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Evaluation Videos

29 Apr

Question One

Question Two

Question Three

Question Four

Question Five

Question Six

Question Seven



10 Apr

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
The media product I had to create was a music magazine, which consisted of a cover page, contents page and double page spread. I designed my magazine pages for an indie genre. Therefore, I looked at existing magazine pages from magazines such as Q, NME and CLASH, as my target audience would be of a similar market and the magazines would include similar artists.
My front cover uses the convention of having a masthead at the top of the page, which is found typical in any magazine and does not depend on the genre. Mastheads are conventionally placed at the top of the magazine, in the left corner or across the width; it is also the biggest text on the page, as this makes it easier for the audience to notice the title, especially on shop shelves. The typography of my masthead was crucial as it is the first thing the audience will read, in CLASH and NME they use a sans-serif typeface, which creates a modern style and appeals to a younger audience. Whereas, in Q they use a serif typeface, however their audience would be slightly older and would be more traditional, as some of the artists they include are from different generations and genres. Therefore, in my magazine I chose my masthead to be a serif typeface, even though my magazine is an indie genre, I would want to include iconic artists in special issues such as David Bowie or Pulp, which appeal to an older audience, as well as a younger one. Another convention I included was a barcode, which is essential on every magazine, as this means the audience will be able to purchase it from a store. I placed it at the bottom right hand edge of the magazine, so it is out the way and placed neatly placed beside everything else. On the barcode I included some institutional information, such as the month of the issue release and the price; is conventional in magazines as it doesn’t clutter your page.
I identified that Q magazine uses the convention of having a monthly magazine; while magazines like NME, who focus on a younger audience, publish their magazine weekly. I chose to publish my magazine monthly, I decided to do this as my audience will be 16-25 year olds and are known to have busy lives and would not have time to buy a weekly magazine regularly. Furthermore, a monthly magazine would mean the company would have more time to produce an issue and so would include more content compared to a weekly magazine; this will make it more appealing to by audience, as having a mature audience would also mean they are looking for a good quality informative magazine.
On my cover page I also included a main cover line, which is conventional for any magazine, as it is used to show the reader what the main focus of the issue is going to be inside. Normally, the main cover line is based on a musician who symbolises your magazine’s genre, for example having a main cover line on Noel Gallagher will tell the audience a large part of your magazine will be on indie rock, whereas if there was a main cover line of Lil Wayne on the cover, then the audience will know it includes a large amount hip-hop. I also included one main image to fill the whole of the page, this is conventional as this grabs the audience’s attention and supports the main cover line. The main image for the cover page I used, was a medium close up shot of a person, to represent an artist, this type of shot is conventional for main images of a cover page, as it appears in magazines such as CLASH, Q and NME. Furthermore, to develop this convention the person in the image is using direct address, this breaks the forth wall and engages the reader, making them feel part of the magazine and encouraged to buy it. I also placed my image in front of my masthead and the tagline, this is a convention I found is commonly used in magazines, I used this convention as I found this made the brand more established as it suggests that the audience doesn’t need to see the whole masthead to know the name, it also puts the subject of the main image in a higher position and creates the idea that the magazine cares more about the music than themselves.
Another convention I have included is having a section on my front cover which mentions the other artists in my magazine in a list format. This convention has been used in magazines such as Q and NME, as they include a lot of reviews and articles of artists and so this method gives the audience a taste of what will be throughout the magazine. I placed it as a banner across the bottom of the page; however, I turned the shapes opacity down, so you can still see the main image reach the edge of the front cover. This issue of my magazine I designed would be slightly different to its usual layout, as this issue was a ‘Brit Special’, which is presented as another list down the left side of the front cover and likes itself to the main cover line with an addition symbol. This meant the issue would be specialised into a certain topic, which is a convention done in magazines like Q and NME, however they do not do this in every issue, because then it would lose the magazine’s value of having ‘specials’ and ‘limited editions’.
On the contents page, I have split up my stories into ‘REGULARS’ and ‘FEATURES’ and listed them down the side of the page with their own page number, this is conventional in a magazine as this makes it easier for the audience to navigate themselves through the pages to what they want to look at. I have also included 5 pictures on my contents page, which is a conventional in magazines such as Q and NME and I have laid them out so they have the same gutter and baseline. All the page numbers have the same font and colour, this conventional as it creates a continuous style through the lists. The colours I have used in my contents page are the same colours that I have used on my front cover; this is part of my house style. House styles are conventional in all magazines, as it’s what makes them individual from the rest by using a consistent theme, whether it’s a colour scheme or certain typeface. Having a house style is effective, because it makes the pages link to each other and makes it clear to the audience that they are part of the same magazine.
Another convention I have used for my contents page is a capitalised san serif font for the title. This is a convention I have identified in the magazine Q and I used this convention, because it created a sense of urgency to the title and stood out, it also creates a modern atmosphere, which I wanted to create for my audience. I also used the convention of having ‘contents’ as the title, as it is clear, short and straight to the point. I also identified the convention of using a serif typeface on the different stories of your contents page; this was used in magazines such as Q, so I decided to use this convention as serifs slow the eye of the reader down and therefore allow the audience to take information in more thoroughly.
I identified that the images on a contents page, are different sizes and are a range of candid and photo shoot pictures. This convention appeared in magazines such as NME and Q, I chose to follow that convention because of how candid adds realism and represents an environment the audience can relate to, while photo shoot pictures adds an element of professionalism to the magazine. I also noticed that on the contents pages of Q and NME they include a section where subscription information is, I used that concept but adapted it as an opportunity to offer digital content for free with a QR code, this also makes it more appealing for the audience as they are offered something extra.
On my double spread, I have used the convention of having one main image covering one page of the double page spread; I identified this on the NME article of Beady Eye. I found this convention effective for a double page spread, because it informs the audience the music artist the article is focused on. It also makes the layout seem balanced, with an equal amount of text and images on the spread. Another convention I identified was having the title run through the two pages, which I found on Haim’s article in Q, I used this convention as I liked the way it connected the two pages together. A convention I found essential with double page spreads, was page numbers in the bottom of each corner (with the exception of full page images), it also included the issue number/date and the magazine logo, I used this convention as it links to my contents page and helps the reader navigate through the magazine. The typography I have used for the title of the double page links to the typeface on the contents page title, this is part of my house style to show to pages belong to the same magazine.

