4. Magazine Article


Additional Resource Links:

This project is your opportunity to bring together all the knowledge and skill that you have learned from our previous assignments throughout the semester. Even though they do share some similar tools, and in some cases can perform similar design tasks, the three main software programs; Illustrator, Photoshop and inDesign, were created with specific purposes in mind. It is very important that you understand how those tools are meant to interact with one another as a design suite and therefore what to do in which program for maximum design efficiency.

In a nutshell, you should do the following tasks in each of these respective programs for the majority of ALL projects you might be doing:

MS Word

  • text writing and editing only, no formatting or design layout
  • spell and grammar check
  • find and replace


  • bitmap image editing (camera photos, cell phone selfies, internet JPEGS, etc.)
  • set image resolution
  • image cropping
  • final image sizing
  • apply any special effects
  • digital “paintings”
  • special effect typography


  • vector graphics editing (logos, graphics)
  • digital “drawing”
  • single-page layout
  • single-page typography
  • converting text to vector graphics (outlines)


  • multi-page layout (booklets, books, magazines, multipage PDF, etc.)
  • assemble images, text and graphics in a multi-page layout document
  • Multi-page typography
  • applying style sheets and master page elements



Design a two-page (spread) layout for an article that would appear in a real magazine of your choice. Think of your layout as an update of that magazine’s layout or house style, (choice of typography, page size, use of space, image treatment, folio and master page elements, style, etc. We might substitute the word brand or visual identity for house style. In this case, all of these mean the same thing. It is the “look”. This is not the same as the content. The content is the individual stories that might vary from issue to issue or even the various articles that might appear within the same issue. Even though this content or story can change, each one is normally given a common stylistic treatment, the house style.

A second key element in this assignment is your use of image as an illustration for your article. This main image must be from a piece of your own original artwork (photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, etc.) I strongly encourage you to use this image in a symbolic or metaphorical, not a literal way to compliment the message. (an example of a literal connection would be to use a picture of a tree with a story about a tree. Don’t do that. An example of a symbolic use of the same image might be to use a picture of a tree paired with a story about growth.)

The topic of your article may be from a paper you have written for another class or taken from another source, the choice is yours, but your image must relate somehow to the subject of that text/story.

Step 1 Document Set Up

Be sure to do this on the Master Pages

  • Create an inDesign Doc that contains 4 pages with facing pages.
  • Insert the same number of columns that your magazine shows.
  • Flow placeholder text into text boxes. Using the Paragraph Styles Window create the “look” for a new style called “text”. This will be the look for the main body  or story. Be sure to open the leading to a whole number that is at least the next larger whole number above the auto or default leading amount. (for example, if the auto amount is 14.4 then the next largest whole number would be 16)
  • Use this leading amount to create both a document and baseline grid. Change the increment preferences to be measured in points, not inches.
  • Adjust the overall document size to be multiples of the leading amount both vertically and horizontally.
  • Adjust the margins and gutter spaces to be a version of the Golden Section by applying the Fibonocci Number system (1,1,2,3,5,8,etc.)

Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 5.30.27 PM

Step 2

Scan (do not photograph) a page from the magazine you are using. Pick a page that includes an article so that it will contain main body text as well as headings, sub headings, folio, captions and any other category or grouping of text that is a part of the “House Style”.

Pay close attention to where new articles begin in your magazine, on the right hand side or on the left, or occasionally either one. The traditional design approach is for all new articles or stories to always begin on a right-hand page but more recently many magazines are not following this tradition and instead starting new articles on the left. InDesign sets up new multi-page documents according to tradition, meaning that the first page is a single one and on the right. So, if your magazine house style is to begin on the left, your first page in inDesign will be blank, and you will instead begin your layout on InDesign page 2 and 3 with page 4 being a single page. (As an option, or extension of the assignment, you may choose to also create an advertisement design for page 4).

Step 3
Place your scanned page in a background or template layer of inDesign. Create a new layer above it and type in a paragraph in that layer. Try to match the template paragraph typography exactly (typeface, leading, size, tracking, etc.) However, the magazine that you picked may not have used the Fibonocci number system to determine spacing, so you are simply referring to that sample magazine as a reference. Your upgrade design will be an improvement because of the application of the grid and Fibonocci number sequence creating greater harmony between elements. You are also using this template layer to simply capture the house style of typography. You are not using the article or story in your design. You will be applying this style to your story/article.

In addition, some magazines have a section, usually in the front, called “Production Notes”. In this section you will find the names of the typefaces used in the magazine. (All magazines do not necessarily provide this section.) Production notes, if available may help you figure out the typeface, etc. that was used originally.

Step 4
Repeat this same procedure for all of the various categories or groups of text that you magazine uses in its House Style. (folio info, headings, subheadings, captions, etc.). Create Paragraph Styles for each of them.

Step 5
Create additional paragraph styles for headings, subheadings, pull quotes, captions, etc. Apply these paragraph styles to your article (the story you have written or found from another source).


  • Create an InDesign document containing 4 pages . Check Facing Pages.
  • Use pages 2-3 (the two-page spread)
  • Create appropriate columns and margins according to your magazine’s house style
  • enter or paste the text (story/content) of your choice
  • Include at least one image from an artwork created by you (Photoshop or Illustrator file)
  • Use the image symbolically not literally (see above)
  • Unify all page elements by using a baseline grid, document grid and column grid (this is also determined by the house style)



  • Apply Paragraph and Character Styles to typographic elements
  • Create Master page elements, including folio information (start page numbering on any odd number other than 1.

Of prime importance is your attention to the presentation of the typography with ease of readability and appropriateness as your ultimate goal.

Refer to the resources covering Typographic Variables, Choosing typefaces, Letterform.

You will not be printing out a final version of this assignment.  (although you must do a proof print to paper to proofread and copy edit before creating the final packaged PDF). Instead turn the final version in to me through Dropbox. (watch your email for a message from me inviting you to join the specific Dropbox folder for their assignment. Also, If you do not currently have DropBox on your computer you will be prompted to download the free app). 

You will add 3 files to the Dropbox folder;

  1. Packaged PDF of your layout, which will also include the inDesign file report  After generating the packaged file, compress or zip the folder. Place this zip file in Dropbox. (If you do not know how to compress or “zip” please refer to the resource link at the top of the page).
  2. Photo or scanned image from the magazine you used showing the house style
  3. Photo of your layout pages inserted into the magazine. (This should look as if your article/layout was actually printed in the real magazine itself.) Is,ilar to how you photographed the tech drawing assignment)

Please title your files with a title that includes your name.

Plan your time wisely, utilize keyboard shortcuts/hotkeys, use styles and master pages, match the correct program to the given design task.

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