Evaluation. As Media. Forms and conventions. The whole magazine was heavily influenced by the conventions of a typical guitar and rock orientated magazine. For example Total Guitar.
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The whole magazine was heavily influenced by the conventions of a typical guitar and rock orientated magazine. For example Total Guitar.
The convention of focusing only on the guitar player him/herself has been challenged. This magazine is solely based upon the gear that makes music possible.
The masthead is positioned right at the top with the main subject right below it, and then what else is featured within the magazine on the lower right hand corner with an added image of what the other articles are about. The colour scheme is also slightly different to most magazine’s with the same target audience. For one, the colour scheme is very bright and ‘Loud’. This was done to stick to the convention that rock music is extremely loud, rather then the convention that rock music is evil and the devils work. This was challenged as the target audience are not just rock musicians. The target audience are ALL musicians.
Image of subjects in additional articles.
Difference in model
Other featured articles
After showing a small focus group of three. All three people said that the font looked like it should be on a child’s magazine or poster rather then on a double spread article about a prestigious company. On a positive note they thought that the colours were very contrasting, So although they are dark and have very dark connotations. They also draw the eyes of readers and pull them in to read the article.
The conventions on this double spread are more towards the typical conventions. For example, this article is solely about rock, so it’s full of dark colours which contrast heavy together. Take notice of the image on the right side of the page. The model is a mix between Red, Black, Yellow and Orange, which are all colours of fire. These colours have connotations of danger and fire itself is typically thought to be from hell. This link to hell immediately makes people think of Rock and Heavy metal.
This article is also about the history of a company which has shaped modern metal. For this reason, the guitar on the left hand side has been edited to look as though it’s from an old Victorian photo. In terms of positioning it is also being handed towards the reader which gives the impression that the instrument was made for everyone and is a symbol of the people.
However, despite all of this good imagery, the font does not fit in with any of these connotations.
The use of tag in this article is different to many other magazines. Instead of using over the top words like sensational, Exclusive or exposed. The main article simply has been starred out and labelled ‘Main Article’. This was done to try and make the magazine more accessible to all readers, producers, musicians and all round music fans.
The menu itself is categorised in to three area’s. This is to make the magazine more accessible to readers. The names of the three areas are also in much larger and brighter font in order for them to stand out against the black font and grey box which makes up the menu.
Towards the bottom of the menu there is also an Ibanez logo. This was placed because there is no real references to the main story on the contents page. It is also a subtle way to fill space and make the page look more professional.
On the contents page there are two splashes. One about a guitar company called Zivory Custom Guitars and another splash about microphones. Both of these splashes blend together because of the color scheme of black and white. This is where it shows that it’s near enough impossible to appeal to the whole target audience, regardless of how loyal to a niche it is.
You may notice there is a lack of pugs and kickers on the final draft but this is for good reason. Because of the magazines broad audience it would be best if the magazine was marketed independently from any major publisher so making the magazine itself look a little different from the commercialized magazines like total guitar is very important.
Further evidence of this can be seen by looking at the lure. The lure on the final draft doesn't stand out, It blends in more. Almost as if you’ll only see it if you look or want to see it. In comparison total guitar magazine has a whole new font just for the lure itself, which is situated just under the large ‘Johnny Marr’ font.
Kickers are also something that’s not featured within the final draft. This was to keep the idea that nothing in the magazine is much more important then anything else which is completely different to any commercial magazine which use all features to revolve around the main article. This can be clearly seen on the comparisons above. The main story is positioned to the left and is the same size as the features on the lower right. Meanwhile on total guitar all features are positioned around a very large lead story, the fonts are also purposefully different to make it contrast against everything else on the page.
The features which are placed on the right hand side are also much smaller then the single feature on the final draft. The single feature on the final draft is also very dominant of the page. This was to establish a community fueled feel on the magazine. The aim of the magazine was never to make major profits, it was aimed to bring great content to real musicians. Total Guitar on the other hand has at least 5 smaller features, this illustrates how the aims differ.
This leads me to believe that a publisher such as Frances Morgan, who published Plan B magazine, would publish my magazine. This is because both Plan B magazine and Big Noise magazine share the same ethos that music shouldn’t be kept in one genre and labeled. Instead it should be used for recreational and expressive reasons.
The publisher that I feel would publish big noise distributes by a variety of companies, undoubtedly to acquire the largest public influence. To be specific there are three companies. These are Warner's Group Distribution (Newsagents, Borders and International), Worldwide Magazine Distribution (HMV/Virgin) and Cargo Records (Record Stores).
For international distribution Plan B turned towards the biggest company, Warner. This is because Warner have a large amount of credibility and have a large amount of influence throughout the media industry.
For further distribution they have also used another well trusted and well established distributor which is Worldwide Magazine Distribution. It is owned by the business empire which Is Virgin. Virgin deal with a variety of industries including plane travel, Music, Television and distribution. All of which is well established and trusted.
