The function of Harpers Bazaar’s covers is to have a beautiful celebrity posing behind a vibrant backdrop. The cover is usually photo-driven and they rarely incorporate any illustrations. They want to convey the best cover stories on the page by using a large font to grab the audience’s attention.
The images that are used are photo-shoots that are done with celebrities. They don’t have a set style and the photos vary in angles and distances. I think they simply choose the photo that most flatters the featured celebrity
HB rarely uses a folio on the front cover, in the most recent issues they usually have it on the spine. The nameplate is stylized so that Harpers is nestled in-between the A and the Z and that Bazaar is much larger in weight and size. The color of the nameplate changes based on the images that are used for the cover. This typeface makes it so all the letters in a word look capitalized.
HB usually averages five to six coverlines with the occasional banner on the top right-hand corner that adds another coverline.
HB uses hierarchy by making the cover story very prominent in large text and in the center of the cover. The covers with banners do create some hierarchy because it imposes on the nameplate, which is one of the first things we see. Besides that, they use about the same sizes for the rest of the cover lines on the page, so there is no indication at what should be looked at next because there is no more visual hierarchy.
I think consistency is maintained from issue to issue when the same typeface for all of the coverlines and the nameplate. It is also maintained when the color of the coverlines is consistently black or white. The celebs are also always in the center of the cover rather than placed at any other position.
The tone of the magazine is authoritative in the sense that it seems like it knows exactly what the upcoming trends are. The celebs occasionally smile, which definitely changes the overall feel of those covers to be fiercer, like the cover with Jennifer Lopez. While the issue with Julia Roberts seems more playful which makes it seem like the content is light-hearted and not that serious.
The table of contents is always designed around an item, whether it be a shoe or an accessory, and the text is wrapped around the item. The contents are usually only 3 pages long because they don’t provide page numbers for ads, which make up more than half of the magazine. The images they use are stunning but are usually luxury items that they want to showcase. I find this to be an effective way to display the TOC but it can be distracting at times and the audience could easily read past it thinking it is another ad.
The only real promo in the TOC is the single item that is being showcased, but I don’t think it is a paid promotion because that is not indicated. It is structured in the very center of the page.
HB has several departments including: the list, the look, the bazaar, the extras, the every issue, the beauty bazaar, in the news, fashion, and features. They are all scattered throughout the magazine, where the fashion and features are towards the end of the well.
HB labels their beauty section by putting “Beauty” next to their nameplate. They label the style section “Get the Look”, also using the same typeface as the nameplate because they use that for all their display copy. This is how they make a distinction from department to department.