Field Notes: A1 & Covers


Wired is a full-color American monthly magazine, with each publication having both a print and online edition.  The technology magazine focuses on current trends within the worlds of technology, business and culture.

The magazine is a standard size of 8 3/8 x 10 7/8.  It seems that there is no formal grid format used throughout the publication and the design of the publication is non-modular.  While the magazine’s title is always at the top of the cover, the placement of images, graphics and text vary, as do their size and shape.  Placing the publication’s title in the same spot works because it makes the publication more recognizable to its readers.  The function and purpose of the cover is to give the reader a general feeling of the magazine, or its personality as I prefer to call it.  The cover must arouse curiosity and make the reader want to pick up and read the magazine. This page is different because it gives the reader a “sneak peak” of what is inside of the magazine using large images, large graphics and large text in Wired’s case.  More specifically, I noticed the publication strays away from the standard magazine cover.  There is very minimal text used in the design of the cover–the publication uses large images of people’s face, for example, or large graphics to entice the reader and speak to them rather than words.  It is a prime example of how powerful an image or graphic can be.

There is one design element that is consistent throughout all of Wired’s magazine covers: color.  While the text and images on the cover grab the reader’s attention, it is the bold colors of the text and images that initially capture their eyes.  Prior to analyzing Wired, I would always identify the magazine by its generous use of color on all of its covers.  The information of the cover is organized in a very simplistic way, a way that makes it easy for the reader to see what that specific issue is about.  There is usually only one or two article titles on the cover and they are designed to complement the main image or graphic on the cover.  The titles are in a large, bold typeface that make the reader want to open the magazine and read more inside.  Hierarchy of the elements are by size and sometimes by color.  The image or graphic either fills the entire cover or is strategically placed in the center of the page, to again, capture the reader’s attention.  The article titles are in a smaller sans serif typeface, but the publication does not use the same typeface or color for all of its article titles.  While it may seem unusual for a magazine to use different typefaces for its article titles, it works for Wired.

Technology is about innovation, connectivity, and using knowledge to solve problems–exactly what Wired’s cover and content embodies.  The magazine cover gives off a hip, funky attitude, which is an accurate reflection of the world of technology.  The reader immediately gets the message that the magazine is about technology, science, business and culture by both the design and text on the cover of the magazine.  While many magazines use the same typeface and/or color to establish consistency from issue to issue, this is not the case with Wired.  Rather, I found that the “feeling” of the cover is consistent.  This works for a well-established magazine, such as Wired, because it has a niche target market that enjoys and trusts the information that it publishes.  Not only is it unique that the magazine has a consistent “feeling,” but it works to differentiate the magazine from similar magazines such as MacWorld, Science and PC Magazine.