Blog > Design Services > The Art of Magazine Design: How Designers Shape the Reading Experience

What Do Magazine Designers Do?

October 11, 2023
min read

Why Magazine Design Still Captivates

Though the world today seems to be dominated by digital screens and scrollable online content, the timeless allure of printed material still remains.

Why shouldn’t it?

Those crisp, glossy pages, the smell of freshly printed paper, the deliciously tangible experience of holding a book and turning its pages? You just can’t beat it.

This is why magazines and printed books are still in demand, despite so much content being available online. But in order for a physical book or magazine to compete with that digital content, it’s got to give the reader a great experience that goes beyond just the sense of touch. 

It must engage them from multiple angles—  from well-written content to beautifully designed pages.

So, how do you ensure that you’re giving your customers the best reading experience that you can?

By hiring a professional magazine or printed book designer, that’s how.

Why exactly do you need a professional? Today’s blog is here to answer that question. We’re taking you through all of the ways a professional’s touch can elevate your content and give your customers the reading experience they deserve.

What Does a Magazine Designer Do?

A magazine designer (or a designer for any kind of printed book) plays a crucial role in the publication of your content, both print and digital.

Though you may have an art director or photo director on your payroll who’s in charge of providing the photos and images you need for your content, the graphic designer is the special person (or persons) who put it all together into a finished product.

They use advanced design software to create engaging illustrations for your content or to edit existing photos to perfection. 

They also decide on the page composition of a magazine, which is how best to lay out and structure the text and design elements on each page, including images, typography, and color palette, to keep your final product balanced and cohesive from one page to the next.

It’s a huge job and, when done well, can really enhance and support your written content.

How Magazine Designers Shape the Reading Experience

So, now that you know a little more about what a magazine designer does, here are the many ways these professionals use their artistic talent and design experience to make your magazines or printed books both visually appealing and a joy to read.

Compelling Cover Design

We’ve written previously about how a great front cover is an essential part of attracting more readers and, consequently, selling more books.

If you missed it, you can read more about it here. (Yes, we know it’s for eBook covers, but it’s the same principle!)

More so than even eBooks, a magazine cover is its bread and butter. Seriously. There are organizations out there like the Maggies whose sole reason for existing is to nominate and award the most eye-catching and awe-inspiring magazine covers printed each year.

Your cover design is kind of a big deal, is what we’re getting at.

This is where your designer excels. A professional graphic designer knows all of the latest design trends and can ensure that your covers are so enticing that your potential readers can’t help but to stop what they’re doing and take some time to peruse your content.

Page Composition

We touched on this earlier in the article, but it bears repeating. 

The way the articles and images are laid out in your printed work plays a huge role in whether or not a reader keeps flipping those pages. 

A poor layout template makes for a confusing read, but good layout, like the kind a professional designer can do? That’s what guides your reader effortlessly through your content.

Designers know this and know how to make your content a breeze to navigate. They skillfully balance text with images, make sure your pages are aligned, and know just what engaging graphics to use for user-friendly content that keeps a reader coming back for more.


By choosing fonts and styles that work best with the subject matter of your printed book or magazine, a designer can greatly enhance the quality of your content.

And it’s not just about aesthetics either; a good designer can use your font to make your magazine more readable and help convey the right message that perfectly fits with the theme of your written content.

They also establish a type hierarchy to guide readers through the content, keep them reading, and call attention to key information.

In addition to that, knowledge about sans serif text, spacing, kerning, white space, type scale and other things a non-designer wouldn’t think of gives your content that polished and professional look you strive for in every publication.

Color Palette

A color palette for magazine design.

Colors have a bigger impact than you think! 

But a graphic design pro already knows this and wields their colors wisely. They know how to use color psychology to influence your readers and evoke the precise emotions you want them to experience as they read or skim through your images. 

Whether the goal is to create a tranquil reading experience, urge your reader to purchase products, or to give them that feeling of exclusivity that your brand is known for, the right colors can do the trick.

A professional designer is also skilled at selecting a cohesive color palette that keeps every page of your book or magazine on brand and telling your story.

Images and Illustrations

Images and photos are just about the most crucial aspect of a magazine or print book reading experience. 

Not just as decorative elements either, but as integral components of your work that can make or break how your readers engage with your content, get your brand noticed, and win you awards and recognition.

An experienced graphic designer knows how to strategically place each graphic on your page in a way that both resonates with your reader and makes each individual page a true work of art.

The right images also enhance the content of your articles and your brand. Whether your printed material is featuring images of your products, showcasing the lifestyle your products or services make possible, or illustrating a certain concept you’re trying to explain, a good designer can make them shine and boost your brand.

Brand Consistency

Though every one of your books and magazines may look different, they still need to feel like one cohesive part of your brand. 

A professional magazine or print designer can keep your brand identity consistent through every article and every page, ensuring that there is no doubt what brand your magazine belongs to.

(And if you’re worried that your brand identity isn’t strong enough for this to happen, then a good graphic designer can help you out with that too. Check out our logo and branding services page for more information.)

Having a recognizable and strong brand identity is extremely important for your brand consistency and to ensure that anyone who works on your collateral has the guidelines they need to maintain your unique identity.

Motivate Your Reader

By taking all of these steps, from placement of text to choosing the right font, to selecting the perfect color palette and photos, a professional magazine designer is able to guide your readers through your content and motivate them to keep turning the page, keep reading, and keep enjoying your content.

After all, reading a magazine or printed book should be an engaging and enjoyable experience (that’s why they’re in doctor’s offices, right?) and a professional magazine designer has the knowledge and power to make that happen for your brand.

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Need a Special Person to Elevate Your Printed Content?

If you’re convinced that you should absolutely hire a professional graphic designer for your next magazine, printed book, or other long-form content publication, you might be wondering where you can find that special someone who offers these services.

Allow us to help you out. 

There are a few options available to you. You can take your chances with the freelance marketplace … though you’ll have to take the time to source and manage your creatives on your own time. It can also be a bit of a crapshoot finding the right person for the job. Someone who not only has the skill set you need but is reliable and can offer you the quality you’re looking for. 

Another option is to hire a design agency. You’ll get the quality you’re looking for and you won’t have to manage or source your creative talent, but it can get pricey.  Expensive monthly retainers can break your budget before you get your magazine to the shelves.

Alternatively, you can get the best of both worlds and partner with Designity.

Designity offers you the best of both the freelance marketplace and a traditional design agency. We are made up of the top 3% of US-based creative talent, including graphic designers, illustrators, artists, and all of the talent you need to get your magazine or printed books from conception to the printing presses.

And with a dedicated Creative Director on your side, you won’t have to worry about sourcing or managing Creatives. Your Creative Director takes the reins on your whole project and all you ever have to do is approve deliverables and focus on everything else already on your plate.

If a Designity partnership sounds interesting to you, take a look at our Presentations and Publications services pages and our Magazine and Printed Book services to see what we’ve been able to do for other companies and what we can do for you too.

What kind of reading experience do you want to give your loyal customers?

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About the author:
Sara Lopez
Sara is a Texas-based copywriter.
Interested in content collaboration? Email at
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