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Kerrang! Circulation 44,013
“Kerrang! will ensure that we are constantly appealing to our spectrum of readers. From the younger teenage readers who are more open to different genres of rock music – from emo to thrash etc, to the readers who respect Kerrang! as an authority when it comes to our scene’s heritage bands.
Each issue will include a balance of bands and scenes to guarantee that we’re providing for our readers’ need for variety and their passionate appetite for their favourite bands as well as their desire to be introduced to NEW MuSIC within our world.
We will focus on the BIGGEST things that are going on in our world each week, as well as guaranteeing that we are giving our main base of younger readers everything they need to get into, on top of this the interest in older, harder bands, cementing our role as an educator.”
Nichola Browne – Editor
Jim, 22, lives and breathes rock music: it informs his choice of friends, his hobbies, leisure time, attitudes, fashion sense and lifestyle.
Above all he is fanatical about THEIR music. He engages with music 24/7, from the minute he wakes up ‘til the minute he falls asleep: when he is not listening to music or watching music TV, he is talking to his friends about music, attending gigs or playing instruments and dreaming about rock stardom.
He is plugged in, sharp, has a strong moral code and rejoices in his individuality. He is a fashion trend setter in his peer group but he is heavily influenced by musical icons and scenes. Like the bands he supports he is extremely loyal to the brands he trusts.The way he looks and the clothes he wears is integral to communicating ‘his identity’ to the world.
Bauer Media Group
Kerrang! was first published on June 6, 1981 as a one-off supplement in ‘The Sounds’ Newspaper. In the United Kingdom Kerrang! magazine is published by Bauer Consumer Media and had also become the world’s biggest selling rock magazine.
The Bauer Publishing Group has grown into a worldwide publishing empire, despite having started out with their company in a small printing house. In 1987, Bauer Publishing Group first entered the UK magazine industry with products such as ‘Bella’, and now in the 21st Century they have 6,600 employees and an annual turnover of 1.79 billion Euros. The publishing company is owned by four generations of the Bauer family, in which they own 238 magazines including some of the UK’s biggest sellers such as Closer, Heat, Mojo, FHM and Kerrang!. Additionally they own TV and radio stations worldwide in 15 various countries.
· Issue No 1401
· Feb 11, 2012
For the first aspect of this textual analysis of Kerrang! Magazine, I will be looking at the front cover. The front page of the magazine can be described as the most important of the whole media product, as Click and Baird (1990) stated ‘it is the magazine’s face...Like a person’s face it is the primary indicator of a personality’. The front cover it what appeals to the reader and entices them to pick it up in the first place, as Morrish (1996) identifies ‘the fundamental thing is for the cover to sell the issue, both to your regular readers... and to other people’s readers, who might be looking for a change’.
From looking upon the front cover of this particular Kerrang! issue, the two dominant colours that catch the audience’s eye are yellow and red. Yellow is known for its brightness and distinct ability to draw attention, for example being used in hi-viz clothing, however this concept does not differ in terms of the editorial and magazine industry. The colour yellow was used for the masthead, as well as the textbox colour for the main cover line. Such choice would place emphasis on the magazine title, enabling the audience to identify which magazine it was, as well as emphasizing the main feature of the issue – in this case, the band ‘Young Guns’. In addition, yellow was used for text such as ‘WIN!’ in which the colour draws attention to itself – the element of competition and prizes may appeal to a potential buyer so therefore bright vivid colours help the audience to take note of these aspects. Similarly, yellow was used on the strap line, adding emphasis to ‘735 New Gigs Listed!’ which may entice the reader to buy the issue in order to see the substantial amount of new gigs. Yellow can connote happiness and bright optimistic emotions so it could be suggested Kerrang! have used this colour to not only catch the reader’s eye, but to create a softer, pleasant and friendlier edge which juxtaposes the rock music they specialise in, which is usually associated with dark colours such as black and grey. Overall, the use of yellow draws attention to aspects of the front cover that will appeal the most to the reader and entice them to buy the magazine. In contrast, the use of red adds more emphasis to the images on the cover rather than text. The main image, featuring the band ‘Young Guns’, is a group shot consisting of the five band members. The lead singer, Gustav Wood, is wearing red and is in the foreground of the image whereas the other members are wearing white and appear in the background. This places emphasis upon the lead singer as the colour red singles him out from the others, creating a contrast. The use of red could be used to connote danger, lust or love – however as the main cover line reads ‘Young Guns present the Valentine’s Issue’ it is more likely to have been employed in conjunction to such annual holiday in which red conveys romance. Similarly, red is used for the colour of a heart shape featured in the upper left hand corner of the cover - the conventional colour for a heart and also correlating to the Valentines Day theme. Two of the images on the cover consist of two music artists with red hair, which could tie in with the theme of Valentines. It also shows abstract styles and self expression so this could match the rock genre, in which music artists express themselves not only through their music but their appearance and style. Red is used for cover lines which places emphasizes on the smaller features that are included within the magazine, such as exclusives. Red is a bright colour enabling it to draw attention, however not as much as yellow – therefore the choice of colour for the main cover line in contrast to the additional smaller cover lines show the varying emphasis placed on the differing elements that would appeal to potential readers. Both colours are unisex, however pink is used for the textbox which reads ‘The Valentine’s Issue’ which could be argued is a conventional colour for Valentines Day. It could be suggested, however, that such colour appeals more to a female audience as well as the Valentines theme generally appealing more to females rather than males. In contrast, blue and black are used on the cover so it could be suggested these make the face of the magazine more appealing to both genders, rather than swaying towards a female audience as opposed to male.
Furthermore, the layout and design used can have an impact upon the overall front cover. For example, the images and text do not create a visual ‘crisis’ and are organised in such as way that they do not compete with one another. The main image and main cover line are both clear and distinct, so therefore it is easy for the reader to identify between the main features and the smaller features displayed by additional cover lines. There is a sidebar that runs down the left hand side of the cover, separated by a bold vertical line which creates clear distinction between features – this sidebar is also used to draw attention when placed on the shelves in shops, especially when situated behind other magazines as the images are still visible despite the whole cover being restricted. There is a lot of information on the cover, so it could confuse some readers regardless of the organisation and layout. There are four different fonts used, adding variation and interest to the page. The title has its own font, which is capitalised and rough and edgy, somewhat reflecting the rock music industry. In addition, all the other fonts are capitalised which creates a strong and bold effect which could reflect how the magazine itself is bold and has a dominant role in the magazine industry for this genre of music. One of the fonts is of swirly more creative style, with hearts either side of the word ‘present’ which could further convey the Valentines theme as a more feminine font is employed. For the ‘Exclusives’, a different font is administered which shows distinct uniqueness from the rest of the cover, as well as emphasizing the exclusive element itself. The main image follows the rule of thirds as the reader’s eyes are immediately drawn to the upper horizontal line in which is the eyelevel of six different individuals. In addition, the most dominant individual, Gustav Wood, is placed more or less on the upper left intersection of the rule of thirds grid so therefore highlights the main feature.
For the front cover of this Kerrang! issue, the main image is of the band ‘Young Guns’ displaying all five members. This image shows one popular band that will appeal to an audience. It may be aimed towards girls who have a ‘gaze’ - somewhat reflecting Laura Mulvey’s (1975) male gaze - for the opposing gender, or for males who enjoy the music and admire such band. ‘Young Guns’ is also a rock band so therefore reflects the magazines genre and content. Overall there are eleven images on the front cover of single artists or bands which all represent the rock music, helping to further convey the genre of such media product. Through the use of images, the audience can visually see what artists/bands might be featured inside so may appeal to them more than just text alone.
