Designing Impactful Magazine Spreads: Tips and Trends (2024)

There’s nothing that draws more readers’ attention than a solid splash page or a double spread in a magazine. Panoramic photos of nature, shots of models or interviewees can instantly grab the readers and make their heads spin! The magazine spread is a chance to display your best shots and visuals – but many of our readers aren’t experts on magazine layout design.

Luckily, we’re here to help. From this text, you’ll learn more about spread pages, how to use them to the full effect in your digital magazine layouts. We will explain how to use Publuu to showcase your photos and textures online, and how to apply these layout ideas to your interactive magazine design.

Contents hide

1 What is a magazine spread?

2 Design strategies for compelling magazine layouts

3 Leveraging interactive features to elevate your magazine

5 Real-world examples and case studies

6 Conclusion

What is a magazine spread?

Imagine you have a book and it’s 8 pages long. When you open it in the middle, you see pages 4 and 5 – that’s the “centerfold” or the central spread often hosting the main image. But what the readers see as a spread is not the same as a spread for the printer.

  • Reader’s Spread: This is how you see the book when you’re reading it. It shows pages in consecutive order, just like their page numbers. You start with page 1, so pages 2-3 are the first spread, 4-5 are the second, and so on.

  • Printer’s Spread: This is how the pages are arranged for printing, not for reading. It might seem confusing at first because the pages are not in reading order. But there’s a reason for this! The printer’s spread puts pages together in a way that makes sense for printing on a large sheet of paper. Then, that sheet is folded and cut to create the final book with pages in the correct reading order (reader’s spread). On the same sheet of paper, you have page 2 and 7 and 1 and 8 on the back. These are printer’s spreads.

Usually, printers’ software creates printers’ spreads based on your PDF designs but sometimes you need to work on your graphic design yourself. That’s why many of our partners switched to online magazine design. Thanks to Publuu, you can create spreads that are twice as big as a regular spread, without the effect of a split page on readers’ spread.

Publuu’s online flipbook example

View more online flipbook examples

Design strategies for compelling magazine layouts

Magazine layout is not just a matter of aesthetics. Things like bold fonts, typefaces, font sizes, colors, and spacing are crucial to the readability and comfort of the reader. Proper use of these elements helps guide the reader’s eye and build a hierarchy of information.

Start with making a grid

A grid-based structure provides order and consistency to the layout. It helps you plan elements on the page, providing balance and a stable, elegant look. The grid helps you maintain layout discipline, thanks to the proportions of certain elements. For example, photos can be 1/4th, 1/8 or 1/16th of a page, and a slightly larger photo will “look wrong” to the reader!

Rely on white space

White space is as important as text and images. Though it might seem that it’s “nothing” or a part of minimalist design, in reality, it’s very important. White space prevents chaos and page overload, makes text easier to read, and focuses attention on key elements. The text should “breathe” and not look squashed or directly touching images.

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Rethink your editorial design

Avoid overwhelming the reader with walls of text or too many images. In general, when designing a page or a spread, think “What should the reader look at”, and put a single strong focus element – whether a header or a bold illustration.

Choose fonts

The selection of fonts is closely related to the tone and content of the magazine. Serif fonts are usually considered more formal, while sans-serif typefaces work better for more casual texts – but that’s not a strict rule. Care should also be taken to ensure that the typography is consistent with the brand identity, using the same typefaces, colors and other graphic elements throughout the magazine.

Leveraging interactive features to elevate your magazine

Publuu can help you transform your digital magazine into an interactive experience. Our innovative HTML-5-based magazine publishing software enables you to easily create features that can serve as the foundation for your projects.

With Publuu, you can create hyperlinks that lead to different sections of your magazine, allowing you to create an intuitive table of contents. Additionally, you can easily direct readers to external sites and other elements. To add a link, simply highlight the text and create a hotspot.

