The Magazine Cover,
Visual communication in relation to media styling and readership demographics.
1.2) Chapter 1, Magazine Cover History & Demographics
1.3) Chapter 2, Magazine Cover Styling & Demographics
1.6) Image Credits
1.7) Visual Reference Document
As a brief introduction to this essay we will be viewing as outlined & requested 2 different demographically targeted magazine covers, National Geographic and National Geographic KIDS. In the first chapter we’ll learn about each magazine cover’s history & demographics. In the second chapter we’ll look styling used in both magazine covers and how design relates to the demographic readership. The final part to this essay concludes our investigation in chapter 1 & 2. We look at the magazine cover as a brand and how technology is shaping demographic readership in 21st Century Media.
1.2) Chapter 1, Magazine Cover History & Demographics
The NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Magazine, later shortened to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC was founded in 1888 (see figure 1 to 3), by the The National Geographic Society (among the largest nonprofit scientific/educational organizations). Their motto: “National Geographic - Inspiring People to Care About the Planet”, (quote 1). The magazine is part of a portfolio from the National Geographic Society; 4 other magazines including national Geographic KIDS, National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and scientific research.
In a website television interview video, Redwood - inspiring content, Redwood CEO, Keith Grainger, explains how technology has increased readership demographics through print and digital publishing, “12 months of our time spent online has increased by over 30% despite watching just as much television, listening just as much radio and reading magazines as we ever have,” (quote 2.1). Keith also explains that because the media publishing landscape has increased to more digital platforms along with print that, “ people are interacting with more content from more sources than ever before,” (quote 2.2). Explaining to us that as students, designers and directors of communication strategy we are thinking of new ways of the magazine cover branding structure demographically.
National Geographic magazine, the Editor-in-Chief Chris Johns, publishes the magazine to more than fifty million people who receive the magazine every month, in English and 33 local-language editions. Bringing the world to its English-speaking members and readers, “in the past 10 years it has dramatically shifted its focus to bringing international readers, television viewers and Web visitors the Society’s unique brand of storytelling in their own languages,” (quote 3.1). The National Geographic Society reaches today, “300 million people each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and its four other magazines,” (quote 3.2), including National Geographic KIDS.
We can see in (figure 8.1), source: National Readership Survey. 2011. National Readership survey - top line readership. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nrs.co.uk/toplinereadership.html. [Accessed 05 November 11], for National Geographic magazine that the majority of readers are from Classification A, B, and C1, with half this amount of readership from classification C2, D and E, telling us that double the amount of readership are from the upper, middle income. The Age group shows us the popularity of the magazine styling and content attracting a fairly equal percentage of consumers with 41% from the 15-44 age range and 44% 44+ age range. Comparatively it is mostly the male audience who read this magazine title with 52% male readers compared with a 34% female audience.
Editor, Lauren Jarvis of National Geographic KIDS magazine was first published in 2001, it’s former title National Geographic WORLD printed in September 1975, from a former separate publication the National Geographic School Bulletin, published weekly during the school year from 1919 to 1975. We see a cover of National Geographic World featuring a sculpture by Jim Gary in a 1978 edition, (figure 4 & 5), and the KIDS magazine today (figure 11). The National Geographic Kids magazine is the only kids brand with a world-class scientific organization at its core. National Geographic Kids publishes ten issues annually, a circulation of more than 1.3 million in English, an estimated English language readership 4.6 million with eighteen editions of National Geographic Kids in other languages, “The magazine is written for children between the ages of six and fourteen. It has an advisory board of 500 subscribers and solicits reader feedback after each issue,” (quote 4). Newstand comments, “National Geographic Kids magazine is bound to enthuse any child about the world they live in. Get them off the Xbox, Playstation, TV, or PC and stuck into National Geographic Kids magazine,” (quote 5). Providing kids access to educational readership of the realtime printed magazine version but we mustn’t forget that The award-winning website kids.nationalgeographic.com is also a fantastic educational resource for our children’s learning.
For National Geographic KIDS magazine the, “Subscribers Average age is 9.6 years, Average parent age 41.5 years and the Average household income $87,500,” (quote 6). In (see figure 8.2), National Geographic KIDS magazine demographic figures we see the percentage of age readership learning that 10% 13-14 year olds also read the magazine, this suggests that there may be a brand marketing gap that National Geographic could expand their age range of magazine titles to engage with the age group 13 years of age to 15. 73% share National Geographic Kids with parents, 47% share National Geographic Kids with siblings and 33% share National Geographic amongst friends with around 85/88% with a personal computer and access to the internet in the home. There is about twelve percent more readership with boys than girls.
