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In my coursework project I aim to look at and investigate the differing techniques used by magazines to persuade and inform. The area of the magazines that I am going to concentrate on will be the front covers. I hope to investigate ways in which magazine front covers appeal to and attract the desired target audience. Age, sex, likes and dislikes are all elements which contribute towards the magazines audience. The magazines which I have chosen to focus on are Company, Now, More and Bliss.
All of these magazines are for women but are aimed at different age groups.
Company is aimed at readers who are roughly in the age category 18-25. Now is for readers from 17-23 years of age, More’s target audience are readers between the age of 18-23 and lastly, Bliss is aimed at readers 13-16. In order to investigate the techniques used, I will look at the lexis, grammar, layout, phonology and discourse features. Layout Magazine front covers are used for presentation and advertisement.
The look of the front cover has to relate to the contents of the magazine.
The editors need to make the magazine appeal to the target audience.
The magazine also needs to stand out from the shelf and attract attention from prospective buyers. The magazine name is very important and is usually situated at the top of the magazine front cover. The name is also usually emboldened so that the reader can clearly see and read the name. In Company, the title is in Sans serif and is also a different colour to the background of the magazine. By using Sans serif it gives the magazine a more modern look and is easier on the eye to read. The use of a different colour makes the name striking.
Out of all the other three magazines, Bliss, More and Now, only Bliss chooses to use a serif font. All of the magazines I am concentrating on have a large picture of a woman emblazoned across the front cover. This is the most eye-catching part of the front cover. I think that a picture of a woman is used so that readers know straight away that this is a magazine for women. On the front covers of Company, Bliss and Now a picture of a woman celebrity is used. This will not only attract readers but also, the readers might be the same age as the person on the front cover or have the same interests as her.
For example, Bliss has a picture of teen pop idol Samantha Mumba. Bliss’s target audience are teenagers who may listen to her music. There are also other smaller pictures of teen idols such as movie star Freddie Prince Jr and Billie Piper. Company magazine has a picture of Shaznay from All Saints. She may attract fans of this pop group and pull in more buyers for the magazine. Most of the text on the front cover is positioned around the photograph of the woman. Different colours, sizes and fonts separate captions of text.
The lexis used by all magazines is generally colloquial. Words such as ‘fab’, ‘stud’, ‘dud’ are used on the front cover of Company. ‘Fab’ could also be said to be an abbreviation of fabulous. An abbreviation could have been used on the front cover as it takes up less space but also because it fits in with the context of the cover. Bliss’s front cover does not show many signs of colloquialism. The language used on the front covers usually relates to the target audience, as this person may understand this form of slang or colloquial language.
The most frequent type of words used are positive connotations. More magazine uses lots of positive connotations such as ‘delight’, ‘treats’, ‘love’, and ‘beauty’. They may have chosen to use positive connotations as potential buyers might feel this magazine cheers them up and makes them feel good. Now magazine seems to use more negative connotations rather than positive ones. ‘Unanswered’, ‘heartbreak’, and ‘freak’ are just a few examples. By using negative connotations, people might feel that they can relate to the magazine if they are in a bad mood or feeling down.
Negative connotations also attract attention as potential buyers may find these words interesting. More magazine tends to use clichi?? s and rhyming words. ‘Bad hair day’ is a typical clichi??. ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall’ is a rhyming sentence. It also shows repetition of the vowel ‘a’. This is known as assonance. Sentence Structure With the magazine editors not having much room for full and complete sentences, smaller words and shortened sentences are often used. In fact I could not find any examples of a complex sentence.
The best example of a noun phrase would be on Now’s front cover; NP h NP h ‘Martine exclusive, on her year of heartbreak? and? the show? that’s going to change her life. ‘ The sentence is joined together by a non-lexical, function word, ‘and’. Most of this sentence is also post-modified. ‘On her year of heartbreak and the show that’s going to change her life’. I think that this is all a post modification of ‘Martine exclusive’. The magazine front covers I am using all use declarative and interrogative sentences.
An example of a declarative sentence would be ‘The girl who almost has everything’ which is on Bliss’s front cover. A declarative is a statement and an interrogative is a question such as ‘Do you want to be rich before you’re 30? ‘, seen on the front cover of Company magazine. The verb tense on all of the magazines is generally simple present although there are a few examples of simple past such as ‘I survived the Greek ferry disaster’ on Company’s front cover. Phonological Features Phonological features are a common occurrence on all front covers.
Alliteration can be seen on the front cover of Company, ‘Fab fashion ideas’. ‘Wham bam bag that man’ on the front cover of more could be said to be both assonance and a rhyming sentence. Magazines use these kinds of words or sentences, as they give ‘zest’ to the front cover. Shorter sentences are also easier to read than longer sentences. Conclusion I have found out that magazines mostly use shorter words and sentences on their front covers for two reasons. The first is that the magazine has a lot of information it needs to put on its cover and such a short space to do so.
Therefore, words are abbreviated and noun phrases are more commonly used rather than compound and complex sentences. The second reason is that shorter phrases give the magazine front cover more ‘punch’. The editors need to make the magazine attract an audience and sharp words or interesting phrases seem to do the job. This was an obvious factor on each of the magazine front covers. I expected to find more examples of sentence structure. I have also noticed that lots of visual images are used on the front covers. This helps to advertise the magazine if a picture of a famous person is on the cover.
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