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Codes & Conventions of Magazines

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Harvey fearghal

on 10 November 2014

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Transcript of Codes & Conventions of Magazines

Codes & Conventions of Magazines
Magazine Codes & Conventions
Codes
are systems of signs, which create meaning. Codes can be divided into two categories – technical and symbolic.

Technical codes
are all the ways in which equipment is used to tell the story in a media text, for example the camera work in a film.

Symbolic codes
show what is beneath the surface of what we see. For example, a character's actions show you how the character is feeling.

Conventions
are the generally accepted ways of doing something. There are general conventions in any medium, such as the use of interviewee quotes in a print article, but conventions are also genre specific.

Codes and conventions
are used together in any study of genre – it is not enough to discuss a technical code used such as camera work, without saying how it is conventionally used in a genre.

For example, the technical code of lighting is used in some way in all film genres. It is a convention of the horror genre that side and back lighting is used to create mystery and suspense – an integral part of any horror movie.
Front Covers
There are typical things that people will expect to see in all magazine front covers, these typical conventions include:

MASTHEAD:
This is a feature of a magazine what will always stay the same for each individual magazine, for example, the 'NME' magazine masthead will always be big, red and bold so that the fans of the magazine can become familiar with it each week that it comes out and this differentiates itself with other magazines.

MAIN IMAGE:
The main image for a magazine will be different each week, the main image will be the main factor to try and catch the readers attention, hence why most magazine front images are famous people. Having a well known person as the front cover will draw the reader in because they will automatically become interested. The famous figure picked for the magazine main image would be dependent on what the certain issue was about eg. what type of music they were promoting that week. The main image will most likely be the main and most popular story for that certain issue.

SELL LINES:
The main sell line will always be linked in with the main image; it will often be a quote that the person in the main image has said or sometimes a few words on what the article about them includes. The secondary sell lines would be a much smaller font to the main sell line to signify that they're not as important. Sell lines have to be very catchy as this is the piece of information that the reader looks at to decide weather they want to buy the magazine or not so that they can read it.

TARGET AUDIENCE:
Most of the magazines features will be based on what type of target audience the magazine has, for example, if the magazine was 'NME', they have a target audience of heavy metal lovers so they will choose red and black as main colours because they symbolize danger and rebellion, the type of people that the target audience are. Similar clothing to the target audience will also be worn in the main image so readers feel attached to the magazine, making them want to buy it.

EXTRA LINKS:
A link that could be included on the magazine front cover may be the website name, this lets the reader learn more information about the magazine as a whole and gather more content on various stories. This is a way of attracting more people to purchase the magazine as the website will draw them to it.
Contents Page
There are typical things that people will expect to see in all magazine contents pages, these typical conventions include:

MAIN IMAGE: Most often will be the same person, just a different image of them. This makes the magazine flow very well as it isn't just jumping from one thing to the next. This main image will be much bigger than the other images on the page to signify that it is the most important image because it is the main story for that certain issue.

TITLE: It will usually be in the same position as the front cover title - this gives the magazine a good structure as everything isn't all over the place. This structure for the title would be the same in every issue so that people can easily recognize it and then differentiate it from others.

SUMMARIES: These are always under the subtitles. Some magazines like to put a summary under every subtitle, others like to put it under only 3 or 4 of them; this lets the reader know which are the best pages to read because they're the ones the magazine company think high of. The summary is usually just one or two brief sentences about what content that page includes - from this information, the reader can then decide whether they would like to read the page or not.

LAYOUT: The title of the contents page is most often at the top of the page to make it stand out more. It would stand out more at the top because that is where every reader will look to find out the page title, anywhere else on the page will result in the reader becoming confused. The subtitles of the magazine will always be in a column on either the right or left hand side of the page - this is done so that it becomes easily readable.

SUBTITLES: This simply tells the reader what the magazine includes, this will be in bold so that the reader is attracted to them. They're usually in the same font as the main title, but in a smaller font to show that they're not as significant.

PAGE NUMBERS: These are always placed next to the subtitles so the reader can look at the subtitle and then easily look at the page number that it is on if they would like to read it. They're usually in a different colour to the subtitle to make them stand out more.

OTHER IMAGES: These images would be linked to the secondary sell lines that were on the front cover, this again makes the magazine flow better and gives it a good well organized structure. They would not be as big as the main image, this shows that the main image is much more significant than them.

DATE & ISSUE NUMBER: There is usually the issue number of the magazine and the date that the issue was published placed on the contents page; this tells us that the magazine is indeed a very successful one that sells a lot of copies each week. The date is important to have because then people know that the issue they’re reading is the current one and so they know they’re keeping up-to-date with the latest news.
Double Page Spreads
There are typical things that people will expect to see in all magazine double page spreads, these typical conventions include:

Layout: All articles on double page spreads in magazines will always be in column form, it is set out like this so that it is easy for the reader to read it and also there is an aesthetically pleasing aspect of laying the writing out like this which will consequently draw in the reader. At the start of most paragraphs there is huge bold capital letter to start it off, this feature has been used so that it catches the readers eye, if it catches the readers eye, there attention will purely be on the magazine. The main image will most often be covering one side of the double page.

Introductory paragraph: This simply gives the reader a brief description of what the article they are about to read is going to be about. It will include the most important information that the reader will need to know so that they understand the article fully; this information should also be one of the features that will make the reader want to carry on and read more.

Main/Large image: Will always will be the same person on the front cover, just a different image of them. This makes the magazine flow very well as it isn't just jumping from one thing to the next. This main image will be very big to signify that the person in the image is the person who the article is based on.

Large heading/Pull quote: The large heading/pull quote will always be linked in with the main image; it will often be a quote that the person in the main image has said or sometimes a few words on what the article about them includes. Sell lines have to be very catchy as this is the piece of information that the reader looks at to decide weather the up coming article interests them or not.

Page numbers: These are placed on the page so that after looking at
the contents page and finding the article that they want to read,
they can clearly be seen on every page throughout the magazine
so the reader can find the page that they want. The page numbers
also follow the colour scheme of the magazine as a whole so that
they fit in nicely.

New Media: Links for Twitter/Facebook/Instagram are usually
placed on a double page spread so that the reader can access more
information on the article that they are reading.
Conclusion
I have discussed the typical codes and conventions that all, specifically music, magazines include. To enable me to create a successful magazine,I will refer to this to make sure i am following the typical codes and conventions.
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