1.3) Chapter 2, Magazine Cover Styling & Demographics
Magazine Cover Styling & Demographics
The National Geographic Society, a long-standing American icon has become an international icon too. Founded nearly 120 years ago to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” (quote 7).Careful font choices and usage ensure that the reader is guided by the overall percentage of the page information print/digital whilst allowing other fonts in adverts to work their message without confusion, statistics (figure 9), show the popularity of usage, visibility and least favorite. From the website resource, ‘Design Tips for a Great Magazine,’ we learn, “Research shows that serif fonts, especially small ones, are easier to read than san-serif fonts (serifs are the little tick marks at the end of lines in the letters),… The eye tracks across the serifs of the letters making reading easier,” (quote 8). We also learn from typographer, Colin Wheildon, “Studies have been conducted on the readability and legibility of all caps text. Some 20th century scientific testing indicates that all caps text is less legible and less readable than lower case text. Colin Wheildon stated that there is an “apparent consensus” that lower case text is more legible,” (quote 9). We can see (figures 1 to 5), how from the original National geographic design, simply set in a portraiture style layout, this has then been transformed and modernized where the Serif font becomes sans serif, this ‘Geo’ font is a trademark font commodity we can see that it has been inspired from ITC Stone Sans Semi Bold at 36 pt. The Serif font is although not part of the masthead today is in regular use within the magazine copy content.
Design Director is Jonathan Halling, of National Geographic KIDS magazine. Here we can also see that the Yellow border has been cartoonized in the KIDS logo (figure 7), communicating to this entirely different age group of audience, fun and lively. The details of the font for the KIDS logo could have been inspired by the, “Red Rooster,” (quote 10).
The National Geographic Society’s logo is made up of a set of designed elements that translate right across the spectrum of their visual communication portfolio. To begin with the yellow portrait frame, rectangular in shape, appearing not only as the margin surrounding the font cover of National Geographic magazine and KIDS magazine this also appears as part of the branding logo found in the masthead of both magazine titles. Cameron Chapman, internet inspiration blog writer comments, “yellow is energizing and is often seen as the brightest,” although also considering how colour can be subjective to different cultures, Cameron adds, “in Egypt for example yellow is seen to be a colour of mourning… Japan, yellow represents courage, and in India it’s a color for merchants,” (quote 11). National Geographic when printed the yellow colour varies it’s hue where it looks sometimes bright yellows to a more gold-hued yellow. Giving a look of modern new ideas 100% Process Yellow / Web Safe Colors: FFCC00 or giving a look of permanence with a darker antique yellow, e.g. PANTONE 124 M / Web Safe Colors: FF9933.
We also learn from Cameron that, “Softer yellows are commonly used as a gender-neutral color for babies (rather than blue or pink) and young children. Light yellows also give a more calm feeling of happiness than bright yellows,” (quote 11.2). Through Xerox 2011 research statistics tell us, “Color improves brand recognition by up to 80%,” and, “Reader comprehension is 14% better with highlight color than with bold text,” (quote 12).
Considering magazines have in the past and nowadays are still stacked in rows in retail display the masthead is very important in communicating the magazine brand (figure 10 & 11). However in the new advances in technology (see figure 12.1 & 12.2), Apple Digital Magazine Newsstand, virtual tablet applications move the geography of where the masthead is placed. For instance the masthead could become a subhead to a main masthead of subject titles and as seen in Figure 13, in the special printed editions of National Geographic, the masthead and page border have moved to the central view area of the page.
Through creating similar styling language we create relationships with reading demographic groups and how we design magazine content across print and digital platforms. We are essentially guiding our audiences through concise design templates of information. In essence we are creating a code of ethics within these environments. Through using highly visible fonts we are already creating a safe and secure environment of easily readable information, keeping fonts, colour and styling layout clear. Almost communicating sub-conciously, the magazine cover printed or digital is a familiar home environment creating a similar environment to the real environment of the reader.
