Week 6 – Project 2: Magazine Case Study Research (1/2) – Teen Vogue

For my magazine group project, Karen and I chose fashion. For one of the magazines to research, I chose Teen Vogue.

teenvoguecoveraug2009“Influence Starts Here. This simple mandate sets Teen Vogue apart. Style-conscious girls everywhere know there’s only one source for relevant fashion, beauty, and entertainment news communicated in a sophisticated tone with the power of the Vogue brand.” *

Basically TeenVogue in a nutshell. TeenVogue separates itself from the countless teen magazines such as Seventeen and Girls Life, by having the appearance of sophistication but with a youthful touch but not too young. TeenVogue is very successful, through my research I found it ranks in many blogger’s top lists of magazines targeted at teens, and its circulation is over 1 million, 90% of those numbers are from subscriptions. Aside from the magazine, it also has a website and an app for smartphones/tablets with articles and behind the scenes videos and photos. The magazine is praised for its content which range from mostly fashion but also music, literature, feature stories meant to empower girls such as a story of a real girls/young women’ triumph or adversity. The fashion part is kept youthful; although there is focus on runway fashion, there are also style bloggers/street fashion. TeenVogue is also unique in its role in publishing young rising stars and the objective is to appear to be ahead curve in both fashion and the who’s who of Hollywood; it hosts an annual “Young Hollywood” party which then becomes the feature of that month’s issue.

Demographics / Advertising
Despite the teen in its title and the occasional articles about prom when it gets close to that time of the year, the median age of their readership is 23, and 25% of their readership is attending college. The median age for their website is even higher, aged 27 (probably because they can read their “teen magazine” privately). I wager that is exactly what they want. Much of the content within TeenVogue still remains applicable to women college aged to early adult while they make the transition to the more adult Vogue. Readers of TeenVogue are fashion savvy and advertisers want their attention. Ads in TeenVogue are typically beauty and fashion related and they range from low affordable brands (like Revlon, Aeropostale) to midrange (Guess, MAC) to high (Armarni, Coach). The products in the magazine features and photoshoots vary from affordable to items in the $100-500 price much like the brands paying them for adspace.

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The cover of TeenVogue is instantly recognizable on a magazine stand: it uses a 6¾”x9” sized format that not only differs from the rest of most magazines, but it’s small size also means it’s get prime real estate at the front of the racks where it won’t be hidden. TeenVogue uses photos from relatively high budget photoshoots for their cover and features alike which emphasizes the sophistication it wants to convey. Photoshoots are typically shot outdoors or with natural lighting indoors and the feeling ranges from dream-like, natural/casual, edgy and weird depending on the topic. The magazine doesn’t restrict itself to only certain colours. For type, the magazine uses a mixture of serifs (modern like didone for emphasis, and oldstyle/transition for the main text in articles for legibility) and sans serifs (geometic and neo-grotesque), swapping and changing the size to establish hierarchy and different sections. It is only in the very text heavy articles that grid is most obvious. The magazine’s typical approach is to fill or balance the page with pictures and fill the remaining space with text. The grid is mostly 1 to 2 columns but the size of the columns vary depending on the images. Text is not justified and it wraps around images when appropriate.

(Demographic info taken from their Media Kit)


GDMA 2200 – Week 4, Project 1: Conclusion and Presentation (and feedback)

Web Newsletter – Events

This newsletter has remained relatively unchanged since last week. What I had in mind was bright colors, attention grabbing headers/call to action, and clear division of categories and articles. The important part was getting information across that is easy to read so I kept the text uncomplicated (and easy to edit), and used banners, colours and small visual accents to add interest. The audience of the events newsletter would be children’s parents.



Web Newsletter – Recommendation (Single focus)

The recommendations newsletter developed from the events newsletter and shares a lot of its elements. I thought the recommendations page would be something that parents would show to their children, so I thought it was important to add some graphic elements to convey information, like icons to represent type of medium (graphic novel) and genre (fantasy)

Feedback: Typesetting could use some touching up. Vector graphics could be changed orange to match the colour scheme?


RPL-printFINAL RPL-printFINAL2Print – Handouts

Looking at the website, I noticed it offered a lot of teen resources such as help with studying and applying to post-secondary, so I had wanted to create handouts as my print component. However, I came to the realization as handouts, it seems more like single feature focused newsletters, so I am seeing how to convert this into more of a brochure/guide for students instead of individual pamphlets (or I could make another e-newsletter to represent the editorial part, and change . This last part of the assignment I spent the least time on and it went through the fewest number of revisions. I would probably see how to develop these future

Feedback: The printed elements lack unity with the web material which has a stronger identity.

GDMA 2200 – Week 4, Project 1: Design Development

As mentioned in the previous post, I more or less had decided on a colour scheme for my Richmond Public Library newsletters, and I continued to move things around and tried to create a more dynamic grid.

