I’ve always wanted to feature on the cover of a magazine, but since that hasn’t happened yet, I’ve got a shortcut to get there :). So, I chose LFI, the Leica Fotographie International magazine for Leica owners. And nope, I don’t have a Leica either, though I do aspire to own a M10 Monochrome. But, since picking one up to look at, at a trade show, I fell in love with the pure blacks and whites that the monochrome sensor delivers. That’s a separate blog post that I’ll get to write at somepoint.
Anyway, using Adobe InDesign, which I use more or less daily, I decided to have some fun and put together a magazine cover featuring some of my photographs of Cardiff Bay. Now, armed with the powerful design tool, I am ready to turn this dream into reality. To not just capture a moment, but to frame it, design it, and present it in a way that translates my vision into a cover-worthy masterpiece.
Designing a photography journal front cover in InDesign with your own images involves several steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create an eye-catching and professional cover design:
- Set up the document:
a. Open Adobe InDesign and create a new document (File > New > Document).
b. I set up the document to the same exact size as the LFI magazine [215mm x 460 – remember you’ll need to prepare a double page spread] and gave it 3mm bleed.
c. Click “Create” to open your new document.
- Set up the number of pages that you want. In my case, I set up an 8-page document
- Using a copy of LFI, I then set about copying the titles of the featured articles and sub-articles on the cover in a font that more or less matched exactly. I’m not a font expert, and I suspect LFI use their own typeface, but this was close enough for me.
- Prepare rules ready to line up the images so that the right amount of white space is around each image and each element on the front page.
- Place the main image onto the front page and position it:
a. Use the shortcut Ctrl/Cmd+D to import your chosen images, this is always much faster than going to the top menu bar and selecting ‘File -> Paste Image’.
b. Navigate to the folder where your images are stored and select the one you want to use.
c. Click “Open” to place the images in your document.
d. Click and drag the images onto the canvas.
e. Use the Selection Tool (V) to resize, rotate, and move the images to your desired positions.
- Create a title and other text elements:
a. Use the Type Tool (T) to create text boxes for your magazine’s title, tagline, and featured article headlines.
b. Using the appropriate fonts, font sizes, and colours to copy the same format.
c. Position the text elements on the cover, ensuring they are easily readable and complement the images.
- Add design elements:
a. I created a simple barcode and placed this into the right position to keep this as consistent as possible.
- Fine-tune the layout:
a. Use the Align panel and Smart Guides to ensure proper alignment and spacing between elements.
- On the inner pages, I kept the same theme as the issue I was copying the work from, just changing the images to my own. Then once everything was in place, I was ready to export it as a hi-resolution PDF.
- Export and save your work:
a. Once you’re satisfied with your front cover design, go to File > Export or press Ctrl/Cmd+E.
b. Choose the desired format (PDF, JPEG, or PNG) and set the necessary export options.
c. Click “Save” to export your magazine front cover.
By following these steps, I had myself a magazine cover in an hour or so’s work. InDesign is fiddly, and requires plenty of concentration. But, like all good things that take a lot of effort, and the result is rewarding to say the least!
Here’s the full, final PDF version of my Leica Fotographie International magazine cover for June 2022.