How does your media product represent particular social groups?
On the front cover, I have included one image; this main image is of a female, who represents young women. She is wearing a check shirt that is buttoned up to top to show she is sophisticated and smart. However, she is wearing red lipstick, which suggests a strong personality and a nose ring, which adds edginess to her character. Her facial expression also adds to the rebellious nature created, especially as she is using direct address, which suggests she is confrontational. Therefore, it could be argued that she challenges the convention of having young women musicians, who are usually represented in music magazines as being sexualised and provocative. However, you could argue she is representing young women conventionally for an indie genre, which you would find examples of in Q magazine where the women are dressed more sophisticated and casual.
On the contents page I have also represented the social group of young women even further, by including a picture of another female artist. She is looking down, away from the camera, which emphasises her hairstyle of having a side shave and a plug in her ear, represented her in an individual way. She is holding headphones suggesting she is passionate about music and is under the caption ‘Can’t she get over Skrillex already?’. This reference to another music artist would create familiarity to the target audience, who already knows the story and also suggests the topic of relationships which is conventionally associated with young people and in particular females.

On the contents page, I have represented the social group of young males in three different ways. The first being the picture on the bottom left, he is looking down while playing the guitar, suggesting he is passionate about his music. This is also emphasised by the picture being black and white, which creates an atmospheric mood. The caption to go with the image says ‘Really feeling the emotion there Ben…’ this suggests he is emotion, showing to the audience he is a countertype of young males, as they are known for their laddish behaviour. The next male representation is shown of Lewis Watson in the top right; this picture is a candid shot and so creates a more realistic impression of a musician’s persona. He is surrounded by screaming girls, which is conventional for a young male singer, this image automatically informs the audience that the majority of his fan base are girls, but also that he has something which attracts them to him. This creates enigma and the audience will want to read on to create their own judgments. This is a contrast to the image of a lead singer from a band singing into a microphone, he has his hood up and a nose piercing, making himself come across quirkier compared to the other two male images.

