Designing magazine covers can be one of the most fun and challenging print design projects out there. Covers are so visible; it’s something everyone who sees the magazine will definitely see. The same goes for designing covers for brochures, catalogs, or other print pieces.
The tutorial here will show you the basics of creating a cover for a fictitious free travel magazine. It’s meant to be a technical tutorial more than a design tutorial, but the finished product is serviceable and of professional quality. Take what you learn here about print layout and Adobe InDesign and apply it to your own projects. The basic techniques can even be applied to something like a full-page display ad.
Here’s the final cover we’ll be creating:
Finalcroppedcover in Print Tutorial: Creating A Magazine Cover
Before You Begin
Like website design, there are certain things you need to know before designing any kind of print layout. While not complicated, there are many things that we rarely take into consideration when designing a website that are vital to the success of a print project. Key among these is image quality and margins (including bleeds).
When choosing images for a print layout (or when provided with images), you have to make sure they’re both sharp enough and have a high enough resolution. What looks great onscreen may be blurry or pixelated when printed on an offset printer (or even an inkjet). Any images used in a print layout need to be at least 300 dpi in order to look good. Any lower than that and they run the risk of being blurry or pixelated.
When resizing images for print layouts, remember to turn off resampling in your Photoshop settings (or whatever program you’re using to resize them). With very high quality images, you can sometimes get away with using images that are slightly lower resolution (as low as 250dpi at times), but check with your printer to see what they recommend based on your paper and other choices.