The main image of the band shows five individuals however they are composed in such a way that the lead singer is more dominant in the group shot. Not only is he the only one wearing red whilst the others wear white but is in the foreground and closest to the camera. The pose he has administered is staged, as he maintains eye contact with the camera yet his body language is relaxed and open. This could suggest he is quite confident and likes to express himself, somewhat reflecting the idea of music acting as a form of self expression. The facial expressions of all the band members are serious with neutral expressions - this could emphasise the idea that they are serious, fully focused on their new recently released album ‘Bones’ and that they mean business. From this, some readers may be intrigued or interested to find out more about them and see how they may have impacted the music genre they listen to. The overall shot is a group shot, as well as being a mid shot which shows their faces and the top half of the body. Behind the image, the background is blue and of a grainy texture – blue makes the image and text stand out as well as being a unisex colour and the texture of the background adds variation and interest. When first looking at the front cover, you first notice the main image and the lead singer wearing red due to the composition and colour contrast that makes him stand out. Your eyes then travel vertically as they take in the full main image including the main cover line, then left towards the sidebar and finally the banner across the top of the page.
The written language used is minimal; however aims to persuade the reader to buy the media product. The main cover line does not reveal what the articles inside will be about and instead just states it is the ‘Valentine’s Issue’ with names of bands that will be inside. There is no indication of what this ‘Valentine’s Issue’ contains – the readers may be interested and intrigued to find out what it is, so this ambiguity may entice the reader to buy the magazine to feed their curiosity. In addition, there is a ‘WIN!’ circle which plays on the sense of competition and prizes the potential audience may be involved in, giving them the opportunity to have self gain through the magazine – adding to the entertainment factor. The main cover line takes up the bottom half of the A4 size page, so this places emphasis on the main feature the editor wants to help sell the product. The sidebar and top banner may be harder to read from a distance as the fonts used are significantly smaller, however the use of images in the sidebar allow the magazine to still be visible on the shelves despite being located behind other magazines.
The written language used is minimal as it is the front cover and much more emphasis is placed on the images rather than text; however the size of the font grabs the reader’s attention. When you first look at the Kerrang! front cover, the two sections of text that appeal the most are ‘Young Guns’ and ‘The Valentine’s Issue’. On the cover, the language style is informal yet somewhat places a negative and cynical edge to the idea of Valentine’s Day. For example, the main cover line states ‘Asking Alexandria, Black Veil Brides, You Me At Six, Soulfly, Lostprophets & more... Team up to help you punch Cupid in the face!’ This could reflect the majority of views of the rock genre on the topic of such annual holiday. Alliteration was also used in the sidebar, ‘Paramore: Tornadoes, Tweets and That New Album!’ adding rhythm, ease and emphasis for the reader.
Overall, I feel the front cover of this Kerrang! issue is successful at appealing to potential buyers. The main image is appealing and composed in a way that draws the eyes of the reader, as well as being based around the theme of Valentines which may appeal more to an audience as opposed to a normal themed issue. Bright colours add interest as well as a number of different images used. When first looking upon the magazine, it seems like there is a lot happening on the page, however your eyes are immediately drawn to the more emphasized and dominant features.
Similar to the front cover, the two dominant colours of the Kerrang! Contents page are red and yellow. The bold contrasting colours create a bright and lively tone to the page, adding emphasis to the title and ‘Win!’ shapes. White is used as a background so the text is easily read by the audience, with the use of black text boxes and font which make the writing clear, simple and also easily read. With the image, there are a range of colours used for the clothing of the individuals such as pink, blue and navy – these colours add variance and interest, as well as keeping a more unisex theme running throughout.
The Contents page includes one main image aligned to the left of the page – a group shot of the band ‘Enter Shikari’. Placed on top of this image, there is text, a shape, and another image of a t-shirt – all relating to the competition featured on the front cover. When looking at the Contents page initially, the ‘Win!’ shape is what draws the attention as it is bold, with the use of the vivid colours red and yellow. Furthermore, the listing of contents is aligned to the right, situated next to the image. Bold basic and capitalised fonts are used for the headings and titles of the pages, however the description of what is featured on the page is of smaller lowercase lettering. The ‘Kerrang! Contents’ title is of rough edgy font, the same as that on the front cover – keeping the house style.
The image used is a group shot of ‘Enter Shikari’ which relates to the competition Kerrang! have promoted on their cover. The image takes up the majority of the page, aligned to the left yet extending over halfway of the page – this places emphasis on the competition they are holding as they want to get as many people involved as possible. It could be suggested that the competition element was placed on the first page of the magazine to raise the awareness as people will initially turn to this page hence why the image and text are so dominant in capturing the reader’s attention. In addition there is an image in the bottom left corner featuring three members of the Kerrang! staff, including the editor. This image allows for the audience to feel a sense of familiarity and friendliness as they have a small connection with the people behind the magazine.
