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 layout for an article that would appear in a real magazine of your choice. Your layout must match that magazine’s layout or house style, exactly (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

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, you may choose to also create an advertisement design for page 4).

Step 2
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.) You are 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.)

Step 3
Once you have accurately matched the typographic treatment (typeface, leading, line length, folio, etc.) of this main text, create a paragraph style based on it and name it “Body Text”.

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
Apply these paragraph styles to your article (the story you have written or found from another source).


  • Create a minimum of 3 pages (a title page + a two-page spread) Open a new InDesign doc with the facing pages option selected.
  • Use text (story/content) of your choice. You may write this yourself or you may copy this content from an article written by someone else.
  • 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


  • 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.)

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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