Ali Christie’s Peer Workshop on magazine cover design

Ali’s proposal looked at her interest in self-portraiture and her work as a graphic designer, especially art direction for magazines.

My field of interest is self portraiture, how do we see ourselves and how do we choose to represent ourselves to the world and how does the world see us? Since leaving art college in the 80’s I’ve been a magazine designer and use collage from magazines in my self portraits as I feel its been an important part of my life. I’m known within my circle of friends for having an intense love of leopard print (everywhere at home) and so I use this in many of my drawings too .With this in mind the aim of the workshop is…
…to see how the group represent them selves individually and if there is anything in particular they feel projects their personality to the worldPreparation before the workshop (should be fun!!!)
I’d like everyone to bring either a photo of themselves or a mirror (I will provide some myself) whichever is thier preferred method of drawing themselves. I would also like everyone to bring in a magazine they feel influences them or they feel represents them in anyway.For the first 15 – 20 mins I will do a small tutorial discussing fonts and styles of magazines – the use of colour, block colour, font styles, leading etc and a rough idea of the heirachy of cover lines and how to dictate to the reader what to read next.

1 Firstly I would like the group to use the mirrors and photos to draw a self portrait however they feel happy with  – this is then going to be used as the basis for their magazine ‘cover’ . This doesn’t have to be the face.

2 I’d like them to think about what sort of magazine they would be – up market, glossy, tabloid news, etc. and then to create cover lines and a logo that represent them ( i.e. ‘Ali loves leopard’, could be one I would use)  They can do this by tracing off or cutting out type from mags I will provide or in any way they feel appropriate.

3 They need to consider the font style (serif, slab, san serif etc and if its caps which is shouty!!) colours – this is very important on the cover – does it want to feel soft and feminine – strong and newsy, elegant and classy or just fun??

4 The logo should be carefully considered too…what should it be called ? is it panelled (reversing out of a panel is the strongest way to see type – same idea as wearing black/white) The logo doesnt have to be a word – it could be a symbol or just even nonsense – up to them.

They can be as rough or detailed as they like

I want to gather the work and put on the wall – and see if we can tell whos work is who’s by the clues given to us. I will also take the artworks away to photograph in a news agents as one piece of work  (i will give them back!) and let everyone have a copy of the photo!!

The workshop went pretty much as planned. Here people are working on their covers.

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What was striking was, as Ali expected, the range of covers produced, everything from a chat magazine to a very classy art magazine. Perhaps because we are all familiar with magazines from our own everyday lives, I think everyone chose fonts, colours, layouts etc that matched the personality of their magazine cover.


covers by Lara, Yifei, Caroline, Nic, Me, Janine, Sarah

Here’s a close-up of mine. In discussion, I said that I had tried out putting the coverlines at an angle, and with coloured backgrounds and mixes of fonts, but I just couldn’t do it! It really didn’t feel right, which given my personality isn’t a surprise.


And here they are in Ali’s local newsagent. I’m not sure any magazine publishers need worry, but they do fit right in.

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