The group shot is staged, showing the four members of the band. They are all positioned at different heights with similar relaxed and crouched body language. Similar to the front cover, one individual is placed in the foreground with more focus, as opposed to the three in the background who are slightly blurred out of focus. The main individual is smiling and looks friendly so this may appeal to those who want to win. Furthermore the band seems inviting and pleasant so it makes the prize more attractive. The image of the Kerrang! staff is staged, and shows James, the editor, in the foreground with a false pose which shows he is not amused, with arms crossed and stern expression. Two individuals in the background are creating heart shapes with their hands, reflecting to the audience that the Kerrang! staff are light hearted and can have a good time despite creating a music magazine that strives in the industry.
The main image is a midshot as it shows the face of the individuals and their upper body. They seem to be outside rather than in a studio so this could make it seem more natural and less manipulated or staged. It also shows a more natural environment so the readers could be able to relate more to the band. When you first look at the Contents page your eyes are attracted to the image, then to the text that accompanies it. The listing of pages and contents are not as dominant on the page, however it is still clear for the reader whether when they are just browsing or looking for a specific page.
As it is the Contents page the written language has to be clear and efficient as it serves a purpose – describing clearly what features are on what page. The fonts are appropriate size to fit everything on one page, and are not too small that some readers may have difficultly reading. The colours used for the font ensure that it is easily read, as well as standing out against a contrasting background. In Kerrang!’s Contents page, colloquial and friendly language is used. Humour is also used, for example ‘Grumpy frontman James Veck-Gilodi turns Agony Aunt. Do not expect sympathy, under any circumstances’. This creates a light hearted style for the language of the magazine, which ties in with the light hearted humorous image used in the notes from the Editor. Furthermore, the personal message from the editor to the readers is informal and friendly, e.g. ‘We stuck a microphone in the gobs of the great and the good and asked them a whole load of Valentine-centric questions. One thing though, don’t blame us if you get dumped – blame them!’ This may make the audience enjoy the written language more as it could be considered entertaining and amusing to read.
Overall I feel that this contents page is very well designed, especially how the contents organises the magazine pages into different sections such as feedback, news, live reviews etc. The image adds visual interest as the style of language is entertaining for the reader. I feel however, that the main aspect of this page in this particular issue is the competition with ‘Enter Shikari’ rather than the actual contents of the magazine, despite being the Contents page. Some readers may argue it is an ideal location to place the competition as it immediately draws attention on the first page, however other readers may want to see visual images accompanying some of the features listed in the following pages.
Double Page Spread
The double page spread that I am analysing from this Kerrang! issue is titled ‘Slipknot Go To The Movies’. The one prominent colour that jumps out of the page is red. Slipknot can be classified as heavy metal rock music, and the colour red could connote more aggressive emotions. Red also connotes danger and blood, which corresponds to the image featured of two of the members wearing scary horror masks. Black is used for the costume of the two individuals to suggest evil and darkness – it is also the most typical colour used when referring to the rock music genre. Yellow is also used to juxtapose the dark colours as it brings some brightness and also connotes happiness and joy. It is used on this page to add emphasis to names as well as quotes. White is also used for the font as it stands out against the red and black backgrounds making it easy for the audience to read.
In this double page spread, the words and images fit well together. The image aligned to the left of the pages extends over halfway and the remainder of the space is filled with text. Capitalised lettering is used for the headings and titles, as well as the questions and quotes. This creates a clear distinction between the magazine’s voice and what the participants of the interview have said - in this case Clown and Corey discuss their movie making projects. The font used for the title ‘Slipknot’ is rough with sharp edges, somewhat resembling thorns. This could show convey the harshness of the heavy rock metal music genre. The other parts of the title are not as rough, however have smaller grainy effects to show that it is not perfect - this could reflect the music industry and how it is a hard lifestyle to maintain. The main body text for the feature is plain and simple therefore easy to read for the audience. When analysing the front cover and the contents page, two key colours that I found present in both pages were red and yellow. On this particular double page spread red and yellow are both used again, however the red is used in a darker tone reflecting the mood of the ‘Slipknot’ article. For the double page spread, the rule of thirds applies as one of the individuals featured to the left (Corey) has the eye level along the upper vertical line. Both the members of the band are more or less situated on the first vertical line of the rule of thirds.
