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Sensory branding is probably one of the most difficult elements to achieve while designing a magazine. It takes more than just knowing your way around InDesign. It goes far beyond Photoshop. Sensory branding is that branch of marketing that you have to leverage on to tell a story to your reader in which he would be able to enjoy your magazine more than just with his eyes.

So what makes a great magazine design? Our team, based on our successful projects has drafted 7 tips to success while creating a magazine. Here is what our lead newsletter designer suggests:

Tell me the story, and do it fast! – When shopping around for a magazine, your eyes will usually scan for fractions of a second and up to two seconds each magazine on the rack. A big central image in your cover is important. This image should tell me without reading a word what the lead story is.

Frame your magazine. Yes, keep your cover clean, set the canvass for your teasers and add a frame around it – Maybe a simple color frame would be enough. And note that your main image on the front cover could at a certain point “invade” the frame.

Brand your magazine. But not too much. Yes, the name of your mag is important, but in most cases the reader is there for the stories, not for your logo.

Keep your teasers on the front cover short and simple. They are there just to grab your attention. You have several pages inside to put the full article. Oh, and make sure you use a single color palette. You want to keep it comfortable to the eye.

Pagination is king. A professional publication designer should know how to arrange your content in a way your reader would enjoy your articles and not feel that your advertising is intrusive. You might put an ad in between a 2 page article. That’s fine. Just don’t expect your reader to jump 5 pages to reach the last 2 paragraphs of your story.

Ads are good, and should not be off topic. Yes, your main source of revenue might be ads. Cool! Just make sure they are not on every other page, and try to keep them aligned with the topic of your content.

Be congruent. Within each issue. The layout of all pages should have the same elements, the same arrangement. A magazine designer knows that page numbers are important, and should be placed prominently. Oh, and make sure your index is easy to find and easy to understand. An also, be congruent from one issue to the next one. Loyal users will get used to your layout and will appreciate it.

While the above are only seven tips for magazine success, don’t forget that every target has to be approached differently.