National Geographic Magazine (NG) is the flagship journal of the National Geographic Society. The society reaches more than 280 million people worldwide each month through its magazines, the TV Channel, documentaries, radio programs, films, books, maps and interactive media.
As the benchmark of magazine industry, NG’s iconic cover design featuring the yellow border is deeply rooted among people’s mind. The other distinguishing feature of NG is the legendary photography. The editors, journalists and photographers with the fascinating storytelling skills of the NG magazine collaborate to maximize the power of texts, graphics, illustrations, videos, and infographics. It feeds reader’s thirst for the knowledge of geography, archaeology, environment, history, culture, technology and science about our planet and universe.
The digital media of NG includes the E-editions (both replica and interactive format are available), website, and Apps. The circulation of NG magazine is around 8 million in total globally, which includes 4.4 million U.S. copies, 1 million English international copies, as well as 2.5 million local language copies in over 50 countries.
Number of pages: 137
Number of issues: 12 regular issues and four special (Collector’s Editions) issues per year
Dimensions: 17.4 x 25.4 cm
International publishing: 33 local-language editions around the world
The typical demographic of NG is the middle-aged, affluent, educated males who have kids and in the top management, professional related occupations. That means the audience are open-minded and willing to accept new things, such as subscribing the tablet magazine, checking the websites regularly, and downloading the helpful apps. Hence, NG did successfully to explore and develop the cutting-edgy media to deepen its innovative and informative identity of “inspiring people to care about the planet”.
Margin size: 18mm x 19mm
Number of column of text: 2/4/6
Cover: Combines video clips and photography
Contents: The content index/ jumping page
From the editor: Introduction to the issue
Visions: This section not only displays the phenomenal pictures of NG’s photographers, but also contains “Your Shot” that editors pick 12 photos form online crowd-sourced photographs.
3 Questions: Ask limited questions to the people who have stories.
Features: A big chunk of specific subject content surrounding a key word. For example, the January 2015 issue focuses on several groundbreaking firsts in our past and present, as well as some anticipation about what comes next.
NG Daily: Real-time delivery of the amazing related pictures of the NG photographers on Instagram. The feature requires an internet connection.
Explore: Short stories you’ll be talking about tomorrow. The topics range form People, Planet Earth, Ancient Worlds, Wild Things, and Science, to Basic Instincts which showcases the magics of animal kingdom.
PROOF: A photographer’s journal/ photo essay
News: what’s trending at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/ (Updated daily)
Jigsaw Puzzle: Launch a puzzle generated from reader’s photo (Updated daily)
In the Loupe: Memorable photos from the NG archives
Next month: The topics coming soon…
Layout and White Space
An average feature story of NG includes writing (around 10 pages), infographics (1-2 pages), videos(1 page), and photography(5 pages or so). The arrangement mode of the text part is vertical, which accords with the web reading habit of scrolling down. Likewise, considering the way we scan pictures online, the arrangement mode of the visuals allows the readers to wipe left to right to engage. For the other “Short Takes”, it depends on the contents of the section that showcased.
For the White Space, NG has photo crossover for the legendary photography. The picture itself incorporates the negative and positive space.
For the text part, the contrast between the positive and negative spaces is quite flexible in the digital platform, which is out of limitation of the physical page. It can be a scroll – no matter in the vertical or horizontal way.
For the section that merges the image with text, the special aesthetic composition is outstanding as the NG style. It’s recognizable for the yellow icon, though it’s just part of the trademarked Yellow Border.