National Geographic, magazine


  • 6 7/8″ x 9 15/16″
  • Monthly
  • Page Count: January 2017 Special Issue= 156; February 2017 = 132.
  • The physical dimensions of Nat Geo work well because it’s smaller than most magazines, but large enough that it reads like a book. While the physical dimensions of the magazine are smaller than most magazines, Nat Geo has more pages than most magazines, allowing them to gain more advertisers and have more flexibility with how they use the space in the magazine. This way, though their pages are smaller, they actually get to produce more content than other magazines because they have a higher page count.
  • Because of its smaller dimensions and thicker page count, the magazine feels like a book and thus feels more sophisticated than most magazines. Also, since it’s smaller but thicker, the spine is more prominent, making the magazines easier to store on a bookshelf.


  • Margins: Most of the pages have bleeding photos, but the text margins are typically 5/8″ on the left and right, 1 3/8″ on the top, and 3/4″ on the bottom.
    • The larger margin on the top makes it clear to the reader that the story is continued from the previous page.
  • Number/width of columns of text: in feature stories, there are 1-2 spreads of text without any photos. Those pages have 2 columns per page, each 2 11/16″ wide, with 3/16″ gutters.
    • This clean-cut design makes it easy to read and doesn’t have any distractions. The reader knows exactly what to read first.

Layout and white space, by department (February 2017 issue)

  • 3 Questions
    • 1 photo accompanying 1 story
    • Pages per story: 1 page of content, 1 full-page advertisement
    • The use of white space effectively allows for simplicity and clarity



  • Visions
    • 1 photo per spread, accompanied with 1 caption
    • 1 spread per “story”
    • Photo bleeds all margins, spreads across two pages, very minimal text emphasizes the photo
    • 4 of these photo spreads in the Visions department


  • Explore
    • 1 photo spreading across 2 pages with a short article alongside and a few statistics pulled out
      • Two of these in the Explore department
      • Statistics are effectively emphasized by being pulled out and placed opposite from the rest of the article
      • Words placed over the image without covering too much of the image
      • Short enough article and enough black background in the image that the spread doesn’t feel busy, despite the lack of white space

    • 1 photo filling the top half the page accompanied with a short article filling the bottom half of the page (page faces a full-page advertisement)
      • Two of these in the Explore department
      • Effective use of white space allows for the image to stand out, and the page doesn’t feel cluttered; easy on the eyes
      • Use of white space makes the page feel crisp and clean



  • Startalk
    • 1 photo per page, 3 pages
    • Text-heavy, but use of white space makes the article feel shorter and page doesn’t feel cluttered


  • Features
    • ~24 pages each
    • Photo-heavy
    • Format of first feature
      • Most spreads contain one large photo, one smaller photo, and a short paragraph
      • Use of white space emphasizes images and makes the paragraphs very reader-friendly without too much text

    • Format of second feature
      • Large photo across the spread, bleeding on the top, white borders along left, right and bottom
      • Lack of color surrounding photos makes the colors in the photos pop
      • Captions are informative but let the photo stand out