important to understand why grids are utilised when creating magazines. Grids ensure an aesthetically pleasing uniform design, which makes content easy to find, and therefore often promotes brand identity.

A designer might choose to break the grid to add emphasis to certain features, catch the viewers eye and stop the article from looking boring. Elements that are often used to spice up a layout by breaking the grid are headlines, box outs, photographs, call outs and diagrams.

We were asked to bring in a magazine to analyse, I chose Shortlist – a free men’s weekly, which often features tech, fashion, sports and other ‘manly’ stuff. I chose a page (which you can see below featuring an interview with Johnny Depp) and began to de-construct it from a design perspective.

I found that it followed, for the most part, a four column grid, which had a number of elements breaking out. Straight away you’ll notice that there are three images and a call out. The main image conforms the the vertical grid by strictly taking up the space of two columns and roughly a third of the page, although it does break over the top rule (black line). The smaller image to the right breaks over from the right-hand column onto the larger image and yet remains separated with a touch of drop shadow. The third image, at the bottom of the article, breaks through the margin and the bottom rule and then into the two left-hand columns. The image, once again, is made to stand out by using drop shadow and the text has been wrapped around the shape of the image, producing a very pleasing final look.

I was then tasked with re-creating the article myself using Adobe InDesign. I sincerely tried my best to reproduce the layout, look and feel of the article and I’m really proud of what I managed to achieve. I have learned a lot of little tricks along the way, from how to wrap text around an image (not its frame) to creating my own indent sizes and paragraph styles. I even got to test my Photoshop skills by creating the paint splattered ‘L’ and erasing the background from the captain Jack Sparrow image.

Overall, this task has been on my favourite so far. I’ve pushed myself to create the best possible article reproduction I can, and I think the only thing that maybe lets me down is the font…but I’ll blame that on Adobe. I’m really pleased with what I’ve learnt and added to my skillset.

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