Creative Magazine Design Ideas for Your Inspiration

Magazine Design Ideas

Magazine design can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s why we’ve gathered some great design inspiration and resources for you today.

Magazines are powerful tools to support your content marketing strategy alongside social media management and blog content. With magazines, you can communicate long-form content to your readers effectively without boring them out.

However, creating a magazine editorial design is akin to making a collage. You need to pay attention to several elements which include an aesthetically appealing layout with readable texts and compelling imagery. This makes it a sweat-inducing endeavor.

Let’s go through some important design tips for a magazine design.

How to create a magazine layout

Find inspiration

If you’re creating a print magazine, you can go to bookshops or libraries to check out their library section. Gather different magazines. To save money, you can opt for older issues. Browse through them for inspiring pages. You can mark out those pages and study what makes them outstanding.

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You can also draw inspiration from other content like brochure design, newsletter design, or web design since it is also a form of collage design- mixing images, texts, and styles to produce beautiful layouts.

We’ll get to some fantastic magazine layout examples for both print and digital magazines later in this post.

Understand the elements of magazine layouts

While poring through pages of magazines, you need to identify and understand the several elements and main components of the layout.

These images point out the main elements of magazine layouts. Let’s explain each of them briefly.

Elements of a magazine Layout

  • Headline – when making a magazine, your headline is the most important element that draws your audience. You have to make it attention-grabbing and meaningful.
  • Kicker / deck / stand-first/ intro – This is the introductory paragraph. It complements the headline and connects the ready to the body. It’s an interesting summary of the entire article.
  • Body – This is also called body text or body copy. This should be the first part you design in your magazine layout since it takes the most space. Ideally, the body text of all articles in your magazine should maintain consistent lengths.
  • Bylines – This is the detail of the author(s) or contributors to magazine articles.
  • Subhead – Subheadings are used to make your magazine more readable by breaking them into compartments. You can help the readers easily locate the content that interests them using subheads.
  • Pull quotes – Quotes help to make your magazine articles more interesting. They are usually set in a different dimension from the rest of the body which makes them easily accessible. Quotes could be excerpts from the body text, a summary of key points, or blurbs.
  • Images – What’s a magazine without images? It could be the magazine cover image or body images that make your article more interesting. You can also make your pull quotes more potent by complementing them with eye-catching images.
  • Caption for images – This should be placed right below the images. They describe the images and are usually written in a font size slightly smaller than the body text.
  • Running head / Section head – Some magazines do not have this. In magazines that do, they are creatively designed and placed at the top of every page to help readers navigate through articles in a magazine easily.
  • White space – Also called negative space. As the name suggests, it is the blank space in your magazine, usually the color of the background. It is important because it helps avoid overwhelming your magazine layout with details.
  • Folio (Footer or Page number) – You should carefully place folio on magazine pages in a way that does not distract readers. You should also avoid them on pages that have full bleed images.
  • Boxy copy / Panel – Just like pull quotes, this box also contains important details on the topic. It could be dates, stats, or facts about the article that the readers should know. Most boxes usually have their own dedicated heading, especially when they contain stats or facts about the article.
  • Follow the Principles of Design

Once understand all the elements of a magazine layout, you should then consider the following core design principles.

Principles of magazine design

Each of these principles carries equal weight in ensuring that you design the perfect magazine layout.

  • Purpose – Why should anyone care about your magazine? And how do you intend to communicate the message? Is it image-based or story-based? It could be for entertainment, or science exposition, and could have a funny or formal tone.
  • Readability – Regardless of the purpose of your magazine, you want to ensure you design readable magazine layouts. You should pay attention to using contrasting colors for the background and text; the right typography and font size; and images where needed.
  • Hierarchy – Guide readers through the most important information and key takeaways by using different font sizes. Use bold fonts for headlines and bylines and consistent fonts in the body copy. Also, bolden the part of the body text you want your audience to notice.
  • Balance – Chaos is rarely beautiful when it comes to graphic design. You want to ensure that all the graphic design elements are evenly distributed on the page to avoid clutter. In this case, effective use of white space can help you maintain balance.

Now that you understand how to create magazine layout design, you can start to create your own magazine layouts except that you need more inspiration to get you going.

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Let’s look at some examples from popular magazines to inspire you.

Magazine Design Inspiration

Dash Magazine Layout

The creative arrangement on Dash’s magazine cover makes it appealing. The cover design makes good use of collage design by combining artificial texture elements with readable texts, artwork, and a model photo that fits the purpose of the magazine.

Food & Wine

Food & Wine is one of the world’s top authorities on the big pans and upcoming chefs. The e-magazine makes use of white space to frame its categories. This coupled with the efficient search bar allows visitors to easily locate their preferred category. Overall, the magazine is clean and easy on the eyes.

Pam & Jenny Magazine Layout

Pam & Jenny makes use of a grid-based layout in their editorial design. This presents a modern, out-of-the-box design approach to magazine design. If you’re designing an image-based magazine, this grid layout can serve as your magazine template.

Billboard magazine

Billboard is the leading magazine in the music industry. The magazine grabs readers’ attention with its screen-wide image, a thick sans serif title, and engaging long-form content.

The mag also deftly uses a minimalistic design to make sure that whichever device the reader access the magazine from, they’re sure to be engaged.

Fleischmarkt web design

Interestingly, you can also draw inspiration for your magazine by looking through websites. This art nouveau building project looks like an editorial design. It is carefully arranged in a grid system that allows you to creatively place images and texts in a way that’s easy on the eyes.

F5 magazine design

F5’s magazine layout combines red accent elements and black-and-white photography to create a colorful and memorable design. The layout is set in a manner that increases readability and reader engagement.