Furthermore, the image used could be inspiration for those who enjoy the ‘Slipknot’ band, as well as the edgy horror look they portray. Those interested in the horror film genre could be drawn to such costume that the two members are wearing, as it reflects the stereotypical masks and scary facial features expected to be found in such films. The images reflect the content of the article, as it adds visual aid and entertainment to the double page spread as opposed to just being text. The pose that both the individuals have administered are staged, showing angry facial expressions. The way they use their body language could be a way of expressing their music - aggressive posture and facial expressions could portray the negative emotions that they have channelled into their music. Those interested in the band ‘Slipknot’ may enjoy the way they address their music, their personalities and their style however other readers who may not be as familiar may find such images daunting and intimidating so may not appeal to them. There is another smaller image featured below the text - a group shot. This shows the two members featured in the main image as well as other individuals who wear the same costume reflecting a sense of community and belonging for those of similar interest. This image is digitally manipulated to be slightly diagonal so this adds interest to the page as does not conform to the typical straight and aligned format - this image is different and that could reflect how the individuals from the rock genre do not try to fit in the with the social expectations of society.
From looking at the page for the first time, the two shot immediately grabs the audience’s attention. Not only because the image is large, but from the content it provides a sort of shock for the audience as the costumes used could be considered scary or intimidating. Your eyes then travel horizontally right to the text, as the title is large and draws attention to itself, then vertically down towards the small group shot.
The title used for this double page spread is of significant sizing, and the quotes and names of specific members of the band are emphasized either by the size of the font or the colour used, such as yellow. This places emphasis on these particular sections rather than the main body text. The format of this editorial content is in an interview form, with questions as headings and the response below made by Clown. The title itself ‘Slipknot Goes To The Movies’ may draw the attention of readers as it is a music magazine so therefore it may be considered different for the film industry to be somewhat involved. Readers may then be intrigued and interested to find out what the article is about - the merging of both music and film industry. The language used in this article is informal and also could be suggested threatening or confident, ‘Clown and Corey set their sights on the film industry. Hollywood better watch its back...’ As the double page spread is an interview, the majority of the text is through the personal views and opinions of Clown, as he answers the set questions Kerrang! have asked. Readers may be interested in hearing the first hand views of Clown himself, so may be eager to read what he has to say about certain topics. By allowing Clown the chance to speak for himself, the readers may feel more connected to the band member. Clown’s language is very colloquial and slang, as he says terms such as ‘There’s a lot of shitty movies out there’, ‘It’s time, man’ and ‘I couldn’t be more stoked’. By expressing his natural way of speaking despite any taboo terminology, it shows that he is not afraid to be judged by anyone. This could further reflect how he does not care how others may perceive him, or the band he is part of. Clown is very confident in the way that he speaks, ‘I’m here to stir shit up in the movie business, just like we did with Slipknot in the music industry’. Some readers may admire such forward and positive attitude which holds no regards to any negative views upon their work - however some readers may interpret this as arrogance. The language used by Kerrang! in the introduction shows a less forward and more civilised style of language without the use of many colloquial terms, however this is juxtaposed when followed by Clown’s very expressive style of language.
Overall I feel the double page spread was successful as it has a good ratio of image to text. The choice of image reflects and accompanies the text well - it shows an image of two band members of ‘Slipknot’ who are expressive through their facial expression and costume as well as the text shows the written expression through the style of Clown. The colours used emphasize the mood and tone of the article. ‘Slipknot’ can be considered a controversial band in the rock genre as they take the music to the extreme, however some readers may feel intimidated by the image and style. This, however, could be argued against as ‘Slipknot’ is a band who will not change their identity to conform to the stereotypes or expected behaviour of society.
(Double Page Spread, Left Hand Page)
Double Page Spread, Right Hand Page