Monday, 15 March 2010

Advanced Subsdidary GCE Media: Evaluation for Foundation Project

The task for the final project was to create a front cover, contents and article of a music magazine in the genre of whatever our research showed was wanted. For my foundation media project I decided to work alone. By working alone I was able to learn and develop new skills in Photoshop.

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
By carrying out research into real magazines such as ‘Vibe’ and ‘Rock Sound’, I discovered many basic conventions of music magazines.

The most common age group which is targeted by music magazines is from 15 to 26 and is usually aimed at the male gender because they seam to be more musically orientated. This is the reason I decided to choose this age group when developing my magazine.

By looking at existing magazines, such as the well-known magazine ‘Vibe’, I discovered many of the conventions of music magazines. These are annotated around the magazine below: By carrying out this research I was able to use many of the conventions of existing, popular magazines in my music magazine. For example, the vibe magazine uses only four colours: red, gray, white and black. It also has the model in front of the title, has a menu bar across the top with artists who are featured in the magazine, catchy hooks, large attractive writing, and a clear presentation. I decided to use these conventions in my magazine, by using only three colours; black, white and yellow, the magazine is similar to already existing products. This basic colour scheme will help the buyer recognise it for any future purchases.

The other magazine I analysed was ‘Rock Sound’ a music magazine for the rock enthusiast. Rock sound is a less well known magazine so does not feature a well known artist like Vibe did. The magazine cover uses over five fonts and four different text colours making it look anarchic and vibrant to attract the younger audiences. The title on this magazine is above the artists featured. This gives the impression that the magazine is not as well known as Vibe or that the models are awkwardly expressed showing their want to get closer to the reader.

The almost hand written text gives the magazine a personal, schoolboy graffiti look, which will appeal to the younger audience. This hand written style relates to rebellious punk style of the magazine which was often hand written and photocopied before being sold.
By dressing the model in a yellow top, which stands out from the background, it automatically draws attention to him. By wearing yellow glasses it gives the feel of fun and excitement to the cover. The glasses also represent dance music because they are seen and associated with nights and events and often worn as in parties and music festivals. By wearing a top featuring an already famous artist but, having it slightly covered by a scarf, it implies that the audience should be able to connect to the model, by feeling that they like the same type of thing, in this case ‘run dmc’.

This magazine contents page is associated with 14-24 year olds. It is a British magazine and is published by IPC Media. The contents page itself consists of a busy but organised layout.
Flowing down the left hand side is a feature, showing you if your favourite artist in the magazine, helping you to buy it. The right hand side consists of sub headings which are relevant to the stories below them. The title is short, large and simple. It attracts the reader and tells them that the data is recent by saying ‘this week’. Towards the bottom there is a small advertisement offering a bundle pack of NME magazines in order to save money.

The colour scheme is simple and consists of a theme of three colours, red white and black. Theses colours are used in the main part of the contents, for things like sub headings and hooks. The advertisement towards the bottom of the contents uses a different colour scheme, to attract the attention of the buyer in the hope that they will buy the product being advertised.

This magazine contents page helped me to style my contents. Similar to this contents, I have put an advertisement towards the bottom of the page, offering the reader to save money if they subscribe.

The article headings and sub headings down the right hand side helped me to design the right hand side of my page, with a few changes from other influences.

The Mojo contents page helped to give a better understanding of the layout I would use for my contents. I decided to take the best out of both the NME contents and the Mojo contents. I used the basic layout of the Mojo contents but replaced the three pictures with an advertisement. Instead of the articles stopping where the pictures stopped I decided to continue them all the way to the bottom of the page. Also, the pictures on my contents page contain numbers which directly link them to the article or feature on the side of the page.

The Mojo magazine has a much older of 30-55, which is much older then my magazine. The audience is older because most of the artists featured are much older and in their 60s. However, some of the artists appear to be in there 20’s which could also attract a slightly younger audience.
The first feature article I analysed was the article in heat magazine. Heat magazine is popular in the U.K and is published by Bauer. The article is about June Sarpong, a well known T.V presenter who has hosted T4 for 9 years.

