Content design is not an obvious publishing term. Your magazine or other periodical cannot simply rely on good content and good design. The content itself must be researched and geared toward the core audiences of your publication for purely business-centric reasons. These choices ultimately flow from your periodical’s mission, and may impact your brand.
Content design can include many different aspects of programming (“coding”), brand research, competitor intelligence, writing, graphic design, and UI (user interface design). Together, these disciplines make up content design.
CI can unveil how competitors within your niche are scoring points with their (and your) intended audiences. The graphic design of the periodical in print will demonstrate certain differences from online graphic design. The difference can provide insights as to how your competitor understands the imperatives of their audience.
This helps you to understand where their audience traits end and your own begin. A magazine about music, for example, will ultimately have differing imperatives than on on haute couture fashion, even if both presumably are focused on the same age and gender demographic. Music magazine audiences overall often venture beyond stereotypes whereas some magazine genres may appeal directly to a narrow cross-section of demographic traits.
This allows the publisher to know how best to design graphic elements intelligently. Color palette should be used wisely in relation to your actual audience demographics and the predominant mood involved in their core interests. For instance, black and red are key colors used in online gaming magazines due to the competitiveness of the color red and the seriousness of the color black. Competitive seriousness are key elements of the online gamer mentality for most fast-paced action-oriented games.
Moreover, some choices like typography and spacing may impact textual content design. Silly fonts won’t go over well with a news magazine audience trying to get serious about a current issue. They might, however, work well with an alternative music magazine aimed at 18-26 middle class college students. Such visual elements can contribute to the overall tone of the articles and of the magazine brand itself.
Research & writing
Like with the graphic design model, textual content can have a distinct valence, angle, and voice that differs on the same subject matter that differs between periodicals. A magazine about yachts, for example, won’t likely be very DIY, but will focus more on luxury lifestyle consumer choices that go well with the purchase of a yacht.
The text, then, should take the subject matter of an article with this angle and corresponding demographics in view. The valence may be extremely different from say a magazine about current events with a politically partisan slant.
Textual content subject matter, tone, and valence are key factors. These can all contribute to very different graphic design choices. And likewise, graphic design may frame the text in incongruent ways. Special care must be taken to match graphic design with the textual content. Likewise, both must conform to the overall audiences developed in the brand research phase of developing your magazine or periodical.
When taking your magazine or periodical online, it’s not enough to simply provide a magazine-like experience online. Providing a magazine-oriented experience of an online publication is useful., but the requirements of online engagement are also a factor to be considered.
By enhancing the experience of navigation and of consuming the content itself, the user experience overall is heightened. Highlighting, bookmarking, and commenting allow greater engagement and the creation of the feeling of community of like-minded peers. In particular, young audiences are more inclined to make connections online than than older counterparts.
Online apps and websites provide ways to make the experience of being online less painful or irritating, since many things can go awry when surfing on a contraption for the right information and trying to consistently press tiny screen-represented buttons or having to touch-click site links accurately.
Your magazine or periodical should provide easier ways to navigate to key sections. Searches should be facilitated without demanding constant user effort.
Editor-in-Chief at Techgen Media Group.
Vice President of International Digital and Social Media Content for the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners.
Founder & CEO, BleuLife Media Group, Inc
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