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You need to research, plan, produce and evaluate a magazine cover. (Or a film poster if you prefer. See here.)

Research - P1, M1, D1

Your magazine cover should look authentic, so the first thing to do is to look at and analyse some covers similar to what you want to produce. Print and annotate them or use Illustrator to produce some notes. (Look at the assessment criteria. If you want a distinction, this needs to be 'detailed.' 2 examples is plenty.)

Note that you also need to show evidence of logistical planning - that is, organisational planning. Have you booked the studio and equipment? Have you contacted a model? Have you produced some test shots? Keep the shots and emails and Whatsapp messages as evidence!

Note how much the 'Men's Strength' piece on the left is based on the real-life example 'Men's Health.' This is fine - we learn by copying. However, try to be ambitious - there were opportunities to have more adventurous design choices which were not taken!

Note that the word 'ambitious' crops up a couple of times in the Distinction criteria. Making a magazine cover can be very easy if you want it to be, but equally, there are very complex options available. You need to be seeking out examples which look quite difficult to replicate and which will force you out of your comfort zone. Once you have an idea, you need to produce a mock up - a very quick sketch of what you want your cover to look like. This is basically just to make sure you have room for everything - it does not need to be beautiful. The one on the right is about as well-presented as they ever are.

Production - P2, M2, D2

Time to make it! You need some photographs, presumably. Are they studio shots? You should have booked the studio, camera, tripod, lights, and asked the technicians to be there to help! (You can book this for class time, by the way.) Your model should know what to wear. (Hint - plain clothes are generally going to work better than patterned.) Do you want to put some make up on them? (It helps a lot to kill reflections.) If so, get it organised. If you can't do it, get someone who can! Take MANY shots.

Once you have your images (and remember, ambitious students will probably be putting more than one on a magazine cover...), you can use Photoshop to enhance the image and to put the whole cover together. We like to print them for display, so your project should be at least A3 size.

Spend time getting the colour and text just right - text in particular is often overlooked by students.

Evaluation - P3, M3, D3

Finally, a short evaluation. (Aim for 500 - 1000 words.) Look at the criteria - to get distinction, you will need to describe, then analyse, then evaluate what you did. To put it another way, answer these questions over and over:

  • What did you do? (Describe. Pass.)

  • Why did you do it? What were you trying to achieve? (Analyse. Merit.)

  • Did it work? Why and/ or why not? (Evaluate. Distinction.)

Analyse both the process - your research, organisation, time management - and the produce itself - how authentic and creative and effective is your cover? Note that the distinction criteria also asks you to make reference to real-life examples. You should compare your piece to authentic magazine covers in order to judge the quality and success of your own work.

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