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UFO Believer Magazine

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steven8:
I am one who believes that some Unidentified Flying Objects may actually originate from other planets, and I have heard every possible argument against the idea and heard every possibly belittlement of the idea ad-infinitum.  So...I decided to create a magazine for those of us who believe the same thing.  Not for debate, but just to talk about a common belief.  I chose Scribus to create this magazine because I think Scribus is a fantastic piece of software created for all the right reasons.

Below is a link to my website where you can download the first PDF or read online, which is not as good, to be honest, as I have not figured out how to show double page spreads that way.  There are also some links to interesting websites.  Let me know what you think.

http://www.freewebs.com/stevenrf/

utnik:
hi steven

i didn't read the magazine – just took a look at it:

* you should work on a consistent layout
* the cover looks like a wild collection of independent elements (way too many font faces) and a pattern independent colors and element placements.
* the inside contains four different standard layouts (out of five double pages…)
* less is sometimes more! – i would really prefer a recognizable style running through the whole magazine.utnik

GarryP:
I agree with utnik. There's probably too much going on with different layouts, fonts and styles.

Better to keep it simple; it usually makes things look nicer. Look at any paid-for magazine and they generally use a small set of guidelines to drive their output.

One extra comment about the cover: It's not very inviting as I feel like it's shouting at me. It's a bit like looking at a street protest where everyone has their own differently coloured and written banners.

An image search for "air & space magazine cover" will show you some good examples of magazine covers that might fit well here. One big image to hook the reader and a few bits of text to draw them further in.

One suggestion would be to get permission to use something like this picture http://www.deviantart.com/art/Die-Glocke-The-Bell-121651192 for the cover, crop it down a bit so the bell is near the bottom-centre, then put a more simplified logotype at the top with some featured text down one or more sides, probably in plain white.

Start with something basic like that and build it up if you need to but only if you need to. If something doesn't pull its weight don't keep it in.

steven8:
All very good points and I appreciate you taking the time to critique my work.  As for the cover, however, on this particular issue, it was exactly what I was looking to achieve.  I have gone totally conservative on future covers.  I am at work right now, so I do not have access to images.

As to the inside layouts, it may be down to the fact that my design education was not only horribly incomplete, but I have not used it in over 30 years.  That being said, I did independent studying on line to get a feel for proper magazine layout techniques and so forth.  Looking at grid structures, etc.  And there was no one way to do it, is what I came up with at every place I turned.

At magazinedesigning.com I found this:

Columns are essential tools to standardize your layout. They will help you in getting order and structure of your magazine, but do resist to imprison your thinking into standard format because rigidity dulls the creativity. To avoid that trap you can play with column width and shapes. You should treat each story as a separate unit and mix the number of columns in each story. One story can be laid out on a two column grid while the other can be laid out in three, four or more column grid.

So, I decided to let each article 'feel' right to me as I laid it out.  It may not be industry, but each one felt right for what it was to me.  This is only a for fun project and not actually intended for print.  I'm just having a good time with Scribus.

GarryP:
If the result you got for the cover was what you wanted then I have no complaints at all. It's your magazine and I'm not in the position of being able to say anything is wrong.

magazinedesigning.com is a good place to look for articles and inspiration. It's well written and has interesting things to say that anyone looking at making their own magazine should have a look at it. Sometimes the advice can be conflicting but that's just the nature of something as diverse as publishing.

I totally agree with the quote about not restricting yourself to rigid layouts. I've lost count of the number of times I've read a newsletter (or similar) and seen the last three or four words of a paragraph orphaned off to an otherwise blank column just because the designer didn't bother, for instance, changing the column widths. A tiny tweak of a column width can put things right without the reader even noticing there's something different.

As for the use of different layouts then, again, if that's what you wanted then it's not for me to say otherwise.

If you'd allow me to give some specific advice I'd like to offer some minor changes that I think might help with future issues (I'll concentrate on the page 7/8 article):

1. Look for words that are by themselves and try and put them back together with their "parent" sentence. For instance, at the bottom of the first column on page 7 there's the word "On" all alone when it should be with the "October 23..." sentence. Try using a non-breaking space to keep the words together. ("Chupa-chupas" on page 8 is another example, but the other way round.)

2. Look for single lines of text and try and put them back together with their "parent" paragraph. For instance, the line at the bottom of page 7 column 2 "Over a period..." would look much better if it was with the rest of the paragraph on page 8. Try using a column/frame break to fix this.

3. Try and keep the top and bottom of image frames aligned with the corresponding top and bottoms of the text. That doesn't quite sound right but it's difficult to explain. By way of an example, look at the bottom-left image on page 7. The top-right corner of the image goes across a paragraph break and looks a bit awkward. If the top of the image was moved down a bit so that it matched the top of the "F" in "From" it would look neater. There's no golden rule on this so try different things and see what looks best. Maybe moving the image (or both images) up the page so it's more vertically centered would make a big difference?

4. Try and make sure that the padding around image frames - ones where the image fills the frame - is uniform on all sides. For example on page 7 there's a bigger gap between the image and the text above the image than there is at the right-hand side. Uniform padding normally looks nicer.

5. Try and make the gaps between columns a little bigger. At the moment you've got it at around the same width as a capital "M" but it would look better being at least two "M"s. This goes for the inside margin also (the text on the two pages is too close).

If you've tried to do all of this you might find that the text doesn't fit onto the pages anymore. In that case you can try slightly tweaking the font size, baseline grid, or using hyphenation to get it to fit.

Then, if there's still stuff wrong, you can look at editing the text slightly and see if some small changes make a big difference. Also, try using manual line breaks to see if you can get it looking better, automatic line breaks are not always in the best place.

All in all, good page design comes down to getting the overall look right and then a whole lot of minor tweaks to make it all look really good.

My second-best bit of advice would be to keep practising. Professional magazines look that good because the people working on them have had years - or even decades - of experience, and you can't get that overnight.

And (I think) my best bit of advice is to keep having fun experimenting with the software and see what you can make. If you're enjoying using it then you're likely to uncover more features which will come in useful.

I'm looking forward to seeing the next issue.

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