Publication Design


Print Magazine

Scenario: You are a graphic designer in an art department for a publishing company. The organization would like to create a new publication that targets a specific audience to be delivered for both mobile and print applications.

You will need to determine a specific topic, subject or industry. Fill out the questionaire.

Student Example & Template Download

Student Examples: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Typography: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

The following information should be included for the "print" publication:


Feature Spread:

  1. Photograph(s)

  2. Typographic elements (build a style guide page) and include the following:

  • Headline (the main title)
  • Subhead (to break up the body copy, gives insight into what the reader can expect in the next few paragraphs)
  • Kicker/Deck/Intro (after headline, a bridge between headline and body copy. Should summarize the story and attract reader’s attention.)
  • Running head (navigation elements for sections)
  • Byline and credits (the writer, photographer, and illustrator's names)
  • IIllustration / Photo caption(s) (small descriptions of photo content)
  • Body text (the body of the article)
  • Folio (magazine name/date/page number)
  • Pull quote(s) (brief quotes from the text in large type)
  • Jump line ("continued on page ___.")

    Terminology Resource



Design Process

Develop the marketing strategy and design brief.
Think critically and problem solve.

  1. Define the project's objectives.
  2. Define the target audience.
  3. Research potential products and usability.
  4. Identify the competition and its selling points.
  5. Define the client's unique selling proposition.
  6. Research examples of effective print publications:
    • Collect examples of well designed nameplates.
    • Collect effective cover designs.
    • Collect examples of two page editorial designs.
    • Collect examples of typographic elements / styles used in print publications.

Obtain Step 1: Research sign-off from your process instructor.


  1. Create a mind map to relate words and images to the product.
  2. Brainstorm concepts and solutions.

Develop concepts

  1. Develop quick concepts, in thumbnail form.
  2. Verify that your work meets thumbnail criteria:
    • Sketch thumbnails of design nameplates and layouts.
    • Generate as many thumbnail sketches necessary to...
      communicate a minimum of 5 different successful concepts / main ideas
    • shows composition variations for each concept
    • are fast and un-detailed
    • are drawn in proportion to the dimensions of the finished piece
    • conveys composition, sizing and position
    • show general shapes of graphic elements (images, text, etc.)
    • display readable headline type
  3. Submit your 5 most promising concepts / layouts to the art director for review.
    Include: Nameplate designs, cover designs and two page layouts.
  4. Determine the 3 best concepts to develop.

Obtain Step 2: Design (Thumbnails / Concepts) sign-off from your process instructor.

  1. Assemble a mood board to measure the client and art director's response to visual styles.
    Include the following...
    • images / techniques
    • color palette
    • typography choices
    • industry examples : show various cover designs and namplate applications.
  2. Generate a mood board using gomoodboard.
  3. Create a simple HTML document with links to your mood board and place on the server for review.
  4. Obtain feedback from your art director.

Obtain Step 3: Mood Boards sign-off from your process instructor.

Submit rough layouts to the art director.

  1. Develop three roughs from the thumbnails selected by your art director that meet the following criteria:
    • indicate type choice (typeface, case, type style, etc)
    • indicate usage of color
    • are computer generated
    • Tells the "story"
    • Addresses and relates to the target audience
    • Build the rough layout to accurate dimensions for the print publication:
      standard size of 8.375" x 10.875"
  2. Present three final digital comprehensive designs of the cover and inside spread for presentation as one combined PDF.
    Student examples: 1 | 2 | 3
  3. Present roughs using the following PDF settings:
    1. Smallest file size
    2. "single page" layout
    3. "Fit page" magnification
  4. After the art director approves your roughs, make any changes indicated.
  5. Present your designs.
  6. The art director will then sign off and approve the design to be taken to final stage.
  7. Submit final design on or before the deadline date that indicates entry level graphic design by completing the list of items above.

Obtain Step 4: Roughs sign-off from your process instructor.

Meet with the production manager.

  1. Determine the skills and steps needed to produce your design (digital strategy).
  2. Discuss your digital strategy with the production manager.
  3. Choose the appropriate software to create graphic artwork by understanding the difference between vector and raster images.
  4. Ask the production manager about any issues you are unsure of.
  5. Create job folder(s) as instructed by your production manager.
  6. When it is clear that you understand how to produce your design correctly and efficiently, the production manager will sign off/approve your strategy.

Obtain Step 5: Technology Strategy sign-off from your technology instructor.

Produce the final design.

  1. Create all native files (raster and vector images).
  2. Create job folder(s) as instructed by your production manager.
  3. Use effective file management and follow instructions for saving files to appropriate volumes by...
    • using descriptive file names, formats and extensions
    • using a dedicated folder for working files
  4. Assemble text and images using the appropriate software.
  5. Prepare raster and vector images correctly for final output setting the correct printing resolution for a 150 lpi halftone screen (300 ppi)
  6. Use layers to isolate graphic elements in order to manipulate / change individual parts of the design
  7. Use the document grid and ruler guides to align text and graphics.
  8. Use standard PDF presets for file preparation.
  9. Make backup copies of all files after each work session.
  10. Print a black and white laser proof and check for correctness and accuracy.
    (Spell check and Proof Read!)
  11. Make appropriate revisions.
  12. Check color separations to ensure only the appropriate inks (CMYK & Spot) are used.
  13. Check to see if overprints, knockouts, and rich blacks are correct.
  14. Create PDF versions for approval and final output.
  15. Copy all final documents to the server folder(s) specified by the client and production manager.
  16. Present your final design to your art director for sign-off/approval.
Obtain Step 6: Final Design sign-off from your process instructor.

Instructor / Class critique.

  1. Print out the full color design for review.
  2. Have a "Color Digital Comp/ Peer Review" of your design.
  3. Make necessary revisions.

Obtain Step 7: Design revisions sign off from your process instructor.

Complete file preparation with your production manager.

  1. Using the print preparation checklist have a "Technology Peer Review" of your project files before meeting your instructor.
  2. Show back up filing system
  3. Verify:
    • Correct raster file sampling and preparation.
    • Correct vector file preparation.
    • Correct color usage.
  4. Complete service provider package.
  5. Package files and fill out the print preparation checklist with another colleague.

Obtain Step 8: Final Deliverable sign-off from your technology instructor.




  1. Research
  2. Cover exercise
  3. Exercise | Editorial Terminology
  4. Magazine Format Sampler


  1. TBD


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