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Music Magazine Cover Analysis

Here are 4 existing music magazine covers that i have analysed... - the images are secondary data, as i have not taken or produced them myself but instead collected via. google images. -http://www.knowsies.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/rap-up_nelly

Selina Kauser

on 25 April 2011

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Transcript of Music Magazine Cover Analysis

Notes on research to help improve my magazine design. -There is a strong theme of the colours, red white and black in many hip hop magazines.

-Focus on the artist is key, rather then background etc.

-Simplicity to the Masthead has a better effect than fussy titles. The masthead is in CAPS and the font is BOLD and easily readable. This may represent the magazine, they are bold and mean business, the masthead is fairly simple- maybe trying to say that the magazine sells itself with the information they are advertising that they include.
The colour black may connote this is mainly to a black audience and the customised U with the shape of the arrow head, may suggest they are on their way up. They are successful and the readers of this magazine will also be going up in their music taste.
This may also put forward that this magazine is more aimed at a male orientated audience as the style font seems quite ‘macho’ and not really feminine. Masthead Sell line/ Main Coverline
The main cover line ‘Leaps into action’ is a play on words with the dominant picture on the centre of the magazine. Again there are relations to ‘male’ dominance – ‘Rap’s MAN of steel’- suggesting; strength and power and also being ‘solid’ in character. The black on red has an importance significance.
Black is a mysterious colour associated with fear and the unknown (black holes). It usually has a negative connotation. Black denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious colour. Whereas, red is the colour of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love."
Dominant Image In the dominant image we can see the theme of red and white being pursued. Red is an indication of raw energy, force, vigour, intense passion, aggression, power, courage, impulsiveness and passion. The colour red also has deep emotional and spiritual connotations.
White is associated with light, goodness.
It is considered to be the colour of perfection. In advertising, white is associated with coolness and cleanliness because it's the colour of snow.
All these connotations of the colours white and red compliment the pose in which the artist in pictured in.
Strapline *White background, implies
simplicity and also gives the
information and the artist more
importance and attention.
Audience for RAP UP magazine Rap-Up is a magazine launched in 2001 by founder Devin Lazerine. The publication was originally a website devoted to hip hop, until Lazerine decided to pitch the possibility of a magazine to several publishers. The magazine is focused on the hip hop and R&B aspect of the music industry, and predominantly features interviews with artists, actors and other entertainers. Issued quarterly, the magazine's target audience was the 14 to 28 demographic, although the demographic has become older over time.

-Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rap-Up
Dominant Image There is a close up of the artist in this image with the background blurred out. Showing the artist is of most important and that he is the main focus. The artist is wearing oversized shades, this has an effect of ‘coolness’ and also may symbolise being ‘big’ in status. His open smile suggest a sense of calm and welcoming, making the audience seem more accepting of the artist.
Also, in the main cover line/ sell line it states ‘take your best shot’ it almost seems as if he is happily offering his right cheek, as if to say i know I've done wrong, but now im making up for it. The masthead is in BOLD CAPS making it seem more dominant and confident. Also the presence of the full stop seems to make an impact of a statement, almost as if there not asking for respect, they are demanding respect, they are expecting it.
The word respect itself denotes an confident feeling of admiration and appreciation for a person of other entity. actions that honour somebody or something indicate respect.
Again there are connotations of red and white indicating intense passion and coolness. Masthead Coverlines From this cover line we can assume this is an artists’ comeback into the music profession. The reference to the artist as a ‘crowned jewel’ gives the impression they are implying he may some royalty of music e.g. KING of HIP HOP?
The artists name is in a much larger font size then the text around on the magazine cover, this seems to give the impact the artist name speaks for it self, it ‘sells’ for itself, there is not much need to persuade the audience to purchase the magazine as it already has got such a significant and sellable artist, story… the font size is more or less the same size as the masthead, this may also relate the significance of ‘respect’. Furthermore, the connotations of white on black may mean thinking in absolutes, good and bad, without any shades of grey or attenuating circumstances. This may suggest T.I is the good, and there is no hidden agenda with him, what you see is what you get, all this making him even more likeable to the audience. Main Coverline Strapline ‘The art of hip-hop’ Boosts The colours white and red may also be relating to USA here. However overall the title is black and white, which again may be denoting to good and bad. White suggests peace and absence of colour. In the Middle East, the colour black represents sadness and unfairness. This may be in relation to racism and the hardships people had/have to overcome because of it, it is shadowing the white, maybe representing the ‘black’ culture, now they have finally found some peace however it will always be overshadowing. They are proud of their roots and culture and always will be. Masthead The artists name is in bold font and the font size is quite large in comparison to the rest of the text, showing the importance of the artist. Red has connotations of raw energy, force, intense passion, aggression, power, courage, impulsiveness and passion. The colour red also has deep emotional and spiritual connotations. And white is considered to be the colour of perfection and is associated with coolness. the theme of red and white has been pursued in this image. It is a close up of the artist posing in quite an unwelcoming way- giving a sense of the magazine having a hard ‘edge’ to it. The whole image has negative vibes, especially his facial tattoos. Teardrop tattoos usually mean the person has killed someone or it could mean that that person had seen/watched someone be killed. Or it could simply mean that you lost someone really close to you. It is also rumoured that the teardrop tattoo below the eye represents, if NOT filled in, the person has someone they wish to kill for revenge of some sort, and if it is filled in, then they have succeeded.
This magazine cover seems to bring across the sense of ‘loss’. Strapline Dominant image Coverlines Boosts Main Coverline *Dominant theme of red and white The Source The Source is a United States-based, monthly full-color magazine covering hip-hop music, politics, and culture, founded in 1988. It is the world's second longest running rap periodical, behind United Kingdom-based publication Hip Hop Connection. The Source was founded as a newsletter in 1988. The current president of the publication is Jeremy Miller.


For 20 years, The Source has been the leading international voice for the ever-evolving world of Hip-Hop music, culture and politics. It is our goal to cover every aspect of this unique and vibrant culture–from the streets that spawn our increasingly creative music and fashion to the power players that direct the boardrooms and make our products into viable commodities and profitable investments.


Black is the colour that does not emit or reflect light in any part it absorbs all such frequencies of light.
Red is seen as a colour representing passion this may denote that the readers of this magazine absorb the same passion and love for music through reading this magazine as the creators and artist have.
Again the BOLD CAPS stand out and simplicity in the masthead is the key. Vibe Vibe is a music and entertainment magazine founded by producer Quincy Jones. The publication predominantly features R&B and hip-hop music artists, actors and other entertainers. The magazine's target demographic is predominantly young, urban followers of hip-hop culture.
As of 2007[update], Vibe had a circulation of approximately 800,000. Advertisers ran the gamut from record labels to fashion houses to various cognac brands.


Vibe is a popular African-American magazine. The publication contains articles on music artists, actors and other entertainers. The magazine is also considered to be a trendsetter in fashion and style for its predominantly young, urban audience.


The dominant image follows the theme of black. Black is seen as a colour with negative connotations.
The colour black is often related to problems and death however in contrast it may also suggest self-confidence, power and strength- this portrays the artists hardships that he has overcome and his new attitude to life.The symbol of a cross on his chest may also suggest sins of humanity, reminding everyone he is only human and everyone makes mistakes…it is only fair that you should forgive him. They list a few drugs in the colour of grey. Grey is the lighter side of black, this may suggest he is now coming out of the darkness and now into the light. Grey is a cool colour seen in storm clouds , this may also be relating to one of the artists songs- Not Afraid, where he states ‘We'll walk this road together, through the storm’.
The statement ‘I almost died’ is enclosed with ‘red’ brackets and the following text is also in red. Red denotes aggression and intense passion, it also stands for courage.,there are further connotations of red such as; danger and shame which is fitting in context. Red is a colour great for drawing attention to things. Masthead Boosts Main Coverline Coverlines Dominant Image Strapline
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