Although these are all only distributors. I feel that these companies would best serve my magazine in getting it’s small cult like family and giving the magazine it’s niche audience. This is another reason as to why I think Frances Morgan would be the perfect publisher for Big Noise.
On the front cover, the main image of the Ibanez guitar is facing inwards towards the reader. The reader is also looking up at it. This was to give the impression that the instrument is a figure of power and beauty, which again, appeals to the ideology that music is an emotional and expressive platform for people. The feature on the right hand side of the page is also positioned to face upwards towards the guitar. This Mise-En-Scene gives the impression to all readers that instruments are powerful and spiritual. It signifies how important they are to the reader.
On the contents page, there is a feature with an image of a mic’d up amplifier. The reader is made to be level with it, Not above or below it. This Mise-En-Scene shows the reader that tools are just as important as the art and should be treated the same. This fits in with the music spirituality ideology.
The main image on the double spread features a model holding an Ibanez guitar out towards the reader. This is to make the article far more personal then any commercial magazine would be. It also portrays the idea that music is all that needs to be spoken about and seen it’s gives the impression that the artist isn't what is important when talking about music. The colour on the image is also very important when looking at this ideology. The model is in darker colours compared to the guitar which allows all attention to be directed towards the guitar.
On the front cover there is repetition of the word ‘Plus’ This gives the impression that there is far more to behold within the magazines pages. This also makes the reader subconsciously want to read more. Every time it is mentioned there is also a exclamation mark which follows. This gives the impression that the words are being shouted and are therefore right in the readers face. This also connects with the title ‘Big Noise’ As Large amounts of noise are commonly referred to as being ‘Right in your face’
The magazine mostly represents working class males of ages between 15 to 60. This is because of the sophisticated layout, which looks very orderly and pleasing to the eye. The colour scheme of white, grey, black and orange, which are all very dull colours apart from the brightly contrasting orange which would specifically attract teenagers.
The dull colours have a very industrial feel to them which is what brings it to the working class audience.
The vast selection of images which represent blues and rock music also represents the common, working class males. This is because of the influence of bands such as Black Sabbath who were workers at factories who came from the suburbs in Birmingham. They later went on to become a massively influential rock band. Who shaped the stereotype of rock being a very working class middle aged mans thing.
Despite all of this, the brighter orange colour also brightens up the page and convinces readers that the magazine is not only about rock. This is because orange has very little link to any form of music at all, this solidifies it as a universal magazine without targeting any genre exclusively.
The double spread however is very darkly coloured and features all of the colours of fire, which relates very much to industry and demonic imagery. There are very few brighter colours, which makes it exclusive to rock fans of all ages.
As discussed previously, the colour scheme was massively important to attracting the target audience. Using duller colours to attract working class readers and then adding a highly contrasting colour like orange to both, make the magazine universal in terms of genre but also make sure it attracts readers of a slightly younger age.
This also allows articles and pages to be singled out to certain genre’s, for example, the double spread which is the main feature is mainly about an instrument that has become a icon in rock and metal music, so all the colours are dark and strong. Nothing about the colours are subtle or too bright.
To help make the magazine universal to most musical genre’s and age groups the actual written language is friendly and bold. An example of a phrase like this would be ‘Big noise would like to pay homage to a mighty great which have shaped a generation of guitar players, World wide’
The way it has been written is all very subtle. The words ‘Would like’ Gives the impression that it’s up to the reader what they choose to read and makes the whole opinion portrayed in the article look as if it’s up for interpretation. Which makes it seem as though it’s been written like a conversation between two friends or in a big community which looks at itself as a family.
The photography has also been planned to show this whole communities thoughts. As in the double spread the model is holding the guitar out as if he’s handing it to someone else, this makes the magazine seem very personal and welcoming without sacrificing any other part of it’s audience. Even on the front cover the main image is taken with the headstock near enough pointing at the audience. This makes it very personal and effective at communicating with an audience.
As the audience is wide-ranged. There is a secondary lead on the contents page that’s generally about recording and microphones. which is a completely different audience from the audience who want to read about guitars and other such readers who may be only into instruments or bands.
Although this makes sure that the magazine itself is meeting the brief it was set. Which was to appeal to a variety of musicians. Despite this it also raises problems. It was impossible to create a magazine which appeals to everyone perfectly. Every issue would have to look completely different and focus on a different corner of music every issue.
The various colour schemes demonstrate this, as the admin pages are grey, orange and white which is a balanced colour scheme and has very little audience anchorage. The double spread on the on the other hand is darkly coloured and is very obviously about rock and metal. This can be illustrated by the images below.