You can also integrate multimedia elements such as high-quality animated videos, audio clips, and photo galleries directly into your magazine. You can customize the appearance of the hotspot. For example, you can animate the photo of the person you’re interviewing or showcase models wearing clothes on screen for readers of your fashion magazine.

Additionally, you can include interactive elements. Publuu enables you to integrate interactive features, such as polls, surveys, and clickable infographics to keep your readers engaged and gather valuable feedback. You can easily integrate these elements with hotspots by embedding them in your content.

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Moreover, Publuu offers a variety of animated backgrounds to display your magazine, including options such as a starry sky or waves on the sea. This can help supplement your layout and make your magazine look even better!

Practical application: From theory to digital publishing

Publuu can help you convert digital magazine into an interactive flipbook. When you have created your publication and designed the magazine cover, now you’re ready for digital publishing – you can learn more in our Knowledge Base.

1. Save your file

Before you do that, make sure your magazine uses the PDF file format. Export your files as PDF and prepare the file to be readable.Also, double-check that the spreads are correct and that the document is suitable for presentation.

2. Upload your file

To upload a PDF as a digital magazine, please log in or register to your Publuu account. Simply enter your email address and create a password.

Once you have logged in, upload your PDF file and click on ‘SUBMIT YOUR PDF’. Publuu will convert it during the upload process.

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3. Customize your file

When you upload your PDF to Publuu, you’ll gain access to our PDF editing tools. With these tools, you can modify the name and description of the digital magazine, set a background image, add logos and branding, and a slogan. If you need more information on these features, you can easilyrefer to Publuu’s guides.

Once you’ve finished editing your flipbook, you can easily share it. Publuu offers various sharing options.

You can get a unique link to your flipbook from your dashboard and share it anywhere. Alternatively, you can share your flipbook directly with Publuu by clicking the ‘EMAIL’ button.

You can also embed it on your website. To add your magazine to your website, just click on the ‘EMBED’ button. You will see the code you should paste to have your flipbook displayed in a beautiful border.

Designing Impactful Magazine Spreads: Tips and Trends (5)

Real-world examples and case studies

Here are some more magazine examples – you can find more digital magazines online on our website.

This magazine layout requires large spreads to showcase both advertisem*nts and fashion advice. You can use it to display attractive pictures, a single landscape or two photos that draw the readers’ attention.

This travel magazine uses spreads to showcase great photos, art and full-page images. Look how the background of the flipbook contrasts with these two dark spreads!

This magazine spread shows a beautiful table of contents – and interactive galleries, links and images help the readers navigate it!


We hope this article has explained how to design great magazine spreads. By now you should know the difference between reader’s and printer’s spreads, and you should also know valuable design strategies such as using grids, whitespace, and clear information hierarchy.

To create beautiful magazines, you can use Publuu’s interactive features such as hyperlinks, multimedia elements, and animations. With this knowledge, you can create magazine spreads that will not only capture readers’ attention but also keep them coming back for more.

You may also be interested in:
Magazines – All You Need To Know
The Power of Interactive Magazine

Designing Impactful Magazine Spreads: Tips and Trends (9)

Ola Swiderska

Author View profile

Aesthetics and minimalism enthusiast. Loves to explore the world, and travel is the meaning of her life. Amateur photographer and passionate about dogs. At work, she points her energy into crafting content that reflects her interest in literature and design.

Designing Impactful Magazine Spreads: Tips and Trends (2024)


What makes a good magazine spread? ›

The combination of illustration, text, content, and color give each spread an unlimited amount of creative potential. But the most important part of any magazine, where the designer's creative prowess can really shine, is the double-page spread. You are the artist, and the spread is your canvas.

How to make a successful magazine? ›

See what it takes to make a great magazine through our seven steps.
  1. Know your readers inside and out. ...
  2. Give your magazine a personality. ...
  3. Content trumps design every time. ...
  4. Authority. ...
  5. A blend of content experiences. ...
  6. Keep the editorial experience fresh but familiar. ...
  7. Encourage collaboration between writers and designers.

