5 Ways to WOW with your Magazine Cover
Publishers, designers, and advertisers are always on the lookout for creative ways to impress their audience. Magazines (and similar print publications) offer unique opportunities for advertisers, but the most obvious and eye-catching effects belong on the cover.
Master Print can provide lots of customization options to keep buyers' attention, from folds to coatings and more. And keeping your audience's attention is a direct path to helping the publication's bottom line.
Below are five different categories of trends that you can apply to your magazine cover to really wow your audience!
We've written about aqueous coating, but there are many different types of coatings you can use on your publication cover. Using these coatings, you can highlight certain spots on your cover—maybe a specific headline, part of an image, or a pattern across the whole thing. You can also create texture, either soft touch or a more rough finish.
You may be thinking, why would we cover up our publication's cover? But think from an advertiser's perspective. You can charge a premium to provide an advertiser the access that comes along with your cover. It's guaranteed that everyone will see it!
There are a couple of ways you can go about covering your cover. A belly band is a strip of paper stock printed with an advertisement and glued around the entire magazine. Each reader will have to break the belly band to even open the magazine, ensuring that the message is seen. The great thing about a belly band is that you can print messaging that will be seen on the front and the back. This can be information for a special offer or can be a teaser for content that's inside the magazine. A belly band is typically a cheaper option than a full cover wrap.
Cover wraps are stitched (stapled) in with the magazine and can partially or completely wrap around the cover. If partial, the cover wrap acts as a one-third to half page banner since it is not as wide as the publication. You can design the partial cover to continue the real cover but have strategic changes, or it can be completely different (as in the case of an outside advertisement sold in this placement).
If it's a full cover wrap, you'll see the publication's masthead as usual, but the cover would be a completely different design than the real one below it. You won't usually see a full cover wrap sold to an advertiser; these are used by the association or organization that publishes the magazine.
What about the back of the cover wrap? It can also be a partial or full cover, and can either continue the messaging from the front or (if designed well) you can sell placements to different advertisers for the back.
If it sounds simple, that's because it is: affix a sticker to the cover of your publication for effect. This is great to highlight someone's last issue, a last-minute content update, or a special offer.
When one page isn't enough real estate to get the point across, you can always expand the cover by offering different folds. These are specialty signatures with the cover image included, so that when stitched in to the publication, they can unfold in different ways. For example, a gate fold is a two-piece cover with flaps that meet in the middle. You can open the cover like french doors and expose an ad or special message underneath.
Another fun option is a barrel fold—if you have the content to fill it up! A barrel fold is where the page is wrapped around several times. This creates a very wide page when it's all unfolded, which can be great for a special highlight inside the cover, or a very wide ad. Imagine celebrity magazines where they have a few celebrities on the cover and when you unfold it, there are tons more. That's a barrel fold. With this option, you’ll have to chase your folds and the final cover may not be flush with the rest of the magazine.
Your sales consultant or account manager can help you figure out what kind of fold would best highlight your content if that's the direction you want to take!
Who doesn't love a die cut? With preplanning, you can die cut your cover and have information showing through from the first page. I emphasize preplanning because a custom die can add some time to the production process. It can be helpful if you have the cover design ready early so that production can begin before you even send your inside text to press.
Despite being a long list, this is not the extent of your options! You and your account manager or sales consultant can come up with some creative ways to capture attention—maybe even combining some of these methods. As usual, the best advice we can give is to plan, plan, plan!