To start with, I have had VERY little experience on using Macs. I have learnt a lot about how they work. First about how you ‘Right click’, which on a Mac is Ctrl-Click. This was invaluable to learn as without this I would have lost a lot of time in trying to find other ways to spell check on word and copying images from the internet. Photoshop on a Mac would have also been an issue because I had been previously using Photoshop on a windows computer, which works slightly differently.
Moving on to Photoshop, although I have had some experience in using Photoshop before, I knew very little and have learnt a lot. For example, I have learnt that using the ‘Place’ function, stretches pixels and renders the image unusable. I have also learnt that subtle editing is better then using extreme edits. What I mean by this, is that taking an image and straight away using extreme filters is a waste of time as 90% of the time the lighting or saturation on the image will not quite match everything else on the page. Learning this quickly made a massive difference to what I was producing, and had a massive impact on my final draft’s.
In terms of actually presenting work , blogging is a very new thing to me. I have learnt a lot about them in terms of their usefulness. For example they’re extremely useful in not only advertising your work but also presenting yourself to a small group of people who either want to learn about you or a small group of people that you want to question about a certain idea that you have.
Below is a list of technologies that have been used during the duration of this project:
QR Code Makers
A ring light was used for only a few images but before this course I had never actually seen one. Despite only being used for a few images, it was invaluable in combination with Photoshop. I discovered that the ring light really brought out the white dust against the black guitar and when an orange filter was put on it on Photoshop, everything white turned red and everything black turned orange. It gave the illusion that the area just below the strings was red hot and everything around it was orange hot or engulfed in flames. Without this I would not have taken to the orange, grey and white colour scheme and may not have worked for my target audience. I learnt that ring lights give very balanced lighting on most subjects while still keeping the background dark.
The QR Code and Barcode generators allow me to add little touches to my work and make my work look more professional. For example, If you scan the QR codes on the magazine, they should take you to this blog so you can view all of the progression and work that went into it. From a business point of view this is invaluable. If you was in a self-sufficient band for example, you could generate a custom QR code which could take the scanner to your bands website or other social networking sites.
Without survey websites it would have been difficult to know if I was hitting my target audience. Without a blog to post the electronic survey on, it would have been difficult to hold a large focus group on written paper and then quickly work out the results in no time. Using Survey websites and the blog in parallel was invaluable in keeping to the target audience.
Looking at my very first task the cover is surrounded by a grey border. This was because I did not know how to enlarge the image without stretching the pixels out, which would’ve lowered the quality of the image. There was no real concept of colour schemes and the cover itself portrayed that. Some of the fonts were too dark for the background. The St Mary's logo is pixelated where the quick select tool has been used on it and there is no real evidence that there is a target audience.
Then looking at the 1st draft there is some improvement. For example, the editing is a lot more subtle. This is because there is only a colour balance and saturation enhancement. The image itself is higher quality, better lighting and has a more interesting angle. There is also an apparent colour scheme of Red, White and black. This colour scheme was chosen because it is quite dark and contrasting. The colour of red has connotations of anger and black has connotations of darkness and sadness, which are both emotions that are commonly portrayed in rock and metal music. However despite these lessons that I had learnt there were still problems with this draft. The main colour scheme featured both black and white. It was awkward to get the text actually visible and legible. This point is illustrated towards the centre of the draft where a black font is positioned in-between the black and white background. The masthead also felt as it was not drawing enough attention. This is why it was placed on a red background. Although this succeeded in it’s job, the colour scheme then made the magazine look as if it was intended for elderly people.
The next draft had the largest of improvements compared to the others. The colour scheme being the most noticeable. It had been changed from red, black and white to Orange, Grey and white. These colours mixed together give a very balanced connotation which was perfect for my target audience. The darker colours on the page would appeal to a middle aged working class audience because they are sophisticated and subtle. The addition of orange would brighten up the page with a massive contrast and open up the audience to a younger working class audience. This colour has no real hooks to a certain genre either. The images however are very rock and metal looking. In an experiment with editing, the black guitar was turned orange and red to look like it was on fire. Fire has connotations with hell which links to rock and heavy metal.
The fonts are placed on top of grey boxes to help make the font itself legible. The font itself is black. The combination of black and grey is not exactly eye catching but it does portray a very urban feel which again appeals to the working class audience rather then an audience of higher stature.
The final Draft is a mixture between draft one and draft two. The best of both. As we can see the colour scheme of draft two was taken to have the same effect as draft two. The image from draft one was taken although the editing for this draft is slightly different. First an orange filter was put on the image and the saturation and colour balance was played with until the image was subtly orange and still drew attention to the main subject. The new masthead had a border on it to help draw attention to it and make it obvious to the reader that it is the masthead. Instead of having grey on black font and borders, the borders are now a brown orange to blend in the background and the font itself is white to draw attention to it. The only change that the focus group wanted was to fill up some more of the space on the page as they felt it was very bland.