Assignment 3 – VIS 15

Assignment 3

  • 1.       Take the list of magazine categories below, to your local newsagent.
  • 2.       Select three contrasting magazines that appeal to you from the list of categories below. Each magazine should be from a different category. You may wish to select one from a field you have a long-term interest or you might want to select from fields you know nothing about. The choice is up to you.
  • 3.       Scan one page from each magazine (3 in total) that has an interesting juxtaposition of text and image.
  • 4.       Analysis the pages you have scanned in terms of the relationship between the text and the image or images on the page. Aspects to consider are font and image size, colour and location on page.


Magazines use photography in a variety of ways to entertain, inform and advertise. How they use those photographs, in relation to size, position and text layout can influence how we perceive the page in its entirety.
I have chosen to highlight an advertisement from the music magazine, Rolling Stone; a standard page from American Photo Magazine and the cover of Architectural Record. Each of these pages utilise text and images in different ways to project their ideas onto the audience.

HBO Advertisement, Rolling Stone Magazine, September 2010, pg 79

HBO Advertisement, Rolling Stone Magazine, September 2010, pg 79

This advertisement from HBO uses a highly stylised photographed that has been digitally enhanced and altered to add impact. The use of the black background forces the text to have more impact, particularly noticeable with the title. The photo itself using lighting to create atmosphere and mystery, and the entire page imitates a film poster, even though it is advertising a television show.

The page starts with a triangular form of text, created by the wide top lines leading down to narrower phrases. Notice that “Atlantic City”, and the date are the same width as the sentence below it, but stand out due to the coloured text. This continues with the triangular theme which forces the eye downwards to the apex where it rests on the large title, and onward to the image. Finally the eye scans the finer print below the photo.

By using the triangular formation, the image is creating leading lines that stop abruptly when they reach the series title, which is highlighted and more prominent due to the colours of the photo both beneath and below it. The massive amounts of black are contrary to the over saturation in the photo and makes the page seem more alive, with more movement and mystique.

I believe this is a clever use of advertising to get the most important details to readers first – the name of the television show – followed immediately by the photo which informs you of the concept and atmosphere of the series. Once captured, the reader is invited to read further and this showcases skilful use of marketing.

Parting Shot Page, American Photo Magazine, Sep-Oct 2010, pg 84

Parting Shot Page, American Photo Magazine, Sep-Oct 2010, pg 84

This page appears toward the end of the American Photo Magazine, and seems to represent the general nature of this type of publication – showcase the image first and foremost. Unlike other magazines, where the text is the reason for purchase, this magazine focuses on photos and photographers and tends to allow more space to highlight photographs.

In this instance, the page uses several techniques to convey to the viewer that this page and its photo are a singular entity – there is no indication of a continuing story on following pages, or that further information will be available except what is found on this page. The narrowness of font for the title “Cattle Call” matches that of the page number, and contrasts with the bolder page title “Parting Shot” and this typeface is echoed in the magazine title and edition information provided in the bottom left.

This page has a lot of balance – from the use of white space below the image, to the matching square-edged brackets above and below the image/description, plus the bracket near the page title. The description is italicised to show it is entirely different from the rest of the page and gives it less impact than the image itself – the page is saying “Look at the image here: that’s the most important part to see.”

Cover, Architectural Record, August 2010

Cover, Architectural Record, August 2010

This cover of Architectural Record really captivated me. The image of the Burj Khalifa, (which recently completed construction in Dubai) is dramatic and imposing. Unlike most magazine covers which saturate their front pages with text to entice the reader, this edition uses plenty of negative space to add impact and stimulation. This minimalist look works very well with the tall slender nature of the building and the capital letters of their headlines. The cover is only highlighting two of its major stories in the magazines, and while there is further text on the far left of the page, it does not draw attention or detract from the cover in any way.

It appears the kerning of the fonts has been widened to enhance the sense of wideness that is borne from the image itself and by using different hues of blue, the text both blends and emphasises itself on the page. The use of blue also mimics the blue in the swimming pools around the building. The bolded words indicate that the two stories (one on Dubai and one on Las Vegas) are both part of a larger conceptual study of Sand Castles (enormous projects built in sandy locations).

The use of white for the title is a departure from the usual cover for Architectural Record and I believe this has been done to again showcase the photograph – with the spire of the top of the building piercing between the letters and forming a natural border for the second line of text.

All in all, this magazine cover delivers eye-candy that is both pleasing and effective.

Bibliography (2010). Magazines Download – All in PDF  Retrieved 13 September 2010, from


One thought on “Assignment 3 – VIS 15

  1. Here’s my score! 9.5/10
    and the comments:

    Hi December,
    Despite the fact instructions were confusing for you, you offer a down to the point analysis, with a rich combination of formal and conceptual observations.
    In the first example, another thing to note is how Atlantic city in yellow picks up on the warm light glowing from the actual city landscape in the photo.
    Look forward to your photos in Activity 4!
    Excellent job,

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