SoCo Local Magazine
Create an engaging magazine cover and two-page spread for SoCo Local, a fictitious monthly Sonoma County magazine that focuses on local issues and events. Target audience: local residents and visitors ages 25–50 who want to get out and explore more. My role: Concept to finished artwork. SoCo Local name and tagline provided.

Fun, playful, open, approachable and down-to-earth. This vibe will carry over to the featured two-page spread.

SoCo Local Logo
Heavy and bold but approachable. Maybe a big black "SOCO" with a friendly, slightly scripty "local."

Article Content
Sonoma County is known for its wine, beer and restaurants, but SoCo Local is geared toward an adventurous audience, so I want to stay away from such cliche topics. I decided to feature the Sebastopol Apple Blossom Festival, an event happening during the month of publication (April 2015). A beautiful, striking image of an apple blossom will also help signify that it’s a Spring issue of SoCo Local!

Cover Typography 
Clear, friendly and legible. Featured article will stand out in a different color and font.

Cover Inspiration
I found many examples of local magazine covers from around the country and analyzed what worked and what didn't. After this research, I had a better idea of how I wanted to design SoCo Local's cover. I wanted: (1) an extreme close-up (like the first and second examples below); (2) interplay between cover image and magazine title (like the second example); and (3) a see-through title to allow the cover image to shine through (like the third example).
Logo Evolution
I wanted to use a nice chunky font in all capital letters for "SoCo" so the cover image could show through under it. To maintain a friendly energy, I wanted to use a handwritten-type font for "local." Below are some iterations of my initial ideas. The first version was too large and dominant since "SOCO" spanned the entire width of the page and "Local" dipped too far down into cover content. The second version was an improvement but didn't look quite right to me. For the final version, I kept the same format as the previous version but used a different font with a friendlier personality. I especially liked how the final "l" dipped down to break the horizontal rule.

The final logo coloring came from a tiny piece of vibrant green in the cover photo I chose for this issue. I envision the logo color changing for future issues depending on what complements the cover image. The shape of the logo and consistent use of ever-changing accent color will be what visually grounds the SoCo Local brand.
Cover Image
I wanted to feature a close-up of an apple blossom, and after much searching, I was left with a few promising prospects. Some examples:
Complications arose when putting these images to test on the cover, however.
I found a lovely image with an apple blossom on the right and the sun's rays shining down from the left. I thought "Ohhhh! I can place the center of the rays in the 'O' and it will look like the logo is shining!" Talk about text/image integration! The problem? Not enough contrast. The sun washed out the blue sky and I was left feeling blah about the image. 
The next contender was an apple blossom with perfect petals to subtly overlap onto the magazine title! The image had more contrast than the first, which seemed promising. The problem? Text placement. The image was busy with blossoms and I didn't like the way text was interacting with it. I tried a couple techniques to remedy this and probably could have broken out some typography sorcery, but I just wasn't wooed enough to continue.
During this trial-and-error process, I had been eyeing a beautiful apple blossom photo with wonderful contrast and a gorgeous vibrant blue background. However, I had avoided using it because the shape of the blossom seemed troublesome. I feared it would awkwardly divide the cover content, and I didn't see much opportunity for creatively cropping it to an acceptable composition.
Boy, was I mistaken! Don't get me wrong—I still had to manipulate the photo and experiment with type layouts and colors (a couple versions shown below), but I eventually got it right.
Magazine Spread 
I browsed many examples of magazine spreads, looking for inspiration. I then sketched some ideas. I decided to try a layout with a full-page image and a distinctive pull quote. Opposite that page would be the headline and main article content along with one or two short sidebar blurbs.
My chosen layout worked well...until I began replacing placeholder text with actual content! My main goal was to entice readers to attend the festival by highlighting some of the attractions and providing details and logistics. It was incredibly difficult to format the small sections in an interesting yet consistent manner without having odd line breaks all over the place. It took plenty of elbow grease, but I eventually got everything to line up.
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SoCo Local Magazine

SoCo Local Magazine

A magazine cover and two-page spread for SoCo Local, a fictitious monthly Sonoma County magazine that focuses on local issues and events.


Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe InDesign
Copyright Info

Attribution, Non-commercial

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