On the double page spread, I have used another image to represent the singer Ben Howard, which is slightly different. I enhanced the colours of this image of Photoshop, creating a yellow tint to the image; this creates a warm mood and a more positive and happy representation of males, contrasting to the image on the contents page.

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
The media institution that would publish my magazine brand could be a company like Bauer Media Group, as they are a well-established media publishing company, meaning my audience would be able to recognise them and be more encouraged to buy it. Bauer Media Group have published similar magazines to mine, such as Q, which has become a successful magazine brand. However, I would be drawn to go for a publishing company that is more independent, as this means my magazine would be seen as being more competitive against the other current magazine brands. Therefore, I have chosen to have my magazine published by Attic London Ltd, who publish existing music magazine ‘Notion’, which is published monthly like my magazine and also has a similar audience. I would want to distribute my magazine in stores, using the traditional bricks and mortar method, but I would also want to distribute it digitally and have my music magazine available on e-books and tablets, this is so my magazine can keep up to date with technology as some of my target audience are modern as well as traditional.

Who would be the audience for your media product?
Firstly, the age of my primary target audience would be people who are aged 16 – 25 years old; this is due to the artists included in my magazine being of a similar age, allowing my audience to relate to the artists and also feel inspired by them. My questionnaire also shown me that 16 – 25 year olds is the main demographic that are interested in music magazines, therefore I felt this would be the most successful age range to target my magazine on. Furthermore, I also wanted the audience of my magazine to be young adults, as I wanted the layout and structure of my magazine to have a mature style.
The ethnicity of my primary audience would be of a white ethnic majority. This is conventional for audiences of indie magazines, such as Q and NME, as they do not include many artists who are of other ethnicities, as it could be argued that stereotypically Black and Asian cultures do not have a great interest in this type of music. This is also supported with the reason that there are no pictures in my magazine of people with a Black or Asian ethnicity, which is also the case in the current indie magazine NME and also the artists featured in the stories and headlines of my magazine are of a white majority.
The gender of my primary target audience would be both genders, male and female. This is because of the range of artists that feature in my magazine do not focus on one particular gender and I have chosen a colour scheme and content that would appeal to both.
The social class of my primary target audience would be middle class people, as I have priced my magazine at £3.99 per issue, therefore could be viewed as being expensive to some people. Furthermore, my magazine is going to be published monthly, middle class people generally have busy lives to earn money and so would not have time to buy a weekly magazine. Monthly magazines are also known to have more content and so the features inside would be used as being informative to the reader, however the content will also be used for escapism, allowing the reader to escape the stresses of everyday life.
On the other hand, my secondary audience would be people who have an interest in music and the indie genre more specifically, not depending on who they are as a person but what they have an interest in and if they are a fan of certain artists in particular.

How did you attract/address your audience?
On my front cover, one of the ways I addressed my target audience was using direct address on the main image and also images on the contents page. This meant the subject, was looking straight into the eyes of the audience and as a result the audience feel more included and attracted to buy the magazine. I also included images that were a mix of male and female subjects; this broadens my audience as I want my magazine to appeal to both genders. The ages of the artists in my images were young adults and teenagers; this is a similar age to my target audience. Therefore this will attract my target audience, as it uses the gratification theory of ‘personal identification’, as the audience would feel they can relate to the artists and be inspired by their behaviour.

Another way to attract my audience was including a QR code on the contents page, this gives the audience the opportunity to download free content, only if they have subscribed. This would appeal to my target audience, who are modern and have grown up with the rise in technology. Furthermore, one of my stories for my contents page is ‘BEST MUSIC APPS’, this appeals to my audience, because the story is about ‘music apps’ and the audience reading this will have an interest in music. An ‘app’ is an application for your smartphones or tablets, which is a specialised programme, especially as my magazine is targeted at a modern generation, It will appeal to them as nearly every 16 – 25 year old in the UK owns a phone. This story also attracts my target audience, as it creates enigma, because it doesn’t reveal who the ‘best’ apps are, the word ‘best’ is also a superlative making my audience want to know as there is nothing better. Furthermore, the QR code and the app feature also appeals to my audience as it fits into the gratification theory of ‘social interaction’, as it applies to digital content because it increases the social interaction between the audience and the company.

