Field Notes: Essence Magazine-Organization

The function/purpose of the front page is to highlight their “leading lady” or the person on the cover of the magazine that has a featured story within the article, and color. The color can be seen in the logo. The font of Essence does not change but, depending on the background and the vibe of the issue, the color of the logo changes. The images used are full cover photos of their leading lady and the image of the woman is directly in the middle of the page in each issue. One thing I noticed about the three issues I examined were, the image always expanded to the point there it covered up some of the word Essence. The title of the magazine is always in the background and the image on the foreground. I believe Essence does this to draw emphasis on the person not the publication.

The nameplate of Essence is Essence Sans (a font they created themselves for the magazine) is Tahoma and created by James A. Miller IV. As Essence describes it, “the magazine is accented with delicate Tahoma and elegant Times New Roman with heavy set upper case letters.” The headers have the Times New Roman font. You can find the Essence name at the top of the magazine in all caps spread out on the page.

The inside story’s featured on the cover pages of the articles I’ve seen range from 7 to one. The July/August and the September issues have 7 but, the February issue only have 3. The inside story headlines are arranged on the left and right side of the pages with a variation of bold, highlighted, colorful, and light text.


The TOC can be found about 4 pages after a series of ads in the front of the book. The format of the TOC includes its own personal section page that has the month in a bold at the top and the year rested vertically on the right side of the month. The section page also includes the page numbers and a brief summary of the featured articles for the readers. The next page includes all the other articles in the issue. The layout of the TOC varies based on the publication but, readers can always find the articles separated by category and adorned with photography.


Essence Magazine is broken down into 4 different sections. Scene, Beauty, Issues, and Lifestyle. Scene focuses on the arts, music, television, and looks. Beauty contains various articles about products that are great for women of color. One of the main articles in the beauty section is “Dope Stuff on My Desk.” This section is where Essence’s Fashion and Beauty Director talks about her favorite items of the month. Style reports on all things fashion (trends, hot topics, etc.). Issues include articles that focus on pressing issues and Lifestyle can vary from articles that talk about food, love, travel, and health.