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Tips for Creating a Browse-Worthy Magazine Cover

Updated: May 19, 2020

Although we’re taught not to judge a book by its cover, when it comes to magazines, the cover is often the first thing that attracts the reader to grab it from the shelf. This is why we focus on making the look and feel of the cover unique, engaging and “browse-worthy”. 

In most cases, “browse-worthy” is the unofficial brief given to the designer in charge of creating the cover; revealing snippets of the content inside while enticing them to keep reading. Alongside the many design constraints and printing recommendations that form a magazine cover, the “browse-worthy” brief is achieved by correctly implementing both the design and print elements, including colour, font, graphics and imagery. 

As the printers involved with bringing many eye-catching magazines to life, we can advise on these key elements and why they shouldn’t be ignored. Read on to discover our top 4 print considerations when designing an eye-catching magazine cover.


The featured colours on your magazine cover design play a huge role in whether or not your audience is going to engage with your magazine. The colours that are chosen for the headings should typically contrast with the background image. 

For example, in the BirdKeeper Magazine (pictured), which is a magnificent contrast of yellow, purple and blue.

The choice of blue and yellow are drawn from the featured image, blue from around the eyes of the bird and yellow from the feathers. Yellow is a contrasting colour to purple and blue and therefore stands out. Contrasting colours are used for titles and images of importance as an effective way to draw the viewers attention to the feature articles. It is also a printing technique as colours opposite each other on the colour wheel, are more vibrant when placed together on the same page. This is key for readability and grabbing the reader’s attention.


A feature image often takes the most space within the cover’s layout; therefore, using a simple yet attention-grabbing image is important. For example, the feature image on this Cove Magazine cover (pictured below) includes a single subject. Using a single subject eliminates unnecessary crowding in the background and allows for the negative space to be used for titles and headings. This magazine also blends the titles and background image together to create a stronger focus on the subject.


If you need areas of your magazine cover to pop, you could also use special finishes such as Spot UV. This high-gloss shine is typically applied either atop a matte varnish or matte lamination. As a result, the area with the spot gloss UV will be shiny and accentuated, standing out against the rest of your smooth matte design. For example, Cove Magazine (pictured above) has chosen a spot gloss UV on the title “COVE”, adding a premium touch to the look and feel of their luxurious brand.


Even if your magazine cover catches the reader’s attention, it’s not over yet! The paperweight of your magazine cover will impact the overall quality of your magazine. We suggest having a cover that is durable for distribution and protects the pages within. When speaking to your printer about printing your magazine, you may come across the terms text and cover stock, this refers to the two separate types of paper used in the print production of your magazine. Text stock is typically for the interior, whilst cover stock is for the cover. For magazine cover stock, paperweight between 250 – 350gsm is what we recommend, as it is thicker and feels more like cardstock (e.g. can handle the coffee table). Be sure to discuss your goals for the final look and feel with your printer before printing to ensure you select the correct paperweight.

To get in touch with the Printcraft team to create and print your next magazine, reach out via our contact page.

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