For the stories on my contents page, I used a range of techniques such as rhetorical questions, exclamation marks and personal pronouns  to name a few, this addresses my audience in a way that makes them feel like the stories are being aimed at them individually and would be more inclined to read it through persuasion. This makes my audience want to read on and therefore fits into the gratification theory of ‘entertainment’, as it shows one of the purposes of my magazine is so the audience can escape from the stress of their daily life. I have also included a house style in my magazine; this would appeal to my audience as it gives the magazine a consistent theme and layout throughout and giving it a more professional and clean look and therefore making it more aesthetically pleasing.

Furthermore, I also attracted my target audience by using artists who appeal to the genre of my magazine. As my magazine is of an indie genre I included artists such as The Vaccines, CHVRCHES, Peace, Dog is Dead and Phoenix, which fit into this genre and some of the artists I chose have also been included in features in other magazines, such as NME. Another way I made sure that my artists appeal to my audience was through the use of mise en scene, especially with costume and props. For the main image, the female subject was dressed in a blue check shirt, which is conventional for an indie style, she also had red lipstick on and a nose ring, which suggests a strong personality. The props I have used in my images, which are shown on the contents page, is of guitars, microphones and headphones. These props all add to the theme of music, which I wanted to create, one of the guitars used is also a classical guitar which suggests the genre of music, but also connotes a traditional style that would attract my audience.

Another way I attracted my target audience is having my magazine at a price of £3.99 for a monthly release. The price of £3.99 is average for a monthly release; however people who don’t buy it regularly would view it as being expensive, but I took into account my questionnaire to see what appealed to most people. A monthly release would appeal to the life style of my audience, who would be too busy to buy a weekly issue and so would be keen to buy my magazine.

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
The process of constructing this product was using digital programmes; therefore I have developed my skills on the design software Adobe Photoshop. Even though, I already felt confident using Photoshop as I gained experience from using the programme in Media Studies at GCSE and also Graphic Communication and Photography at A level, this project helped my understanding.
Furthermore, I took technology to my advantage and looked up online tutorials, where I learnt effective ways of how to edit pictures to make them look more professional. For example, fading backgrounds with the ‘layer mask’ tool made the subject of the image standout. I also learnt about the various tools to enhance colours and tones with ‘new adjustment layers’, such as ‘Curves’ which lets you adapt shadows, mid tones and highlights, and the ‘Brightness/Contrast’ tool, which lets you adapt the brightness and contrast of the image. Another tool I learnt on Photoshop, was the ‘plaster tool’, this was probably the most common tool I used on my images as it gave me the ability to erase any imperfections on my image, such as blemished skin on my artists and therefore gave my images a more professional look.

Furthermore, the school computers left my class at a disadvantage, as we were not able to download any fonts from the internet, this meant I had to go home and use the technology I had there to allow me to change the typography, which became tedious. However, half way through the project I started to use Apple Macs for my work, which I was already using in other subjects and therefore I felt it was more comfortable for me to use a Mac than a PC. I also felt that for me it was faster and more efficient to work with Macs, especially using the screen shot tool for my evaluation videos.

The way we submit our work is through an online blog ‘Wordpress’, this meant everything I created or developed had to be posted on there. It then became a routine of mine to save everything I did as a JPEG document as well as a Photoshop document where I’d still have the ability to edit it. I also found the blog useful, because it was a quick way to check your work and see the development of your magazine with your own eyes. I also found ‘Wordpress’ useful as all the coursework resources were on there and it also reminded me of deadlines and helped me stick to them.

Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
From the preliminary task to the full product, I learnt to consider the idea of white space as a design element, as I realised that not everywhere needs to be necessarily filled up. I show this in my double page spread, as I thought having white space above the title looked effective and also makes the kicker stand out more. As the preliminary task was to create a student magazine, I had to really think about my target audience, which would be people like me and I had to carefully think about what would appeal to me if I saw a magazine in school. This made me realise how important it is to know who your audience is, because then you have a clearer idea of what to put in your magazine and how to make it more appealing. Therefore, as a result this made me more aware of my audience’s needs in my music magazine.

