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Practical points for producing perfect publications
Part 4 - Images and layout

December 2018

Photographs, illustrations and infographics

Magazines are a visual medium. Great images will bring your publications to life, keep your readers interested and add depth to your articles.

  • Search for free commercially licensed images with Creative Commons online.
  • Find out if you need to credit the image.
  • Purchase stock images (photography and illustration) from a stock library such as Adobe Stock or
  • There are also a number of free stock libraries – check to see if you need to credit the photographer. Have a look at and

Image library search engines make it easy to find the right images; you can search by subject, colour, orientation (portrait or landscape), illustration or photograph.

Alternatively, commission a photographer, illustrator or artist to produce a custom image or infographic. Work closely with the artist and take some time to plan the layout before commissioning the image so that it works with the overall design.

If you’re using a model in a photograph make sure you get a signed model release form with permission to use the images.



















Illustration from The Magdalen magazine, University of Dundee


Page layouts and margins

Margins contribute to the effect of the overall design and may determine the amount of white or clear space on the page. They have several functions. Visually they provide a buffer zone keeping the text and graphics from “falling off the page”.

Practically, they leave space for the reader to hold the publication without obscuring the text with their fingers. Depending on how your magazine is bound, you will have to leave enough space for the inner margin or gutter where content may be obscured.

Consider what page furniture you might have in your margins when determining the size.

For example, section headers, folios and credits (Read part 2 about page furniture).
Also, consider your optimal column width and number of columns as discussed in Part 3
of our blog.










The first example has margin proportions of 2:3:4:6. The inner margin is 2 units, top margin is 3 units, outer 4, and bottom 6. This is a very elegant and extravagant margin set up.
In reality few magazines can afford to use this amount of space for their margins. It is, however, very common for book design.

The second example shows a fairly common margin set up for magazines.


Magazine spreads

When designing magazine spreads remember that often they are two pages that will work together to form one article. Our peripheral vision encompasses the entire spread at normal viewing distance.

When you skim through a magazine you will notice the top right and left corners first. This is where you should put the most important content and the most provocative images and words where they will make the biggest impact. On the other hand, the bottom part of the spread and inner corners near the gutter are less visible. You might want to put footnotes and credits here.


Resources – learn more…

So you want to publish a magazine – Angharad Lewis

Magazine Designs That Work, Stacey King

Making and breaking the grid, Timothy Samara


We’d love to help you with your magazine, in-house newsletter or publication.
Please get in touch to arrange a meeting with our knowledgeable designers.



Call us now on 01382 201171

Blog Topics


Practical points for producing perfect publications
Part 1 - Cover Stories

Part 2 - Page Furniture

Part 3 - Typography

Part 4 - Images and layouts

Part 5 - Colour and print set up

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