The article has a simple but effective layout and uses a very basic colour scheme, red, yellow, black and white. The main body of text is in black and contains bold sections where a question is being asked during the interview, this is a common feature of a question and answer article.

Just under the title there is a brief and catchy line, placed there to attract the reader’s attention to the article and make them intrigued and want to read on.

This article, however, is only a single page article, which is no good as I am required to design a double page article. The basic conventions within the article can be used. Like the placement and type of pictures used.
I decided to use this double page article as the style model for my article. I decided to do this because the lay out is simple and intriguing, the colour scheme is very simple and there is a full page dedicated to the model.

How does your Media Product Represent Social Groups?
My magazine is aimed at dance enthusiasts of the middle to late teens, generally 15-25 years old but it is not exclusive to this age group so it can be read by persons outside of the age category, this will also increase sales. The age of my model represents the target audience, he is a dance enthusiast himself but he also fits into the target age group, encouraging young people to buy the magazine. The model is shown in a positive light and also represents the young working class who would but the magazine. My magazine is aimed at persons who are of the working class or on a tight budget. The price of the magazine is also important, if a young person is on an allowance they should still be able to afford to buy it once a month because it is priced at only £1.49.

My article is very inspirational to any young person. It gives them hope and inspiration and shows that anything is possible. It shows the DJ in a very positive light and sends the message ‘fight on’ because of what has happened to him.

What Kind of Media Institution Might Describe your Media Product and Why?
The most likely group to publish a magazine such as ‘Anthem’ would be the Bauer group. The Bauer group is Europe’s largest privately owned publishing group, it offers over 230 magazines in 15 countries, making it a good group for my magazine because it would receive more recognition in more countries. More information about the Bauer group by visiting the following website -

Although Bauer is Europe’s largest privately owned publishing group, it publishes none of the magazine covers I analysed. It does however, publish ‘Mojo’ and ‘Heat’ which I used as style models for my contents page and also for my article.

If Bauer did take on my magazine I would be filling a gap in their market, increasing profit margins. The music which Bauer currently sells is hard rock/metal in the Kerrang magazine and in Q and Mojo there is heart soul and passion for music and access to behind the scenes, but no dance music. This leaves a potential gap for the Bauer market. The age of the audience for Q is 20-35, and Mojo is 30-55, meaning that there is a certain gap for music magazines with a younger audience, such as mine. Q is becoming more of a lifestyle magazine which means there is a gap for a stronger musically orientated magazine. So my magazine would introduce a new genre of music to the Bauer Media Company, along with a younger audience.

Who would be the audience for your media product?
The ideal audience for my magazine would be male and aged between 15 and 25 and be of working class on a disposable allowance and also go to music events, music nights and also download music. The magazine is relatively cheap so it would be able to be afforded by those on a tight allowance. The magazine is aimed at males but it would not be looked down upon if a female chose to buy and read it. A person who was possibly on National Minimum Wage or just over and working in a part time job would be most likely to buy my magazine because they could afford to buy it monthly without to much of a squeeze on there allowance.

As my magazine is a monthly magazine it features many different artists and stories to try and encourage sales every month.
Audience Feedback
Name: Greg Midwood
Age: 19
Occupation: Full time student with a part time job as a waiter
Monthly income: About £200 - £250 (excluding tips)

Greg told me that he has to be tight with his money. As he is on a tight budget he has to watch what he spends his money on. As he is a music lover however, he often spends money downloading music or going to gigs, he told me that he spends around £20 - £50 a month on music related items.

He told me that my magazine would attract him and also that the price is affordable for him.