I also considered typography, as I learnt that different typefaces create different styles and effects the readers view on the magazine. Therefore, I had to make sure the typography, went with my genre. As we had more time to design the full magazine product compared to the preliminary task, I felt I had more time to develop my ideas and create something more successful. We also had time to create more drafts, this was helpful as I had time to consider small details and refine little bits such as gutters and alleys in my layout, and kerning and leading in my text. With the help of rulers on Photoshop, the guides helped me to consider gutters and spacing things out equally, which I didn’t consider as much in my preliminary task.

Another key thing I have learnt, from my progression from the preliminary task to the full product, is how to make images more suitable for a magazine, by editing them and making them look appealing. For my preliminary task I did not edit the main image on the cover page as I did not think it was necessary. However, I learnt that having a more aesthetic image will attract more people. From the progression of the preliminary task I also took more time to consider the mise en scene of my images, making sure each image suited my genre, whether it was costume or props.

DIFFUSE Final Draft

21 Mar





Double Page Spread Development

13 Mar


The first stage of my double page spread was placing everything I wanted to include on the page. I placed the main image, which I had edited previously, and placed it one page of the double page spread. I did this, because I wanted there to be an equal amount of text and images so it didn’t intimidate the reader. I then anchored the headline of my article ‘Ben Howard’ on the double page spread so it connected the two pages together and created a continuous flow from the image to the text. Furthermore, I anchored the headline so it left white space at the top of the page, this was so it could be used as a design technique and make the headline standout more. I then added the stand first, I did this because I want to leave the reader intrigued in my article before they have read the main body text. I then added the peach and rose-coloured shapes, with low opacity, to link the pages but also to separate the headline from the stand first. The next thing I added was the pull quote, taken from the main body text and added the same colour shapes I used for the top of my page.  I added was the main body text, using the rulers and spacing the page out into three equal columns. I made sure my main body text included a drop cap, as this leads the audience into the main body text and makes it seem more appealing to read. Then the last thing I added was a page number, month of the issue and the name of the magazine in the bottom right of the page, this links to the contents page so the audience can use it as a navigation tool.




For the second stage of my double page spread I changed the leading and kerning of my main body text so it fitted in all of the page. I then brought the pull quote down so it was placed in the centre of the main body text and also centred the page, so it would be one of first things the audience see. This gives the reader a taste into what will be included in the article. The space at the bottom right of the article allowed me to include a by line and also a caption at the end of the main body, which informs the reader of the artists latest releases. I then the typography of the stand first and the page number, so it fitted in with my house style, showing the reader that the cover page, contents page and double page spread are all linked. I also made sure the gutters between the columns of the main body text were equal, this was so it creates a balance through the double page spread.




For the third stage of developing I then added two lines, this was so it boxed off the main body text and created a separation between the main body text and the stand first. The lines also created an invisible border at the bottom of the page, which draws the reader to the page number.




For the last stage of developing I changed the page number to be white and have a shape behind it, matching the contents page numbers. I then added a kicker at the top of my page, this is also used as another navigation tool and links to the contents page and front cover. It also reminds the reader of the colours which are the magazines house style, as the colours used for the rest of the page is peach and rose which challenge the convention of house style. However, I felt these colours fitted this page and the matched the colour of the image well, therefore linking the two pages together. I also made the stand first smaller so it makes the headline stand out even more and makes the page look less busy.

Double Page Spread Article

13 Mar

Benjamin John Howard, aka Ben Howard, is an English singer-songwriter, who has become a fast-rising star. The 25 year old musician goes against all conventions, with his everyday image, surfing roots and intricate, spellbinding guitar sound, showing other artists that playing your own instrument and word-of-mouth can get you a long way.

The Devonian musician, who is signed to Mumford & Son’s keyboardist Ben Lovett’s indie record  label Communion, surprised mainstream audience’s this month by bagging two trophies at the Brit Awards, his popularity caused controversy resulting in ‘Who the f*** is Ben Howard?’ to trend worldwide on Twitter. Ever since that day, he has emerged and sky-rocketed into the limelight, his single ‘Only Love’ revisiting the UK chart at number 4, beating the songs original place at number 26 in November 2011.

