Field Notes Week 2: Rolling Stone Magazine and Space

Throughout their publication’s history Rolling Stone has undergone a number of design changes that reflect the evolution of the music industry. With the re-launch of their website last year the brand has developed a more cohesive sense of identity on all platforms and through their manipulation of white space, typeface and formatting has enabled the publication to become an iconic figure on newsstands.


Rolling Stone is a print magazine publication – with a digital edition as well – and is published bimonthly. The magazine’s size is 10×12 and with roughly 70 pages per issue. They cover a broad range of topics with the central focus on music and politics. As a whole I think the publication is successful in their format because it is easy to hold, is frequent enough to stay on top of stories and presents their content in a format that is easily read.



I was unable to find the exact pica measurements online and the exact dimensions became unclear since Rolling Stone changed their magazine format and most inline sources referenced that. I was not able to contact anyone from the magazine but will continue to pursue that end in addition to doing the measurements myself when I can use the correct ruler.


Content Organization:

Listed are the regular features that appear in the publication with a brief synopsis…

Features:        In depth reporting Covering musicians, politics, economics, and entertainment

Rock & Roll:    Section highlighting single page spreads related to rock music and industry trends

Reviews:         A six page segment that reviews music, movies, books and television in a short little synopsis      References to features available online

Q&A:               A one page section with an interview of a given artist

The playlist:   A list of music recommendations based on the editorial staff or a musician

Correspondence:       Letters to the editor section with comments on previous stories

National affairs:         Reporting on nation wide political issues

Random Notes:          A four page spread with photos of celebrities out and about

Charts:            List of album sales


Layout and white space: Features are typically 6-8 pages and every other story is composed of a spread or single page. The magazine has a very strong manipulation of whitespace and uses the faintest black lines to direct the reader and organize content throughout. Photos typically appeared to be cut out from their original form and all outlines are done in white to help the image blend in with the page. They also use unique cartoonish artwork in their political stories to better capture the given theme and better convey the message they are trying to relate.