Cover: Each issue of National Geographic has a different tagline which relates to the biggest feature article inside, and the photo on the cover comes from that main story. In this way, Nat Geo makes each issue feel like a book focused on a specific topic. The covers’ only references to any other story inside are the 3 stories across the top, in small type. The tagline on the cover falls directly below the nameplate, unless in a special issue. Special issues are distinguishable by their extra elements on the cover: in January 2017’s case, this includes a quote from the feature story and large type explaining the topic of the issue. After the nameplate, the second largest set of type is the tagline (the subject of the feature), creating hierarchy and establishing the importance of that article over the other 3 articles mentioned subtly at the top. The three articles listed at the top are the same text size as the month and year at the bottom of the each cover. Because of the minimal amount of text on the covers, Nat Geo successfully portrays the seriousness of the feature article.

TOC/index: Nat Geo uses 2 pages for its Table of Contents. The layout uses hierarchy to emphasize one of the features listed at the top of the cover (not the one that the cover focuses on) with a large photo, large page number and large headline for the story. The five photos spread between the two pages draw attention to five of the articles, other than the one on the front. The Table of Contents mentions every article in the issue.

Departments/sections: Each Nat Geo issue contains 4 departments: 3 Questions, Visions, Explore, and Startalk. The second half of the issue consists of features. On every editorial page in the four departments, the department name and story name are listed in the top corner of the page. Oddly, within the departments, there are no page numbers. Once you get to the features, the page numbers appear at the bottom of the pages, alongside the name of the publication and the issue date on the left page, and the title of the feature on the right. The reader knows they are reading a feature when the title of the feature appears in the bottom right corner of the page with the page number; they know they are in the front-of-book departments when they see no page numbers, but only the department name in the top left corner accompanying the topic of the department that issue.