What are the points to be considered while preparing layout for magazine? ›

Table of Contents
  • Start with the Basics.
  • Your Magazine's Purpose.
  • Hierarchy and Readability.
  • Magazine Spread Design Elements. Headlines. Subheadings. Creative Images (with captions) Body Copy. Interviews. Ads. Digital Extras.
  • Putting it All Together.

Why is it important to understand magazine specific design? ›

A magazine starts with engaging content such as articles and images. To really connect with readers, though, you need to pay close attention to magazine page design. The appearance and layout of the magazine is largely what draws people in or turns them off.

How can I make my magazine spread more interesting? ›

Fresh Ideas for Improving Your Magazine Layouts
  1. Wrap Text Around Images in Unusual Ways.
  2. Take a Bird's Eye View.
  3. Go 3D (Psst! It's easier than you think!)
  4. Give Your Contents Page a Makeover.
  5. Go Big or Go Home.

What makes your magazine unique? ›

Each magazine has a unique mission and vision, target audience and subject matter focus — not to mention its own pool of contributors, publication process and methods for attracting readers.

What makes a magazine engaging? ›

Engaging magazine content means anything that sparks an emotional reaction in your readers. It often combines text with photos or illustrations that enhance the text. Magazines with plenty of white space and appealing layouts are engaging because they're easy to read.

How to design a magazine layout? ›

What are the 10 Key Elements of a Magazine Layout Design?
  1. Headline. It is the most important element of a magazine layout design. ...
  2. Introductory Paragraph. ...
  3. Body / Body Text / Body Copy. ...
  4. Bylines. ...
  5. Sub-headline / Subhead. ...
  6. Pull Quotes. ...
  7. Captions for Images. ...
  8. Section Head / Running Head.

What is the criteria of a good magazine? ›

Target audience: Identify the demographic group you want to reach with your magazine. Content: Determine the content that will appeal to your target audience. Design: Decide on the overall aesthetic and layout of the magazine. Frequency: Determine how often the magazine will be published (monthly, bi-monthly, etc.).

What are the 10 key elements of a magazine layout design? ›

Key Elements Of Magazine Design Layout – Let's Find It
  • Headline. It is one of the most important elements of a magazine design layout. ...
  • An introductory paragraph. ...
  • Body / Body Text / Body Copy. ...
  • Subheadline / subheading. ...
  • Pull Quotes. ...
  • Captions for Images. ...
  • Section head or running head. ...
  • Box copy.
Jun 30, 2021

What is magazine design principles? ›

Every page or two-page spread should have a dominant piece of art, a single focal point. Let photos tell the story. Let photos tell the story. Unity. Magazines should be consistent – style, typeface, color palette, use of white space.

What is a magazine spread? ›

A spread is two facing pages - one left-hand and one right-hand page side by side.

How to make a magazine cohesive? ›

To create a cohesive layout, you need to use a grid system, a typographic hierarchy, a color scheme, and visual elements such as images, graphics, icons, and illustrations. These elements should complement your content and enhance your magazine's readability and aesthetics.

Why is color important in magazines? ›

Color is one of the most powerful elements of graphic design, as it can evoke different emotions, associations, and responses from the viewers. In magazine layouts, color can be used to create a specific mood that matches the theme, tone, and message of the content.

What makes a magazine eye catching? ›

Making a magazine editorial design(opens in a new tab or window) is all about creating pages with appealing layout which offer high readability and grab the readers' attention through great imagery without making compromises on the importance of text.

What are the characteristics of a popular magazine? ›

Like newspapers, popular magazines are aimed at the general public, so their articles are written so that the average person can understand them. Special interest magazines are generally written for a very targeted audience - people who have that interest.

What is the spread of a magazine? ›

A spread is two facing pages - one left-hand and one right-hand page side by side.

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