ESSENCE showcases prominent women in black Hollywood, whether it’s a singular shot or one or more women featured on the cover. Each cover photo usually has a singular color backdrop, pink, white, black and other colors dependent on the color scheme for that month’s issue. If it’s a special edition issue, such as the one with Zendaya on the cover, then there will be a special or scenic background.
There are a lot of collages used, especially throughout the beauty and style sections. As far as stories, whether they are features or not, there is usually a main image, and some smaller images to accompany the story. The smaller images help to tell the story, while the larger image tells what or who the story is about.
Majority of the stories are text based, except for in beauty and style, and fashion. The photos and art are complementary to the text stories and help to enhance it.
The folios stick to a simple design. They help to indicate which section the reader is in. The typeface of the folio is the dame as the body copy typeface, which helps with brand consistency and brand memory.
For hierarchy, it helps that the body copy typeface and the headings typeface are totally different. The headings typeface is more decorative and cursive-like, while the body copy typeface is sans-serif.
Consistency is maintained from issue to issue through the typeface, sections, design of the sections and the story layout. If there is a Q&A story, it will take on the same format with colors and what is bold versus what is in all caps. The same sections are in each issue: Style, Beauty & Hair, Scene, Issues, Money & Power, Sex & Love, Healthy & Happy, and In Every Issue. The first pages of all the sections have the same design, but with a corresponding photo for each section.