Lady Erudition

Reflections of an aspiring Marketing Professional

Magazine Cover Project


Description: Create a magazine cover that showcases a self-portrait and articles that tell about yourself.

Process: I wanted to create a cover that would reflect my goals for the near future and my motivation for the things I’m doing. Success magazine is real, and is all about becoming who and what you want to be. I looked at several of their covers and used them to guide my design decisions. The image shown here is MUCH brighter, especially the purples, than the printed copy! This is caused by compression in WordPress, and differing RGB specifications.

1. First, I made some quick sketches of what the cover might look like. I already knew what photo I wanted to use, so I was focusing mostly on the layout of the headlines.

2. Next, I created a shape map, with the colors I intended to use for the text.

3. I played with the title and photo in InDesign to help me decide if I wanted the title in front of or behind the photo.

shape-map4. Next, I started working on removing the background from the photo. I have done this several times before, so I wasn’t too worried about it. Photoshop had changed! Either that, or I forgot a lot. The photo I wanted to use is from a photo shoot my husband and I had done in a studio just before Christmas. I had a CD of “Hi-Res” images. When I downloaded the photos, I was horrified to see that they were only 72 ppi! There was one set that was 300, so I used one of those. As I was working, I realized that the image had already been cut out of green screen by the studio’s software, and badly. By then, I only had a couple of hours to do the project, so I did the best I could, but it was pretty choppy. For the final, I used one of the 72 ppi shots, opened it in Photoshop and saved it at 300 ppi. It gave me enough detail to do a better job with the “select and mask” process, and seems to be okay quality.

5. In InDesign, I started with the title, and tag line. By adjusting the font size, kerning, and width of individual letters, I was able to make it fit just right, while approximating the look of the actual magazine. I inserted my Photoshop image file, and adjusted the size and position. I added a drop shadow in purple to help add depth and a little color to the layout.

6. The barcode is placed the way Success magazine always does it, on the far lower-left corner. The date is Sept. 2018, because by then I should have graduated and launched my new career. Success doesn’t post issue numbers, but I added it to comply with instructions.

7. The title font, and one sub-headline are in Baskerville MT Pro Semi-Bold, and Semi-Bold Italic. All the other text is from the Neue Hass Grotesk Display Pro family. I think I used each version somewhere. I used the eyedropper to match the purple text to the color in my blouse. I added drop shadows to some of the text to add dimension, and especially to help the white text show up on the skin.

8. I adjusted the arrangement of the headlines several times, using kerning, font size, and leading adjustments to get it right. In some places, I placed text in separate text boxes to enable me to place it exactly where I wanted it.

9. The banner headline at the very top is on a green background. The color was derived from the color picker.

10. The stories my headlines represent are all about the reasons I went back to school. When my children grew up, I wanted to have a career, so I started working to reinvent myself. Persistence plays an important role in these changes.

The headline “Kristine Hill   the Grandmother who is rocking web design” is about me and other grandparents who are daring to plunge into a world dominated by younger, cooler people. My grandson’s will think I’m awesome when they’re a little older!

The top headline is also about changing. I have three websites all dedicated to overcoming, and transforming health. The prospect of competing with younger, healthier people motivates me to improve my own health.

One of my dreams for my career is to help small businesses use low-cost promotion techniques such as social media, and other online resources to establish their brand and become profitable.

Critique Process: I met with my daughter Shannon Sanderson via Hangouts for a critique. She has taken Comm 130, and did a similar project a few years ago. Shannon helped me adjust the text placement and leading, and do some fine adjustments with the title. At her suggestion, I moved the left headline down so it didn’t line up with my glasses in the photo, and so the black text fit into the notch between should and hair. I moved the Reinventing headline up to sit over my hair, somewhat echoing the hair line and framing the face.

I critiqued Audrey Finlayson Spjut and Erin Smith on the Facebook Group. Brother Stucki’s critique was very helpful. He noticed the bad clipping job on the photo right off and suggested I fix it. He also pointed out some margin and bleed problems which I had overlooked. Watching his critique of several other helped me learn a lot about expectations, and good design in general.

Message: Even grandma’s can learn new, useful skills and accomplish hard goals.

Audience: Success magazine readers (Achievers, according to the tag line!), and people who are thinking about doing something different with their lives.

Top thing I learned: How to use different versions of the same fonts, color, size, leading, and kerning to add empahsis, hierarchy, focus. Also, I learned the latest technique for “Select and Mask” for Photoshop CC.

Color Scheme and names: Triadic//Purple, Green and Gold (in the photo).

Fonts: Title and copy – Baskerville MT Pro Semi-Bold, and Semi-Bold Italic; Old-Style

All other copy – Neue Hass Grotesk Display Pro Roman, Italic, Med, Med-Italic, Bold, and Black; Sans Serif

Unedited Images Used in the Project:


Image Source: I own the copyright to this image. Here is a link to the image:



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8 thoughts on “Magazine Cover Project

  1. I really like your project, I can say that your magazine cover looks very professional. I would definately will be interested if I would see it on a shelf in a store. Great logo, very motivating headlines. Also i really like how you explain all your process of creating your magazine cover, very detailed. Great work!


  2. Hi Kristine,
    I really liked your post, especially the colors you chose. The green stripe on the top looks excellent. It is a very good magazine cover and it looks very legit. I like your message about how anyone can achieve their goals. It was great getting to know you better. I look forward to working with you this semester.
    Classmates Blog:
    My Blog:


  3. I love the way your cover turned out! You have some of the same motivations for your magazine contents as I do. It’s only our first project and I’m already feeling myself grow as a designer, and not just with the Adobe programs!

    I love the depth you created with the subtle drop shadows. They add a lot of dimension without being very noticeable on their own.

    Isn’t it interesting how different print vs screen look?

    Here’s a link to my magazine cover post:

    Here’s a link to Marci’s magazine cover post as well:


  4. Sierra Paulson on said:

    First off, I just want to say that your cover is awesome. It’s simple, but it feels complete. I love how you put the title behind your head, it really adds dimension to the magazine. All your titles are easy to read, which is actually a hard thing to do. All the colors in the image really bring it together, and make the magazine actually look like a real cover. Here’s an awesome blog: And here is mine. I used the mulligan, so you’ll see it after midnight. 🙂


  5. You’ve done a great job. I really like the colors you used for this project. Did you take the purple color from your clothes? It works really well. I also like how you placed your portrait over the top of your title a little. I didn’t do that on mine, but I feel like it is something I should have done. It looks good.

    My Blog:

    Classmates Blog:


  6. Lady, great job with your cover! It looks like a professional cover and it is such an attractive page to look at. I liked the color scheme that you used and how it works with all of the typefaces and everything. It looks great and the alignment works really well with what you did.

    Here is my blog:
    Here is Seth’s blog :


  7. By the way, this is a link to my blog, but you already know)))
    and a link to a classmate’s blog


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