Sports Illustrated

For a while now, people have abandoned traditional print magazines for digital versions. However, this print magazine layout from SI is still worth checking out. The design makes use of bold images as background on the magazine cover and uses a combination of fonts to build a design hierarchy.

The magazine’s website retains elements of the print design by making use of bold texts and card-based sorting to highlight the most important headlines on the website.


This women’s magazine is reputed for its amazing print magazine. The magazine helps businesses advertise their products and includes articles on pop culture, career, fashion, sex, and relationships.

The magazine covers usually feature high-quality images of women alongside the name of the publication to catch the reader’s attention.

The magazine’s blog also captures the essence of the publication as it caters to the digital audience. The refreshing colors and navigation make it for readers to scroll through the website.

National Geographic

NatGeo has an iconic style that makes its magazine easily identifiable. The magazine makes use of a combination of detailed graphics and beautiful images to arrest attention.

On pages where there are no images, the stories are divided into content blocks that are easy to different. Overall, the magazine deftly uses a dynamic grid layout to cohesively encompass its variety of content.

Stuff Magazine

Although a tech and electronics magazine, Stuff used to have girls on its magazine covers. By 2014, it dropped women and focused on texts and images of gadgets. This makes the magazine focus on solely portraying what it’s about and nothing else. Check out the color guide for your business.

Wall Street Journal

Did you know Wall Street also publishes magazines aside from its newspapers?

It does! Now you know. The magazine features personalities behind pop culture, food, design, travel, fashion, and award-winning photography.

On its covers, the magazine uses a minimalistic design and simple fonts to give it a simple vintage look.


Esquire is a long-running men’s magazine that deals with influential, sophisticated, and affluent lifestyles.

The digital magazine layout is interesting in its creative mix of images and texts without overwhelming the readers.

Since its first release in 1933, it has maintained its black text on a white background outlook but its designers have regularly introduced different design styles to make it anything but boring.

For example, this design by Christopher Gowans, a former designer for Esquire created this dimensional graphic to complement a compelling story in the magazine.

ELLE Magazine

Elle magazine can be considered a counterpart to Esquire. Elle addresses women’s lifestyles focusing on beauty, fashion, health, and entertainment.

There is an intriguing technique in Elle’s magazine layout. Although it might not be obvious at first, you’ll come to notice how the designers create a well-balanced layout by alternating the position of images and texts. Each image is sized in a way that fits the length of the content. The influences the clarity and level of engagement of the magazine.

Shape magazine

Shape focuses on showcasing one element at a time. This could be regarded as a reflection of its identity as a fitness magazine. The magazine is structured in a way that allows the readers to focus on the most important information immediately before others.

Better Homes & Gardens magazine

This reputable domestic magazine conveys the importance of eye-catching images in magazines of this nature. Better Homes and Gardens mag dwells on gardening, interior decor, and floral arrangement.

The magazine is targeted at homeowners and creatives. As such, it uses crisp visual content and huge illustrations to effectively capture the mind of its readers.

Forbes Magazine

The glorious company, Forbes, has a simple yet classic and immersive magazine layout design. The layout is set in a way that allows the readers to navigate through each piece of content without constraints.

Also. the magazine template takes a bare-bones approach that creatively combines information and data.

In addition to the designs above, we’ve also gathered some fantastic magazine templates that can guide your own design.

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Creative Magazine Templates

Adventure Digital Magazine Template

This template allows you to create efficient image-based magazine layouts. It helps you balance images and long-form texts without distracting the readers.

Azure Magazine Template

This magazine template allows designers to customize colors. As such, you can tweak the colors to evoke emotions that are fit for your brand identity.

Also, its use of blocky columns and bold fonts makes your magazines more readable.

Introspective Digital Magazine Template

This template allows you to create the maximum experience for your readers with fewer elements. The layout creatively uses negative space, bold fonts, and color contrast to create a compelling impression.

This is more fit for digital magazines since it allows you to include videos.

Showcase Travel Magazine Layout Template

This template allows you to create a balance between photography and text. You can combine high-quality images and immersive narratives to take your readers on an enjoyable journey.

Urban Print Magazine Layout Template

This template is akin to a newspaper layout. It uses blocks to divide information into easily accessible bits.

If you’re struggling with creating a readable magazine layout, this template allows you to feature multiple columns – headers, subheads, pull quotes, and a numbered list.

Joyce Copper Magazine Template

If you’re looking to create a minimalist design for your magazine, this template powerfully makes use of white space as a frame for the magazine content. It also strikes a balance between images and text. Check out the minimalist logo design ideas for your business.

Íma Magazine Template

Here’s another example of a cleanly design magazine template that allows you to efficiently tell image-based stories.

Minimal Modern Clean Magazine Template

In this template, you can see how shapes are used to sectionalize the contents into easily digestible bits. If you’re a marketing agency, this design helps you pass your marketing message across effectively.

 magazine design layout ideas

You can check out more templates on websites like Envato Elements, Creative Market or Canva. There, you’ll find paid and free magazine templates for unlimited downloads.

Ready to start designing your own magazine? Let our designers help you bring your ideas to life

Outsourcing your magazine layout design is your best shot at creating functional, aesthetically appealing, and engaging designs. You would not only save time, but you also save yourself the headache of going through the design process.

All Time Design has a team of professionally-trained and experienced designers to help you create the perfect magazine layout that fits your marketing needs and increases your readership.

We’ll create your designs in real time and at affordable prices.

Save yourself the hassle and book a demo today!

August 19, 2022
10 min read
92 reads

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