Cereal, which I am going to analyse its cover design, is a magazine about travel and lifestyle. This is my favourite magazine, as it is differentiated from other travel magazines by describing variable famous tourist places in a really moderate zen style. Its unique way to see the world inspires me a lot and I am also fascinated by its relaxing, peaceful and somewhat graceful vibes. Mostly they come from its pictures, but I also enjoyed the editorial design, and am sure that not only the pictures but also other design elements and structures contribute to the atmosphere.
I analysed the design by comparing its recent three issues’ covers that I can get on its website.
The picture below is this magazine’s general grid system that I assume.
First of all, the cover is vertically divided into half and they are text and image areas, respectively. Each area has its own grid system.
The text area has 4×5 grid blocks and each row is divided into three sub-rows again. In above picture, the magenta lines mean the main grids and the pink lines are the sub-grids. All titles and lists are center-aligned so a paragraph cannot be necessarily aligned to the vertical lines depending on its length, but the title fits into two blocks in lengthwise. Also, it is middle-aligned to the first horizontal sub-grid line. The subtitle is middle-aligned to one of the sub-grid line as well, whereas the contents list is bottom-aligned. Furthermore, a line between the subtitle and the contents list is exactly positioned on the main grid line.
On the other hand, the image area can be regarded to have 6×6 grid blocks, although its contents seem to have more freedom. The main objects in the pictures tend to be located in a row. The vertical lines of the subjects roughly fit to the grid lines in general.
Overall, the grid system of this magazine’s covers is very symmetric and it is hard to find an exceptional or adventurous arrangement on it. In other words, it has a conservative and classical layout system.
Next, look at the color composition. I have extracted the main colours from those same cover images above including the photos on them.
Low-saturated and misty tone colors are mainly used. The highest saturation is 64% (the reddish fourth color from the left) and the others are all lower than 50%. They make the calm and dreamlike feeling. The covers also look bright in general because the colors that have high brightness take much larger areas.
The information hierarchy in the covers are well structured and easy to understand.
I think the title and the photo should be in the highest degree, level 1, as they are the most eye-catching because of their sizes and colors. Then, the subtitle is the next element that attract attention for its size and style and the contents list is in the lowest level.
There are two main typefaces used in this magazine. One is for the title, cereal, and the other is for the rest of the texts. Unfortunately, it was impossible to figure out what font the title is. It might be a unique font newly designed by this magazine’s publisher as this title is also their logo. Therefore I am going to discuss about it only based on its style. To get the other font type, I referred the magazine’s website and was able to identify the mainly used font there, which looks very similar to the fonts on the cover: Chronicle Text Grade 1
The title font is san serif. Moreover, its letters are condensed and the spaces between two letters are wide. So this font overall feels simple, modern and urban.
While the other font, Chronicle Text Grade 1, is serif and which gives you the classy mood. Although the subtitle and the contents list are written in the same font, their styles are a bit different. With the italic style and the particularly curly ‘&’ character, the subtitle looks more decorative and elegant. The designers might have intended the feelings like luxury resorts or hotels.
I read some of the magazine founders’ interview articles to find out what the philosophy on their magazine really is. According to the interviews, they try to focus on some essential spots in uncluttered, calm and modern manners when they introduce a city or a country. They also want readers to emotionally connect with them. I think this attitude is shown very well throughout the whole magazine. You can notice that the design principles that I mentioned so far are all applied to every parts of the magazine coherently even when you just flip through the pages: simple contents with restrained adverts, lots of negative space and muted tones. In this point of view the design of the Cereal magazine is successful to deliver their intention and spirit.