Essence Magazine: Space Field Notes


The physical dimensions of Essence Magazine is a magazine publication that is 8.25 x 10.75 and produces 10 publications monthly between February and December (July and August are combined for their Essence Festival issue). The average page count for this magazine publication is roughly 130 pages not counting the Festival issue which is roughly 190-200 pages. The physical size of Essence works because it is standard to many other magazine print publications (i.e, Time and Vogue US). The size is a cost efficient way to produce printed content. However, the size does prevent the publication from standing out in Newsstands. In order to eloquently communicate to their audience, I believe that their festival issue should at least be a bigger (i.e, Elle 9 x 10 7/8). The price to publish a bigger publication is pricey but, the amount of people that attend Essence Festivals amount to approximately 500,000 people. Their sales for the print issue should sky rocket during their July/August months. The money made from the sales should make up for the money lost printing a larger sized issue. The page count is successful in my opinion. It’s not too dense and overwhelming. Lastly, the magazine should reconsider not having a January publication. This is the time when women are looking for that “new year-new me” message and want to hear it from a reliable source. Maybe a combination of March and April could have been a better idea if they wanted to cut cost. However, if they are sacrificing their January issue so their staff can have time for family then, that’s a valid reason and I respect their decision… if that’s the case.


From observing and measuring the magazine, I notice that the margins within Essence Magazine are 0.4 inch around the magazine, the width of the gutters are 0.2 inch. It was a little difficult to figure out the amount of columns used in Essence. The magazine is filled with featured stories and collaged layouts but, I noticed from counting that Essence has a five column grid at most. I believe that this grid is used for layout flexibility.

Layout and white space: 

Essence Magazine is a collage and layout heavy publication. Their average 1 photo in their opening spreads and then continue on with collages of photos that reflect the article. For example, in the Beauty and Hair section, Essence will have a collage of products that they recommend their readers to use along with a few sentences about the products of their choice. In their features stories a reader will find an average of 1 photo per page. The white spaces in their publications are usually filled with text or serves as dividers per paragraph in a story.