RPL-enewsletterOLD RPL-enewsletterOLD2 RPL-enewsletterOLD3

Starting from last week’s event focus newsletter, my first decision was that I knew I wanted to get rid of the ribbon. I initially had the ribbon in mind because I thought of bookmarks, but I realized it made designing around it rather awkward (the large space in between “library news” and the rest of the content). Removing the ribbon gave me more freedom with the grid and I see more clearly what parts weren’t really necessary. I also added small details to make my layout less flat.

(The rest is tweaking and finding images.)


My single focus newsletter is a book recommendation. I took the idea (book choice and text)  from the original kids newsletter. I worked on this newsletter alongside the event one and the two went through many of the same changes together (it originally had the ribbon as well). For this I decided I wanted to incorporate iconography to give the reader some information without having to reach it (such as age group, medium, and genre). The bottom is still bare so I’ll be continuing to see if I should be moving things around or add more onto it.
In comparison, I haven’t done much with the printed part of the assignment.


I noticed on the RPL website that it offers teens help with things like studying, applying to post secondary and finding jobs. My idea was to make a flyer or a brochure that teens could pick up in person which would have advice that would be helpful to them. I haven’t figured out what I want my design to look like. I am borrowing the style of the icons I made for my single feature and seeing how that goes.

GDMA 2200 – Week 3, Project 1: Roughs


(catch up, need to remember weekly blogging)

For my initial explorations, I thought about grids and how to incorporate RPL’s existing newsletter colours or scrap them all together. I realized that working with their orange and different gray tones made the kids newsletter very un-kid friendly. Even though the audience for the newsletter are the parents, I thought it was best to move away from using greys and also being careful about the amount of white both of which I thought took away the fun in the design.

Screen-Shot-2014-01-21-at-3.51.38-PMScreen Shot 2014-01-23 at 8.40.22 AM copy

I’ve settled into a colour palette of orange, yellow and white which I’m more of less happy with but I definitely think what I’ve got is rather lackluster in terms of a grid and design. I originally went with this format because I didn’t like the images they’ve selected, but also considering the kind of events they have, the stock images would be rather boring (ex. kid reading, kid playing a board game, kid doing homework etc). I’m going to try and incorporate images in another way and make my grid less structured 2 columns.

GDMA 2200 – Week 1, Project 1: Briefing & Research

Richmond Public Library

The Richmond Public Library (RPL) system was established in 1976. In total RPL has 4 branches and has evolved with the times to include an intricate online library cataloguing system, ebooks, free wireless internet, self checkout, DVD rentals and much more. The demographic of Richmond is unique from the rest of Vancouver Lower Mainland by which according to 2006 consensus, 57% of the population Richmond is foreign-born (majority of the popular speaks either Cantonese or Mandarin). RPL has a strong emphasis on multiculturalism; it offers library materials in multiple languages and assists Richmond residents in adapting to Canadian life with programs such as weekly New Immigrant Orientation seminars and Canadian Citizenship Practice Tests.

As typical with public libraries, RPL is a community hub and offers many events and programs. RPL appears to have two monthly e-newsletters: one for children and the other for adults. The kids e-newsletter is archived on the RPL website.

Children’s e-Newsletter
example: January 2014
example: December 2013 

The target audience of the Richmond Public Library’s Kids’ e-Newsletter are the parents of young children. At first glance, the newsletters is divided into a 2 column grid system; the smaller (right) of the two is used for navigation and recommended books, and the main column (left) is for articles. The newsletter is very copy heavy; children would not likely look at the newsletter themselves. However, the text is not comfortable for adults to read either; the right column is very tight (margins and gutters), font size is tiny, type is aligned center, and copy is done in reverse text.

The newsletter does incorporate some visuals but not in a way that is attention grabbing. The photo of the happy family is part of the newsletter’s layout and it does not change. The other images are stock photography, clip art, logos or book covers which are all small and negligible. The newsletter also has a strange colour palette of orange and grey in monochrome tones. It does not match the RPL logo colours either, so it is inexplicable why those colours were chosen (the orange, however, is used on the website). Thick rules in those colours are used to differentiate between sections and topics.

For my redesign, I would likely change everything about the current newsletter. I would change the colour scheme, and depending on whether the audience will remain the parents or appeal more to children, I would likely like to incorporate more colour. I would definitely get rid of the two column grid, or at the very least change it so the type inside is not so tight and difficult to read. There are some aspects of the current design that I like; I like that there is a table of contents which I find many newsletters are missing causing the viewer to scroll until they find what they are looking for. Most importantly I would like to make the newsletter appealing in a way that perhaps the audience would not be children, but the children would be curious about what their parents are looking are; the newsletter after all was made for the kids benefits after all.