Magazine Cover Experiment

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I've been messing around with this for a few hours today and I'm not really getting where I want to go - wherever I thought that might be! - so I thought I'd "put it out to the wolves" and see what comments, criticisms, suggestions or whatever else people can come up with.

I'm not happy with a lot of things, including (but not confined to): Font selection; Text colours; Image selection; The whole bottom-half of the page (if I'm honest).

Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I'm in no way suggesting that this will ever become a "real thing". That wouldn't be up to me anyway. It's just me having a play around with an idea and seeing what comes out is all.

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This was a hard one... I can agree it looks a bit strange, but it's hard to pinpoint specific issues.

Could you post one with a neutral (maybe gray or black) background instead of the image? Because I think it may be a matter of "mismatch" between the image and the other content.

How many fonts have you used? I get a little bit of the feeling that there are to many font variants.

2015 looks way to weird, kerning please! :) It's probably because the font has monospaced figures?

The two yellow texts half way down, to me the right one looks as a larger size... it's proably an illusion, but why? Because of different number of lines? Or because of background image color?

Move "100% Unofficial" closer to "us"? Or is it in line with the b ascender?

I think Issue #1 should be in line with the edgeds of the barcode in some way, now they look centered to eachother.

Could you maybe post an image with guides visible?


Thanks for getting in touch Nermander.

I've only used two fonts but you're right, I've used a lot of variants. Probably too many as you say. I'll look at cutting them down a bit.

I didn't notice the problem with the 2015. That needs to be fixed (if I keep that bit of text).

For the yellow text I might have used a slightly different size or leading. Each was done at a different time and it's quite possible I used different values. Needs to be looked at.

You're right that the 100% text needs to be moved, and that the barcode and Issue # need to be aligned better.

I didn't use any guides, it's all by eye (with the alignment tools).

I've also had some great feedback from a Google+ post on the same thing so I've been making quite a few other changes.

I'll post the updated - and quite different - version when it's ready.

Thanks again.


Variation on a theme.

After some great feedback about my last cover post - both here and on Google+ - I've made some changes:
* The main image has been changed to something less "gloomy".
* The header has been tidied up and uncluttered a bit.
* Two bullet points have been converted to headlines.
* "OPEN AND FREE" has been removed. It didn't add anything to the page.
* A new "issue theme" title graphic - the guitar - has been added.
* Images at the bottom have been removed and the base of the page has been colour-inverted.
* The bottom text has been re-arranged to give better balance.
* A little "badge" has been added to give the bottom of the page a bit more interest.
* Various alignment issues have been addressed.
* Some drop shadow issues have been fixed.
* The pointless barcode has been removed.

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed. It's all been very useful and I'm grateful for the assistance.

Again, if you think anything on this version needs changing then I'd be happy to read your thoughts but I'm not sure if I'll be taking this any further. It was just an experiment after all.

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I think that not using guides may have been a major source to earlier "problems", I think the "geometry" of a front page matters a lot on how it "feels". The problem is to decide on how many guides to use:)

I would start with two side margin guides (avoid content outside those).

Then a few horizontal guides splitting off sections like: "content above title", "title", "subtitle" and "footer content".

Finally a few vertical guides splitting the page into 2, 3 or maybe 4 "columns". Now not all cells will use all guides, but those guides will give you a geometry to follow.

I took the liberty to draw some guides based on the content for your two versions.

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I've used guides for years but lately I've been getting along without them.

I feel that they can stifle creativity sometimes, especially when I've found myself trying to fit things into the guides rather than designing round the actual content.

Obviously there are times when guides are very useful but sometimes I feel "forced" into certain decisions that I don't want to make just because the guides are there.

I know they're just "guides" rather than "rules" but if you don't go along with the guides then why use them at all? (Having said that, generally I would advise using guides.)

This is all a personal choice however; horses for courses, as they say.


There are quite a few rules like the golden ratio, rule of thirds etc that are easy to follow by using guides. But that does not mean all content has to be aligned with the guides, just the major "lines" in the "image".

So there are different reasons to use guides. Some are to help giving the page balance, others are to align content and there may be other reasons too.

As with most typographic and design rules, you just need to know when to break them:)


Hi Gary,

I really like these magazine covers. While they may need a tweak here and there they are very nice and I feel that a Scribus magazine cover template is much needed and perhaps could be put on for example.

I did do a gamer magazine magazine cover once I copied the template from an InDesign template and I ask the author if they were ok with me dong this and they were fine as I wasn't redistributing it and if I did I would have given them the credit for it. I was amazed that I could pretty closely match the design in Scribus.

Keep up the great work. :)
Kind regards,



Hi Michael.

I'm glad you like the covers. If they were for a real commission then they'd need some proper tweaking - as you say - to make sure everything was just right but as they're only experimental I'm fairly happy with them.

As for templates, I don't use them myself. If I need a variant of something I've already made I just make a copy of the existing document and edit the copy. Also, in the specific case of the covers here, so many things would have to be manually changed for a new purpose that a template simply wouldn't be plausible.

For instance, the title text had to be converted to outlines and each letter manually moved around to get it looking as I wanted it. This sort of thing can't be achieved as part of a template.

Something like a magazine cover is so specific to the individual publication that I can't see a template being much use. So much stuff would have to be manually changed to make the cover unique to that publication that hardly anything of the template would remain.

Having said that though, once the tools in Scribus get more sophisticated - so that "excursions" to Inkscape and GIMP aren't necessary - then I could see it being more of a possibility. Fingers crossed for the future.


Currently learning scribus, as open source is the way to go I think, but am looking around for some good templates.
Wondered if anyone could share with me a copy of the magazine cover template?  I really like the look of it, and wanted to have a go at tinkering with it to help me master scribus a bit more.