Even though, he is criticised for being ‘The New Boring’, this hasn’t fazed the young folk singer. He actually relishes on the idea of being anonymous, especially as the idea of fame scares him. He feels pressure when he hears about fans getting tattoos of his lyrics, as he feels there is a rise in expectations and has to impress everyone with new material or tour dates. He is a musician because he loves playing music and doing what he does, he says ‘there’s a big difference between people who make music to chart, make money and have a career playing music compared to people who play music for free’.It is surprising to some that this incredible artist has only been recognised of late, as he actually has released quite a bit of material already. Surfing from the age of 11, meant it gave him the oppourtunity to play at surf gigs in his teens, which is where his initial fan base started.

He claimed as a kid he started guitar because he to put words together and make up stuff, ‘your standard little love songs turned into your standard adolescent love songs’ then finally getting his own take on things in his late teens. Then in 2008, at the age of 21, he self-released his debut EP, Games in the Dark, which included five tracks, one of them being the upbeat song ‘Keep Your Head Up’. The following year, he released his second EP, These Waters, which included another six tracks. Both of these EPs aren’t available to purchase anymore, this adds a sense of sense of valuableness to his music that you won’t find anywhere else. The year of 2010, was the release of his third EP Old Pine, which added four more tracks to his collection. Finally, 2011 was the release of his debut album Every Kingdom which included 10 songs, with the deluxe version adding two bonus discs and six more songs for you to delve into. This album had a mix of new material and some songs from previous EPs, showing a clear journey of his music and how he got where he is today. Two more EPs have followed since then, ‘Ben Howard Live’ and the critically acclaimed ‘The Burgh Island’ EP, which has a significantly darker sound, where you can hear Ben play electric guitar rather than his traditional acoustic.

Writing songs about ‘places and people who come and out’ of his life, creates a real sense of imagery of the nature and world around him. With inspiration growing up from Joni Mitchell and John Martyn, you can always be reminded of his roots by his sound. If you are enchanted by his music, I personally recommend you see him live. That’s where you see the magic come to life, with his three man band, and really feel the heart and soul in his music. Listening to his music is a self-discovering journey full of nostalgia and reflectiveness, which we shouldn’t take for granted. We have to remember, he is still only young and we can expect to hear a lot more from him in the future.

Words by Sophie Norman/ Image by Thomas Wilson

Ben Howard’s ‘The Burgh Island’ EP has been out since 2nd November 2012 and is available on iTunes now.

PULL QUOTE: ‘I was quite an imagintive little kid’


More Original Images (unedited/edited/black and white)

7 Mar





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Contents Page Development

6 Mar


For the first stage of my contents page I arranged where the contents title would go, I then set out the page numbers into a column, including a ‘features’ and ‘regulars’ section. I did this so it made it easier for the audience to navigate through the magazine quicker. I also added a subscription section and my first image.



I then changed the title ‘contents’ to the same typeface as the cover page main cover line. This is so is creates a house style, making it clear to the audience that these pages are linked. I then added a circle space with the date of the issue inside, this reminds the reader whether the magazine is current or not. I then added my second image anchoring it in a way which makes it a neat column style.



The third stage of my contents page I changed the type of the page numbers so they fitted in with the house style. I also finished all my stories to go with the page numbers. I changed the subscription box so it goes across the width of the page and also changed the type to fit the house style. The next thing I added to the subscription box was two white shapes to make it fit in with the rest of the page, the white shapes create tension which makes the eyes of the reader follow the shape off the page. On the subscription box I also included a QR code, this is digital content and appeals to my modern audience. I also added my third image and page numbers on the images.



For the fourth stage of my magazine I added more information to the subscription box, creating a set of instructions for the reader to follow. I then added the rest of my images, making sure they had page numbers to go with them. I then changed the headline at the top of the page by adding a line going through the circle shape, to separate the title and the content and then added lines to the sides of the title to fill in the white space and make it look less bare.


For the final stage I made minor adjustments, making sure everything is in line and with equal gutters to create the clean and mature layout I am aiming for. I then added a caption to each picture, this creates amusement to the reader as the captions can be seen as witty, or even used as a way of telling the reader what the feature will be about or even who they are.