How did you attract/address your audience?
When you look at a magazine, the first thing you see is the title page, and most importantly the model on the title page along with the title and the colours. That is the reason in which I placed a bright, attractive and intriguing image onto the front page at a medium shot which is not to close or to far from the audience. The title is large and bold so is easy to read from a distance, i.e. if somebody was far away from the magazine stand. The model is standing in front of the title which is a common convention used in music magazines. The model is of a similar age to the audience and is wearing similar clothes to them. The model is young so will have a close bond to the reader, making them feel closer to him. As he is popular it will make them want to aspire to be like him because his life may reflect yours, this would become clear after the buyer had read the feature article. The front cover also uses very basic black and white colours which have a golden/yellow stroke which matches the models yellow top.

I attracted my audience by carrying out a close analysis of existing products like VIBE. This allowed me to develop my magazine carefully. For example, the hooks on my front cover invite the audience to take part by entering competitions and having there say, giving them a feel of ownership.

The choices which people make are motivated by the desire to satisfy (or gratify) their range of needs. The following website contains a video which states the uses of gratifications in the media world: Out of the four areas covered by the uses and gratifications theory, my magazine covers two of them. They are:
Personal Identity: This is relevant because my magazine helps to explore and reinforce the reader’s value by showing the central model in a positive light, in which they can compare themselves with.
Surveillance: This is also relevant because the reader is satisfying their needs to receive constant information about what is happening in the world.

Another way I attract my audience is by using colloquial language and also information in which the audience can relate to in my article ‘I actually went out clubbing’ by using this audience, who are young, can more easily relate to the artist.

The use of competitions to get the buyer involved in the magazine gives them a sense of ownership towards the magazine. I discovered this by carrying out lots of research into other magazines, like Vibe. My magazine shows personal identity when compared to the ‘uses and gratifications theory’. The readers explore and re-enforce their own values through comparison with the main model.

By carrying out a questionnaire I was able to find out many things in which dance music enthusiasts look for in a magazine. It showed me that the ideal target group is 15-25 and that it would be best priced below £1.50. It helped me to deter which title would work best and also what attracted them to a magazine. Along with other types of research my questionnaire was the backbone to my development of my magazine.

What have you learnt About New Technologies from the Process of Creating this Product?
Before creating this product, I did not know much at all about media and the software and equipment which came with it. Now, however, I can successfully and confidently assemble and disassemble a tripod and also use it to take good quality photographs. I can fully control a digital camera and use it with many functions. My computing has developed greatly, especially in the creating of a blog and also by the use of Photoshop. I have gone from being a consumer of a media product to a producer of my own product with a world wide internet audience who have the opportunity to give me feedback, may it be positive or negative.

I can also say that I can manipulate images successfully, like my front cover. I manipulated this image by increasing the brightness and contrast of the image to make it look brighter and more attractive. In my article, the model looked slightly yellow. To improve the colour I simply reduced the amount of yellow within the image.
Looking back at your Preliminary Task, what do you feel you have learnt in the Progression from it to the Final Product?
Previous to my preliminary task, I could barely spell Photoshop never mind use it. Now though I can comfortable navigate my way around Photoshop and use it to a good standard. The amount of practical skills I have developed is massive. I have learnt how to change contrast and brightness of photos, like my front cover image and also my main image in the article. I developed my skills with the help of others but it was mainly through experimental error, this made me become much more confident on Photoshop.

As you can see, since the preliminary task (above left), my photoshop skills have developed which have made my music magazine (above right) look much more professional then the school magazine.

Since doing my preliminary task, I have learnt how to target an audience and play to their desires to create a product liked and loved by them. This was mainly done through research, which I also improved on since my preliminary work.

I can now confidently crop photos, add effects to text and change settings within the text layer, such as adding a drop shadow or emboss. The work I produced in my preliminary task was the first piece of work I had ever produced in Photoshop. At the time I thought it was good but looking back at it now, with a greater knowledge of Photoshop, I am disappointed with the quality of it.

During the course of creating my media product, I have learned the basic conventions of magazines and also how to analyze them. Along with that I have learnt the theories which helped to shape the current magazines we have now.

I have created a magazine that can compete in a realistic market against leading magazines such as VIBE and Kerrang.

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