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Design a Magazine Cover In Adobe Photoshop

Sample Magazine Cover Design
Sample Magazine Cover Design 

For this simple 7 step magazine cover tutorial we will be using just 2 images. The magazine is going to be a generic business magazine simply titled 'Business' for the purpose of this tutorial. The images are below and are both copyright free and can be downloaded from These images, especially the building will create linear perspective, which can be used as a compositional technique drawing the viewer into the image.

Step 1

Firstly you will need to create the canvas in Photoshop, to do this open Photoshop and go to File-> New and set the dimensions to 8.5 inches wide and 11 inches tall which are the industry standard dimensions for a magazine. You can read more about paper sizes here.

Step 2

Next go to File-> Open and open the building and city images into Photoshop. First use the move tool to drag and drop the building image onto the canvas, go to Edit-> Transform-> Scale and resize the image to the full size of the canvas. Now drag and drop the city image onto the canvas on top of the building layer, use Edit-> Transform-> Scale to stretch it beyond the width of the canvas. Next use Edit-> Transform-> Perspective and narrow the image at the top to give it a similar perspective to the building image.

Step 3

As the images are both in black and white, they can appear a bit dull so add some colour to the image by going to Image-> Adjustments-> Colour Balance. I added a value of -50 to achieve a cyan colour but you can try out different values, there is no right or wrong. To complete our work on the images, use the gradient tool to add a gradient overlay from black to empty on the city image going from the bottom up (see the image below).

Magazine Cover Design Stage 3

Step 4

To give the sense of a professional magazine cover, add an image of a barcode and some small text with a price and an issue date. Use File > Place to import the image of the barcode and position it where you would like. For the text, create a text box and type in the text. You can then use Edit > Transform > Rotate to align it vertically with the barcode as shown below.

Magazine Cover Design Stage 4

Step 5

Next we will add some semi-transparent rectangular tabs that will act as contrast backgrounds for our sub headings. To create these tabs use the rectangular shape tool. This will automatically put the tabs on separate layers, making it easier to move them around, change their colours and their layer opacity. Set up the tabs as shown in the image below, once again the choice of colours used is up to you. The positioning of the tabs creates an element of symmetry within the image as their ascending angle mirrors that of the building.

Magazine Cover Design Stage 5

Step 6

We will now begin to add the text. First the heading, create a text box the width of the canvas by clicking and dragging using the text tool, now type the title 'Business' in the font BankGothic Md BT, font size of 150pt. While still on the text layer, I have edited the text settings in the character window by setting a text height of 120% and a tracking value of -100. I have put the text in yellow but you can choose a different colour if you like. Now go to Layer-> Layer Style-> Drop shadow and add a drop shadow effect to the text as shown in the image below.

Magazine Cover Design Stage 6

Step 7

Finally, get creative and add your own subheading stories. For the subheadings I used the font Agency FB in font size 30pt for the first 3 stories and font size 36pt for the 'Weekly Special'. The fonts chosen for the text were selected as they are plain, clear and solid which is appropriate to the style of magazine.

For different magazine types other fonts would be more appropriate, but always ensure the text is readable. For more information on fonts go to our notes on fonts.  And when your ready to create your own magazine cover design start off with our article on Magazine Cover Design Features.

Completed Magazine Cover Design
Completed Magazine Cover Design

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