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Tips on improving magazine, brochure and report covers

Sometimes a website is so old or a brochure so amateurish that professional designers can take a great leap forward with a total redesign. But more often the challenge is continuous improvement, and that requires humility. You have to accept that only Muhammad Ali is The Greatest. The best you can hope for is to make your great product even greater.

That was the challenge presented to us in designing the second annual edition of Drexel University’s REACH magazine. The firm that designed it did a nice job. We looked for small ways to improve on it without compromising the magazine’s established identity.

We think these tweaks made for a more compelling cover:

  1. Have the cover photo subjects look at the camera. People’s eyes are compelling. Scan any magazine rack and you’ll see lots of pretty faces looking right at you. It sells.
  2. Resist the urge to be clever with the title. Yes, the letters in the word “reach” are also in the word “research,” and this is a magazine about research, but the mash-up is confusing.
  3. Don’t make readers guess what the cover photo is all about. Add some teaser text that serves the dual purpose of advertising the cover story and explaining the photo.

Need help with designing, writing or editing a magazine, brochure or report cover?

Call Kim Landry at 484.829.0021 or



Old cover of REACH magazine

Old cover of REACH magazine