How to format an article for magazine design
Formatting an article for magazine design is very different from formatting an article for blog posts or other digital outlets. Magazine design includes multiple elements, all of which will contribute to making your magazine look like a more professional publication. In this post, we’ll show you exactly how to format an article for magazine design, with reference to the style-guide we send our clients.
As a general rule, an A4 magazine page holds around 400-500 words of body text. Ordinarily (though not always) it’s easier to stretch a word-count than to compress it, so if you have a 600-700 word article, it will usually be a better fit over 2 pages than squeezed onto 1.
The title is arguably the most important part of your article. Too long and you may well run into design issues; too short and you may fail to encapsulate the article. We recommend titles fall between 20-55 characters.
The subtitle is a great opportunity to give your audience a more detailed idea of what to expect from your article. In general, subtitles should not exceed a sentence length (approx. 50-100 characters).
This element serves as a summative or context-providing paragraph(s) that should both entice the reader and give them an idea of what to expect from the article.
Using indentations instead of page-breaks to separate your paragraphs makes everyone happier. It’s easier for the reader and, if you’re using a designer, they’ll be grateful for them too.
Use headings within articles to break up walls of text. These should be inserted to introduce new subjects or discussion points in the article.
When using tables, graphs or other reference elements, ensure these elements are clearly numbered (e.g. Figure 1, Graph 2, Image 3) to make referrals as reader-friendly as possible.
Provide relevant imagery to support the text. The minimum number of images we’d expect is one image per page (or one image per 400-500 words), but the more we have the better. Don’t forget to include captions for images where applicable.
This 2-3 word summary of the article is usually posted at the top of every page on which your article appears. If your article stretches across multiple pages, it’ll help readers to keep track of it.
These are summative, compelling quotes pulled from the article which will serve as graphic elements to punctuate walls of text. A good rule of thumb is 2 per page, or 1 every 200-250 words. Pull quotes should be between 30-100 characters.
Where necessary, an outro is an opportunity to refer an audience to further information about the article’s subject, enforce a CTA or provide some additional details about the writer. It needn’t be longer than a sentence.