To ensure economic survival magazines have to be easily identifiable as to what audience they are targeting. In order to classify the target audience, nearly always you will just have to look at the front cover to work out the target audience. The front cover of a magazine is one of its most important factors as it is the first page the consumer will look at and if it does not make an impact on them, it is unlikely they will go ahead and purchase it. The front cover acts as an advert for the magazine itself.
A front cover can be described as a semiotic system which signals meanings through photographic, verbal and chromatic text. Just by looking at the front cover of ‘Marie Claire’ it is obvious it is for the older middle- aged generation as it is acting as an interpretive frame. This means the pictures, colour, and text on the front cover all work together to shape our response to what the contents are. The model on the front cover of ‘Marie Claire” is a middle aged, attractive woman. The majority of women’s magazines often put a young model or celebrity on the front cover.
The front cover of a woman’s magazine is a window to the future self. This will encourage the consumer to buy the magazine because they will aspire to look like the young model on the front. By buying the magazine they think they will be able to look young too. This also encourages the reader to buy the beauty products and clothes that are advertised within so to gain the appearance of the model, which is very important because magazines heavily rely on money from advertisers. The model is looking into the camera and smiling and appears to be very affable.
This also encourages the magazine to be bought as it produces a friendliness mode of address towards the reader. It is as if the model will be an acquaintance to you if you buy the magazine, in other words, surrogacy. The text used on the front cover of ‘Marie Claire’ is not very bright like the colour text used on the cover of a teenage magazine like, although some text on the cover has been made a fluorescent pink to make the headlines of the contents inside stand out. An example of this would be the word ‘wow’, or ‘South Africa Reborn’.
Woman’s magazines often do not use the bright colours because they are often more attracted to the more sophisticated and less high fashion lifestyle. Older women are often more attracted to the darker colours so that they can totally relax in reading it. The font is also very plain and bold, unlike the more fun fonts used on the cover of other youthful targeted magazines. An exuberant image is often not represented on the cover of a women’s magazine because again the publishers want it to be more relaxing to the eye.
The font used for the title of the magazine is very different from the other fonts so as to make it more prominent than the other magazines in the shop. When the consumer first sees the magazine, they first see the title so it needs to be more noticeable from the rest for the consumer to consider buying it. The font of the title has been made very large so producing a sophisticated connotation. This would stand out more than a small plain font.
A quantity of women’s magazines are made with a diligent looking front cover to represent their busy lifestyles and the supermarkets where they are found. Therefore ‘Marie Claire” should have been made a little busier in order to really attract the attention of the consumer from the supermarket shelf. Blocking the text makes it stand out more to the eyes of the consumer so enticing them to read what the article is about inside the magazine. ‘Marie Claire” represents a construction of femininity as it gives an image as to what the ideal woman is.
This is shown through the celebrity on the front cover looking good, which is saying you do not have to be a model to look good. This would again produce insecurities with the reader and they would buy it to read exactly how their lives should be. The cover also gives the impression that all women should be worrying about how old they look and what they look like, hence the articles on ‘Party dresses with X- factor’. The magazine is assuming the reader will be caring about her age and fashion sense and will buy the magazine to try and achieve a younger image.
This is explained as the Circle of Identity, the lifestyle and interest of the typical reader of the magazine. The text ‘Special price i?? 2. 50’ encourages consumers to buy the magazine because it gives them the realisation that they are saving money. There is also the economic implication, the cheaper the magazine the more likely the housewife or working mother will be able to afford it on their weekly budget. Words such as ‘FREE’ and ‘wow’ draw the reader to the cover as the think they will gain from the magazine if they purchase it.
The text ‘Plus win over i?? 8,000 of fabulous hair products’, this appeals to the reader as they think they can achieve something if they buy the magazine. ‘ The HOT list’ would also appeal to the consumer as it is the annual Marie Claire HOT awards celebrate a raft of woman, international and local , from pop stars to politicians who they predict will make the news in 2006. This would make woman try to aspire to be like these woman, the consumers also may be curious to see who these individuals are therefore they would purchase the magazine.