Mind the Gap. You might be familiar with hearing that phrase when getting on the tube on your local commute. For me its a phrase I like to keep in mind when designing magazines and brochures. By minding the gap, content has the chance to breath and not be suffocated by its surroundings, come to think of it the mind the gap magazine design principle applies to another aspect of taking the tube you may also be familiar with…

Magazine and Brochure Design Advice

Here’s the five MIND THE GAP magazine design principles I like to stick to on every project

Margins – Magazine Design Tips

When approaching a magazine design project it’s easy to see a page like a canvas. How can I fill it and make it fun. That approach whilst exciting is the opposite of what makes for a great magazine reading experience.

Unlike a canvas, that can be admired from afar or close up a magazine page requires a different type of interaction. The reader wants to navigate leisurely through each page rather being overwhelmed by a mass of content.

This is where margins come in handy, they frame your content giving it space to breath. Creating a sense of importance to what is in between them:

Margins in magazine design
Make a molehill out of you magazine margins

Magazine margins, provide a structure by which each page conforms to which enforces professional uniformity. When dealing with construction magazines and brochures this is important as it keeps readers focused on the product, service or case study.

When I design magazines and brochures, I adopt a 20mm margin. It’s a width which looks good in digital and print and provides plenty of space to contain the content within.

It’s bad when you see type going all the way or very close up to the edge of a page, or even worse there is a lack of uniformity from one page to the next. There’s no care, no balance and no matter how great the content is your readers may be disengaged before they have gone any further.

Image Spacing – Magazine Design Ideas

We have some great images for this product, person or project lets just throw those into the page

I’m not a fan of throwing, I prefer to thoughtfully place images in optimum places that illuminate the magazine experience.

Photos and images should say something about the text content and bring the page to life. So instead of simply focusing on it being included, focus on how best it can be used to add to the overall value of the article, product or service.

Utilise Your Images to Best Effect 

  • You might want to to be fancy and overlay text on the image, great for when an image has a lot of space like a sky or a wall around it or you want quote a specific section of the main text for emphasis:
    Magazine design advice image spacing
  • Space images consistently. If you are displaying images in a horizontal row make sure the spacing in between is the same and there is an equal distance between any surrounding text.
    Spacing images magazine design tips
  • Showing the whole image isn’t always the best option. Create a half page image frame for a high resolution image, then resize the image within to create an even more engaging experience for the reader:
    Using images in you magazine design

Text and line Spacing – Magazine Design Advice

When it comes to magazine design advice, other than the choice of font being suitable you might not consider the text to be that important.

But the truth is the text plays a major role in the the look of the design, as well as being there for your audience to read. So don’t devalue the importance of getting the text to look visually attractive. Placement and line spacing is a significant step towards the overall appearance.

Unlike the margins, the more space the better isn’t always the best option. It may look good on a screen but when you go to print it can look amateurish.

My preference is to go for line spacing that is 2pts above the text size. In Construction Marketer I adopt a 10pt type face with a 12pt line spacing.

Text spacing should always remain consistent, but there is greater margin for error as a couple of point changes can improve the overall look of the text.

Use it to avoid having a single word creating another line below, or if a word spills into the next. Just don’t sacrifice the readability or appearance of the page, in those instances an overhanging word or extra line is the better option.

Column Spacing

Column spacing represents another opportunity for you to frame your content and you can decide how much and how often it gets to breath by selecting the number of columns on each page.

As with the previous spacing options, columns create a sense of uniformity and professionalism and for this reason are one of the best magazine design tips I can offer.

Alternating between the number of columns can give a real sense of freshness to a magazine or brochure. Sticking to the same number of columns can become boring for the reader, so mix it up between 1, 2 and 3 and see what looks best for your specific content.

My personal favourites are the 1 column of text with a supporting image and 3 columns, but 2 columns works particularly well underneath a main header and a full width introduction:

Indesign automatically makes the column spacing even, you can adjust it for each but for the sake of consistency and uniformity, it’s safer to stick to one size. Column spacing shouldn’t be as wide as your margins but enough to allow your text and images to stand out between them.

The Finished Article (Or Magazine)

A lot more goes into the overall magazine and brochure design but this design advice offers a good principle to stick to. Take a look at the magazine below in full to see how space has been used to best effect:

Mapping Out – Magazine Design Advice

The Mind the Gap principle of magazine design is not rocket science, it’s simple yet understated.

For the unfamiliar eye a magazine or a brochure exists for a simple purpose to inform, educate or sell. However, if the design is sloppy or second rate your team will be the first to let you know it’s not up to standard.

That’s where mapping out and minding the gap is essential magazine design advice for anyone looking to produce their own or getting people on board to showcase their products, services or case studies.

If you need help with your magazine or brochure design contact me today.

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