Brianna Williams – Field Notes: Space

ESSENCE is a magazine that follows the magazine dimensions of 8” X 10.5”. The monthly magazine’s average page count ranges from 120-140 pages per issue. There are some cases I found where the magazine deviates from that such as 94 pages in the Jan. 2017 issue, and 168 pages in the Sept. 2015 issue.

I believe the choice for a monthly magazine, as opposed to a quarterly or weekly is best because ESSENCE focuses on African-American women, solely, which isn’t an area that is really covered in the industry. A monthly allows for gathering enough information, while being able to condensed a good amount of content into each month, especially considering the various sections of health, love, lifestyle, etc. The choice for a monthly has proven to be successful for ESSENCE over the years, as it has been so since it started publication in 1970. As for page numbers I think it’s enough to keep readers interested, but not too overwhelming. ESSENCE has a 96% subscription circulation rate.

The publication trim size is 8” X 10.5” as stated earlier. The design allows 0.5’ safety from trim on all pages for what they call, live matter. As for the gutter, headlines and body text have 0.25’ each side of gutter to provide 0.5’ total separation for spreads.

ESSENCE uses a combination of four and five column grid structure.

Sometimes the length of the columns don’t work because it looks too long, which makes it hard to read. If it were to be broken up into four columns instead of two, that would be more effective. The two column length of text could draw readers away from reading the story, which wouldn’t be good, especially since this is the cover story.

As far as photos per page, there’s usually one per page, with the exception of the beauty and hair sections. Those sections tend to have two or more photos, usually in a collage or artistic arrangement, depending on the purpose of the story. For example, below is a page where it shows how to achieve certain hairstyles with a certain hair texture, each picture with an accompanying description.

Using more than one photo one pages such as these can be effective because it helps with understanding of the content. Using one photo as the focus might not convey what is needed for the reader to understand.

Adequate amounts of white space are most prominent around the feature stories, especially the cover stories. This is effective because it’s more appealing the look at with more white space, so it allows readers to want to read the stories.