Design of Front Covers
In order to design the front cover of your magazine in a manner that is compatible with our needs and the needs of our retailers please take note of the following:
Firstly, we would like to emphasize the importance of printing a large and legible cover price on the front cover so that the numerals can be read quickly and accurately by cashiers ringing up sales or by our personnel processing incoming shipments and returns. The numerals should sharply contrast against the background so that they are visible.
Secondly, the magazine name should appear on the top of the magazine so that it will be visible, especially if the magazine is displayed in slot racks that many of our retailers use, where the lower portion is entirely obscured. The name as well as any text should be in bold letters and contrast well against the background. Do not hide a portion of the name behind an image as this may make it more difficult to identify the magazine. Make sure the title name is represented in an obvious way, even if you publish a special issue that features a unique heading that figures more prominently than the name itself. Otherwise retailers and our personnel are liable to mistake the issue heading for the title name, which can result in the misidentification of the magazine and erroneous reporting of shortages. If you change the name of your magazine you may want to include a tagline on the cover stating "formerly …", followed by the old name, for a few issues, until readers acclimate to the name change.
We suggest that you adopt a magazine name that as much as possible helps define it's purpose or subject matter. This can be sometimes be accomplished with the name alone but in other cases a subheading or tag line is very useful because it elaborates on the meaning of the name, which otherwise might be unclear. For example, the subheading of EXTRA magazine is "A Publication of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting." While the name EXTRA is on the vague side, the subheading forthrightly declares that the magazine is concerned with journalism and politics. The subheading of CO-OP AMERICAN QUARTERLY is "A Magazine for Building Economic Alternatives" which prevents the reader from concluding it covers co-op apartments and real estate. With the additional detail of subheadings our retailers can better determine which section of their store would be most appropriate to display your magazine. Avoid using names that may confuse the reader. For example, the name of one of our journals SCIENCE & SOCIETY can mislead the casual observer into thinking it is focused on scientific matters when it is mostly concerned with the social implications of political and economic theory.
Thirdly, the issue date should never reflect a month, set of months, season or other time range that does not correspond to the actual sales period of a magazine. A current issue of a magazine bearing an old date risks being returned prematurely by many of our dealers because they will think it is an expired issue. Dealers are used to working with mainstream magazines that commonly date 1-2 months in advance and with space at a premium they are inclined to create display space for newer magazines. Even if an issue date corresponds roughly to the on-sale date it will be viewed as outdated if the issue date does not also correspond to the expiration date. For example a "Spring" issue released in early May but expiring in July should be labeled "Summer" so that it will be current in late June and July. A simple way to circumvent this problem is to leave the date off the front cover and indicate a volume numbers or issue number instead. The issue date can still appear on an inside page. This is especially important for magazines that are behind schedule or are not published with sufficient regularity.
Fourthly, we recommend that you put a barcode on the front cover to allow for the scanning of merchandise. This helps us identify a magazine and track inventory. Click on the barcode option to read more about designing a barcode.