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If you’d like to find out more about how our creative muscle can help you grow your business through great design, please get in touch.

Contact us

If you’d like to find out more about how our creative muscle can help you grow your business through great design, please get in touch.

Meaningful Magazines: A Look Behind the Cover

Now that we’ve established the basic rules of magazine design, let me take you through the inner workings of a successful publication, Outsider, and analyze what makes this magazine tick.

In order to help you all grasp these concepts with a little more ease, we’ll be breaking these descriptions down into two parts. Today, we will be focussing on the front-end of the magazine as well as it’s colour palette and typography.

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Understand the Audience

The first thing that you need to acknowledge is the audience to which you are catering. In this case, Outsider is directed towards athletes, adventurers, and any person who whole-heartedly enjoys the thrill of the outdoors. 

As I have stated before, Outsider’s primary goal is to motivate readers to uncover and define their own personal day-to-day adventures and provide them with the tools, products and information to fulfil such adventures. The publication focuses on embracing the rugged beauty and wonder of the outdoors, and it needed a format that visually communicated this ideal.

So, now that we have a firm grasp on who our audience is, let’s leap into the ways in which the design of this magazine support’s the brand’s goal.

The Cover

The attention-grabbing cover of Outsider is based around a simple principle - beauty in simplicity.

The bold, sturdy font (Gotham) of the title parallels the powerful, steadfast nature of the earth. The initial “O” in the title also dawns the logo of Outsider as a brand, taking the form of a compass, highlighting the epic counts of adventure one will encounter in the coming pages. 

Further complimenting the pathos of the title’s font, the lead photograph on the cover of each issue of Outsider is nothing short of awe-inspiring. You’ve heard of the cliche saying “A picture is worth a thousand words?” Well, the design of this cover certainly lets the latest adventure-riddled photograph do the talking.

Each leading image on the cover is carefully selected to grab any thrill-seeker or nature-lover’s attention. It also gives readers a taste of what is to come in the magazine - setting the tone for the entire issue. 

For example, this issue (the August 2018 issue) plasters an absolutely epic photograph of Irish Mountaineer Jason Black scaling the deadliest mountain in the world, K2. High above the clouds, Black wears an oxygen mask and boldly climbs a nearly vertical ice-sheet, with the rest of his team not far behind. Simply glancing at this intimidating photograph is enough to make anybody’s toes curl, but is also more than enough to lure readers to flip to the next page, where they will encounter articles about danger and peril as well as further tales and photographs depicting nature in it’s purest form.

However, in the magazine’s Spring 2019 edition, the leading photograph presents a serene hiker standing calmly atop a rock formation in the Italian Dolomites, calmly breathing in the beauty and peace of his surrounding landscape. 

This is still an attention-grabbing photograph, but it conveys a completely different tone than that of the Autumn issue. This photograph induces wonder and tranquillity - two themes that run throughout the entirety of the Spring issue.

All of these factors work on the first level of engagement, the eye-catching level that draws attention to the magazine and encourages readers to flip to the next page.

Colour Palette

The colour palette that Nugno chose for the new editions of Outsider further elevates the brand’s message. The matte, earthy colours compliment each issue’s cover photo, exemplifying the kind of adventure-driven, nature-bound experiences exposed in the issue. 

For this brand, colours such as bright lime-green or fluorescent yellow would be counter-productive. The chosen colours are just subtle enough that they issue a sense of groundedness, but are also just lively enough to brighten each cover and draw readers in. 

The Front of the Magazine

As you recall, last week we spoke about the three different parts of the magazine, the front, the middle, and the back. Let’s take a look at what Outsider does to captivate their readers all the way to the last page.

The front of the magazine will work with the second level of engagement - the light reading level.

Contents Page

Outsider’s contents page is short, simple, and sweet. The thin, clean font of the Averta font family provides easy reading, letting the reader peruse at their leisure to quickly scan what will actually be in the issue, and will easily allow them to then choose if they wish to carry on reading.

Editor’s Note

Next comes the editor’s note. This is a page that expertly “works the white space.” Here, a writer (usually the editor) will introduce the entire magazine. In the Spring 2019 issue, Roisin Finlay, the Issue Editor of Outsider, describes her incredible hiking experience in the Italian Dolomites. This quick introduction sets the tone for this particular issue, which will be further highlighted by the issue’s main article about the Dolomites.


The contributor's list is a simple grid system that pays tribute to those who aided in the making of the magazine without being too “showy” or “convoluted.” 

In Numbers

The front of the book is a fabulous place to enter fun facts, and Outsider has put it’s own twist on this section. They have created an “In Numbers” page very close to the front of the magazine. This page states fun facts about recent accomplishments in the Irish outdoor/adventure scene. The fun, loose design of this page creates a lively, entertaining page and provides light reading and engaging facts. 


Next comes the magazine’s photo gallery, where the pictures do all the talking. In the Autumn 2018 issue, Outsider gathered captivating photos of the first female porters to ever hike the Inca Trail in Peru.

The gallery spans four pages, and each photograph covers the entirety of each page, if not two whole pages. The gallery works to mesmerize the readers, so very little text is required. A quick paragraph or two off to the side provides context for the photos, but other than that, the photos are the main feature. 

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About Nugno

Nugno is a Branding & Digital Design studio. Founded and run by strategic branding & digital design experts that shares a love of innovation, design and digital connection.

We create strategy and design with production across all platforms. We’re masters of brand identity and on point with websites and apps. Our skills extend to designing books people want to read and environments they feel comfortable in. We also create engaging motion design and much more.

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Learn more at Nugno services or follow us on Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram Twitter, #bynugno.

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Luca Amoriello, Director
Tel: +353 (0)87 383 2134