The front cover of Rolling Stone is always of a person relevant in Pop-culture, typically it is a musician but sometimes it is also a tv personality or other timely relevant icon. In most instances the person profiled stares directly at the reader making the consumer feel the center of attention, but occasionally the designs different and the front cover image stares off into the distance. Overall the purpose of the cover is to draw the reader in visually to the image with the addition of single headline to capture the cover story.
Rolling Stone makes use of 3 columns throughout their pages and has pretty thin margins throughout mostly because in some sections the format switches to a single page spread or a 1/3 and 2/3 that makes the readability easier throughout more in depth sections
The organization of RollingStone is very similar to other publications in that it starts with lighter pieces and builds to its biggest stories in the middle. But when you arrive at single page spreads you will find a similarity to profile pieces in that their is a singular focus on the subject that fully immerses the reader in that page.
The guiding principle of the magazine is the use of color and directive lines that are subtle but clear guiding elements for the reader to follow. Throughout the visuals are mostly photographs that juxtapose type and serve as another entry point for a variety of stories
The tone of the cover page and inside cover is one that takes a personal look at an artist. It is meant to engage the reader and convey a feeling of intimacy that they would not find in another publication. The organization of content is very similar in that there is a sort of relaxed tone to the images and type that makes you feel as if you are getting a behind the scenes look at the music and cultural scene.
Overall I would say that Rolling Stone is very consistent with their presentation throughout every issue. There is maybe one or two a year that break from this trend that typically happens when their cover story is about a political issue. But in terms of the organization within the publication the elements remain consistent.
The one weakness the magazine has is that their covers vary in the type of stories advertised. Sometimes they only show one story head with the cover image that leaves the reader questioning the content. However typically when they do this there is a well known musician on the cover who would be surrounded with enough genuine intrigue that they may not need to advertise other stories. But this lack of consistency gives more freedom to the front page designers who can rearrange the cover in a way to make it more intriguing with each issue.