Field Notes – bon appétit: Organization

For the purpose of analyzing the way in which bon appétit is organized, I will be using the cover, TOC/index and departments/sections for illustration.

Image shows three of bon appétit's covers; one of a pasta dish, the other of a one-pot chicken dish and the last of homemade bread.

Image shows three of bon appétit’s covers. C: QueenBeeCoupons.

Image of the February 2019 bon appétit cover.

Image of the February 2019 bon appétit cover.










The Cover

Looking at the example above, the function and purpose of bon appétit’s covers seems to be to draw the audience in with artistically-styled settings of dishes that the reader would be able to duplicate after reading the issue. This is evident because of text like “Transform the Way You Cook” bolded under the larger image near claims of the perfect pasta. On special issues, the cover features a portrait of a chef that is spotlighted in the issue (like the February 2019 cover on the right). In either case, one centered image is used.

The cover also briefly highlights other articles that have been included in the magazine in print that is thinner and smaller than the headline. This size difference, along with the tucked away (above nameplate or to either side) placement of this text organizes and creates hierarchy. The number of articles mentioned on the cover range from three to eight.

The folio including the date and price are typically hidden or placed around the barcode. I believe that this helps the reader when they are looking for the price to clear find the stated price and it also helps to not draw attention away from the main image or supplementary text.

A full-spectrum color palette is eye-catching and lends to the feel of excitement upon seeing the cover of each issue.

Though the elements such as the number of articles referenced on the cover change issue to issue, the magazine is able to stay consistent by keeping the nameplate, treatment of the folio and use of imagery the same.

The table of content

Image shows the table of content in the February 2019 issue of bon appétit.

Image shows the table of content in the February 2019 issue of bon appétit.


The table of content is restricted to one page. It is divided into subcategories like “Home” and “The Last Bite.” A series of rules are used to separate each category and the page is first listed in bold, followed by the title of the article in bold, with a short synopsis in finer print. Articles that were written with a byline list the author.

The magazine also keeps the consistency of the sole entered image use here.

Offset on the right corner are the regularly included pieces like the editor’s letter and recipe index. The bolded theme continues here as well for the important bits of information like the page number, thus continuing the defining of hierarchy.



Departments and sections

As mentioned above, the magazine is put into four categories of “Home,” “Away,” Basically,” and “The Last Bite.” As you can see below, the reader is able to know which subsection they are in by a large title on the first page that opens the category, and a folio on the top middle of the left page on the spreads that follow.





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