kerrang! cover analysis
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By Luka Delic
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Eye Flow The eye flow of this cover follows the conventionseen generally on magazine (music) front covers,employing the “reverse-S” shape for the eye flow of the cover, as represented by the curved blue line on the cover to the left. The eye flow begins at the top left, where the masthead, which is in capital letters, large, bold and in a colour that contrasts the background (white font against dark background), captures the reader’s attention. The obscuring of the masthead on the right side of the cover by one of the cover people, leads the reader to concentrate on his face. The eye flow that continues to the main coverline, as a result of its large font, boldness and the use of a red layer for its background, to emphasise the words “PARKWAY DRIVE”. It then continues through the explanatory text below the coverline, due to the contrast of the yellow brush and the black large, capital font. The bright colour of yellow captures the attention of the reader’s eyes. Afterwards, the eye flow continues through to the bottom right of the magazine, to the end of the kickers on the right.
Sections of the CoverThe masthead of Kerrang! is large sized and goes across horizontally from the top left edge of the page to the top right, which is the norm for most magazines. On this cover, the masthead is white, but the colour usually
MAIN COVERLINEThe font of the coverline is the largest on the cover, except for the masthead, as Kerrang! want the coverline to be one of the first elements of the cover the reader see. The font mostly matches the masthead, which was what I also found in the other front cover of NME that I looked at. Additionally, it is white and is an Impact font, although the embellishments suggest a Grunge influence in the font. The red brush used as the background emphasises the words“PARKWAY DRIVE”. The audience can ascertain that, as Kerrang! is a music magazine, that the words
“PARKWAY DRIVE” are a band, and as the cover image is a group shot, that the central image consists of the members of ‘Parkway Drive’. Additionally, the main coverline is tilted slightly with the right higher than the left part. Collectively, the tilt, the grunge/impact font and the colours used suggest the modern and tough nature of “Parkway Drive” and of Kerrang! as a magazine.
changes every issue. The font of the masthead is an Impact yet the embellishments present suggest that it is a Grunge font. The features that make it an Impact font (the capital letters, boldness, etc…) indicate that the magazine is strong and the fact that it is the largest font on the cover suggests its importance is above anything else written on the page. The Grunge aspect of the masthead suggests the modernity of the magazine and its audience, as the Grunge “movement” only started recently. The masthead elicits a type of eclectic quality through the combination of elements present on the front cover that show that the magazine mainly focuses on rock and alternative music.
Sections of the Cover (cont…)
The role of a splatter is to alert the audience and capture their attention to the information written inside it. The splatter here is relatively small, with the shape of a circle and sharp edges going out of it. This unique shape is one of the reasons it is able to attract attention from the reader. The impact font and yellow colour used for the word “PLUS!” distinguishes it from the other words on the cover and from the font used in the kicker, which is helpful as the splatter is used to introduce the kicker and attracts the audience to reading from the splatter horizontally to the end of the kicker.
The kicker here is located on the bottom of the page, which is one of the usual locations it is found at. The job of the kicker is to inform the reader about some of the content that will be found inside the magazine, but in short phrases that have some sort of meaning to the audience. The phrases here, such as “A DAY TO REMEMBER”, are names of bands that are mentioned in some form or another inside the magazine. The font is smaller than the coverlines as kickers are not supposed to take up a large space. They are supposed to persuade a reader to read the magazine with the mention of a few words (a band in this case) that they feel they have a personal connection with, without using too much space of the cover.
Colour SchemeKerrang! is known for using unusual colour schemes and for employing a wide range of colours on its front cover, as this cover shows. The colours used are white, green, black, red and yellow. Front covers of other music magazines usually have a maximum of 3 colours, and therefore Kerrang! break the mould in this compartment. The colour of the coverlines are mostly white, although one is yellow, so there is clearly a pattern and structure to the colour scheme, although less restrained than other music magazines. The high variety of colour gives out the feeling of a hyper-real and eclectic atmosphere, which matches the feeling that rock, alternative and “grunge music” elicit to their fans.
LanguageThe “access all areas” phrase is something that is usually seen on music magazines to suggest a certain exclusivity or at least full coverage of a particular event or band. This part of the strapline clearly entices the reader as it suggests that they will receive an complete, fully rounded glimpse into this event/artist.
This explanatory text is an example of the direct address to the audience that the front cover employs. With the use of the personal pronoun “you” Kerrang! create the effect that the reader is part of the magazine, and draw the reader into the magazine.
The use of exclamation marks is found throughout the cover, in order to symbolise something as exciting, and therefore make it seem more exciting to the audience.
Being a band magazine, artists and bands are mentioned throughout. If a reader sees that a band they like is in the magazine’s content than they will be more likely to purchase the magazine.
Mise en sceneThe central image here is a group medium shot of 5 men, suggesting that they are the members of a band, given that this is a music magazine. The band fill up the frame suggesting that they The lighting is bright, with their faces lit up clearly. The band collectively seem to be wearing casual and smart clothing, suggesting that they take their music seriously yet are here to have fun. However, there is a juxtaposition between this and their facial features, as none of them are smiling. On the other hand, their faces do not emit a particular seriousness. These neutral faces may be attempting to create the connotation that they are ‘cool’. Additionally, the band members are looking directly into the lens, creating the impression that they want the audience’s attention, in contrast to if they were looking away from the camera, which would create the impression of detachment from the audience.Additionally, there are several other additional images on the cover, mainly with people playing electronic guitar and pulling faces. These contribute to create a rock n’ roll tone on the front cover.
Final Thoughts Kerrang!’s covers are notable for having strange colour schemes, multiple images on the front cover besides the central cover image and being cluttered with ‘content’. This front cover is no exception. However, I do feel that altogether it is quite impressive in the way it manages to convey an eclectic atmosphere that no doubt targets Kerrang!’s target audience of young adult males that are interested in the rock and alternative genres. The use of additional images is a good idea but I think it detracts from the cover image as well as other aspects of the cover. I like the central image as it selects to use a group shot to capture a band as the cover people, rather than a close up shot of a single artist. This will provide me with a thought to consider when I create my front cover.