Following up an earlier article where we discussed some magazine layout principles, let's take a look at continuity in design.
Design continuity for a specialized marketing piece, specifically one that only makes an appearance quarterly or annually is incredibly important. Because the piece will only be in the viewers hand a few times a year, it's important to make a visual impact that the reader can easily remember.
How is this accomplished? When creating such a piece, it's important to keep some "theme" of consistency throughout the magazine. The theme will usually consist of similar graphic elements that appear on each spread, every page or at regular intervals within.
Here is a great example of how this is applied in a semi-annual magazine for the Alumni of the Communications Department at ORU. Knowing the advisor/designer personally I can clearly see her thought process as she carries the visual theme throughout the magazine.
Notice the "recording" lines around the dominant photo. These are repeated symbolically on the opposing page that begins the profile article. Later on, as we continue through the magazine, we again see the same elements repeat. The story is different and even the layout is different but the theme is the same.
To keep the magazine fresh and changing, we don't want to simply repeat the exact same layout over and over. Between these main stories the magazine is filled with shorter articles, sidebars and photos. But once we come back to such a spread, there is an immediate visual connection to what we've already seen.
Ways this can be accomplished:
1. Repeat. Simply pull a previously used element such as a drop cap, a rule line, background graphics, etc.
2. Duplicate a photo effect. Add crop marks, frames, distress or elegant filter effects to dominate photos to create a unified effect.
3. Mirror. To mirror a spread simply re-arrange the elements in your layout to appear as if they would if you literally printed it out and held it up to a mirror. (If you can't visualize the effect--print it out!) This is what has been done in the above example.
4. Reflect. What would your layout look like if reflected upside down? Please realize we're not referring to the text or headline, but rather the arrangement of the elements on the page. If your dominant photo is a square on the bottom left, another layout within the piece could have it placed in the top left instead.
5. Rotate. If your original design is solid, you can rotate your layout of elements in a clockwise or counter-clockwise fashion to retain the 'feel' of the other spreads.
Keeping these tricks in mind with assist you in creating a unified magazine piece. To download the entire magazine to see the visual impact of repeating elements click here.