The majority of design is directed to demographics readership of mass audience with personality styling that reflect the demographic lifestyle & culture. As a designer I personally prefer design based on christian values, a safe environment that is guided with a set of rules and regulations. The magazine cover is now a consumer brand that reaches across print/digital lifestyles in-store, at home and online. The National Geographic Society, magazines and portfolio of media is communicated within a superbly structured and managed media. With todays vision of caring for our planet the National Geographic Society is a humanitarian organisation, with fantastic cultural connections, scientific and educational resources, helping our planet’s sustainability from green issues - recycling to helping the third world population - famine. The National Geographic Society is a world-leading, non-profit, scientific research and educational organisation, their motto: “National Geographic - Inspiring People to Care About the Planet”, (quote 1).
We have seen in the visual reference to this essay how magazine cover design, styling and demographics are advancing in print and digital although still using the same fundamental publishing technicalities in design. New technology is developing a new way of designing the magazine cover and readership distribution. As Keith from Redwood explains clearly, “as a result we have become far more adept filtering out media from our lives including communications from brands which is neither nor useful or relevant… so for brands securing time and attention has become ever more challenging in this increasingly fragmented and customer centric media landscape,” (quote 2.3).
Magazine demographics and readership are expanding rapidly through online accessibility and this is revolutionizing the brand of the magazine title as a lifestyle through it’s communicative structure, print and online information architecture, design direction and styling templates. Creating a new safely structured print and digital magazine lifestyle environment for our 21st Century Media consumer.
Quote 1) Website
“National Geographic - Inspiring People to Care About the Planet”.
Quote 2) 2.1/2/3/4 Website Televised Video Interview
Rewood Group. (2011). A Short Film about What We Do - Keith Grainger CEO. Redwood. [Online Video]. 07 November. Available from: http://www.redwoodgroup.net/aboutus.html. [Accessed: 07 November 2011].
Quote 3) Website Source
Quote 4) Website
NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC.COM. 2009. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PRESS ROOM - Fact Sheet, National Geographic Expands Its World. [ONLINE] Available at: http://press.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom/index.jsp?pageID=factSheets_detail&siteID=1&cid=1058466231550. [Accessed 07 November 11].
Quote 5) Website
Newsstand magazines. 2011. Newsstand - The Worlds largest online Newsagent. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.newsstand.co.uk/106-General-Magazines/8402-Subscribe-to-NATIONAL-GEOGRAPHIC-KIDS-Magazine-Subscription.aspx. [Accessed 05 November 11].
Quote 6) Online Fact Sheet
Quote 7) Website Pressroom
National Geographic . com. 2011. National Geographic . [ONLINE] Available at: http://press.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom/index.jsp?pageID=factSheets_detail&siteID=1&cid=1058466231550. [Accessed 05 November 11]
Quote 8) Website
Magazine Publisher . com. 2010. Design Tips for a Great Magazine. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.magazinepublisher.com/designtips.html. [Accessed 07 November 11].
Quote 9) Website
Quote 10) Website
http://new.myfonts.com/search/%28national+geographic+kids%29/fonts/ & http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/redrooster/roman-tyres-rr/
Quote 11.2/2) Website
Smashing Magazine / Cameron Chapman. 2010. Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/01/28/color-theory-for-designers-part-1-the-meaning-of-color/. [Accessed 02 November 11].
Quote 12) Website
XEROX. 2011. How to Use Color. [ONLINE] Available at: http://atyourservice.blogs.xerox.com/2011/07/14/how-to-use-color/. [Accessed 02 November 11].
1.6) Image Credits
Figure 1: January 1915 cover of The National Geographic Magazine
Figure 2: October 2009 cover of National Geographic
Figure 3: Issues in stock
Figure 4: Cover of 1978 edition of National Geographic World, known as National Geographic Kids since 2001 featured a sculpture by Jim Gary from its lead article
Figure 5: The name changed in 2001 to National Geographic Kids, shown is a cover of a 2009 edition
Figure 6: Logo of the National Geographic Society
Figure 7: The logo is from the kids.nationalgeographic.com website, (Pritt).
Figure 8.1: General Magazines Demographics, July’10 - June ’11.
Figure 8.2: National Geographic KIDS - magazine demographics
Figure 9: The 8 Worst Fonts in the World
Figure 10: Issues in stock
Figure 11: Issues in stock
Figure 12.1 & 12.2: Newsstand Tablet Edition & App Magazine Newstand
Figure 13: National Geographic - Special Edition magazines; NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC COLL OCEANS, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC COLL SACRD PLCS, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC COLL AMRCN PRKS, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC COLL TREASURE.