About American Magazine

The American dream in a magazine format

Magazines were a format used aside from radio and newspapers to advertise to a targeted audience. It was especially a popular medium in fashion, lifestyle, family values and activities both for men, women and teens.

Building a identity

Magazines often featured either a model(individual) or a family, building the "perfect" image and conveniently aimed products at the readers.

a perfect american family
A descriptive image of a family "dream"


Example 1

Portrait of Alexey Brodovitch
Portrait of Alexey Brodovitch

Alexey Brodovitch(1934-1958)

Russian born, known for his cover-work for Haper's Bazaar, a pioneer in bringing modernist ideas to America and to teach critical thinking to students about their creations.

Think critically! Do mistakes!

"This disease of our age is boredom... The way to combat this is by invention - by surprise. When I say a good picture has surprise value, I mean tat it stimulates my thinking."

Cover art of a Bazaar magazine
Cover art of a Bazaar magazine

Example 2

Portrait of Cipe Pineles
Portrait of Cipe Pineles

Cipe Pineles(1908-1991)

Austrian born. American educated and worked for Vogue, Woman overseas and Glamour. Main profession was Art director for these big publications.

First female art director!

Pineles repeatedly broke the glass ceiling in the design field. She was the first female member of the Art Director's Club in New York in 1943 and after being nominated for 10 years she became the first woman inducted into its Hall of Fame.

Cover art of a seventeen magazine
Cover art of a Seventeen magazine

Example 3

Portrait of Joseph Binder
Portrait of Joseph Binder

Joseph Binder(1805-1863)

Austrian born artist who baed his art on cubism and De Stijl principles. He influenved both Europe and America with his contrast filled and geometrical art style.

A great influencer!

Joseph focused on the psychological impact of colors and funded his own graphical studio in 1924, Vienna Graphics, Where he gained reputation as an advertising artist and poster designer.

poster art for New York World's Fair
Poster art of New York World's Fair


Typhography 1

There are often logos and text placed in relation to the model or object on the front covers. It can be masked partially behind or bent in different shapes and angles to drag the reader to the articles whitin the magazine.

Logo is fitted for the motive
Logo is fitted for the motive

Typhography 2

The logos used for the magazines are often the subject of the content or the main theme. Many are clean and slightly modified, while others are more fully custom designed to symbolize the main theme.

Usage of letters and strong colors to drag in readers


Example of a dynamic logo
Example of a dynamic logo


Usage of both seriffs and sans-seriffs (I refer back to the first image used on this page) seems to be a stylized choice for each and every magazine and their image. The thinner types of fonts is more aimed at a female audience, while the bolder aims at the more male audience.


Printerfriendly colors

Magazines were a printed product and the colors would need to be printed in the preferred color format to show them correctly. CMYK(Cyan, magenta, yellow and black). It was easier to preserve the painted colors rather than the first photographs in print work.

Use of contrast for effects

Using contrast colors of the titles would help the audience to easily identify the magazine used on the motive vs the backgrounds and would make them stand out for people to see who or what is featured.

Usage of principles

Most magazines would have their motives staged in different settings, Many quite balanced or unbalanced to show seriousness/unseriousness or angled to make a more dynamic look.

Center-aligned and rules of third motives

Motives would often appear in center og the covers, making them the main focal point. Other times the motive could be placed in the rules of third or according to the golden ratio.

Center-aligned for focus on the individual
center aligned for focus on the individual


Magazine cover-style timeline:

cover from the 30s cover from the 40s cover from the 50s cover from the 60s

Magazine covers later years:

cover image of cars cover image of vogue cover image for elle cover image for american home