In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
The first way in which my magazine uses conventions is the use of an eye catching masthead. The font used (Prometheus) was downloaded from ‘www.DaFont.com’ and features very bold, yet minimalistic letter styles which works well to draw the reader to it but also works well with the rest of the ‘graphology’ used on the front cover and beyond. The actual title I used ‘HUMAN ERROR’ can be seen as a challenge to conventions as it presents a slightly negative sounding comment. A lot of music magazines try and present a positive ‘scenario’ such as ‘WONDERLAND’ ‘MOJO’ or even ‘VIBE’ which all have positive connotations. ‘HUMAN ERROR’ on the other hand sends a message of imperfection, utilizing a term usually used to describe accidents such as plane/car crashes that is the fault of the pilot/driver. The reason for this hinges on the target audience. The target audience of my magazine is select and made up of young people who have a passion for music, but are constantly seeking new and obscure bands/genres etc. that cannot even yet be described as alternative. Due to this, they are also likely to reject popular/mainstream music and even most ‘indie/alternative’ bands. This also leads me to believe that their view on the music industry is slightly negative and pessimistic with the overriding opinion that it is ‘going downhill’ most likely since either the ‘90s or ‘60s depending on who it is you ask. So this more negative message subconsciously associates them with this magazine as it is presenting music that is untouched from the corporate and money focused ‘industry’ as a new and fresh alternative. The minimalist nature of the magazine cover develops conventions as although many magazines take the ‘stripped back’ approach, they do this as a stylistic decision. The reason for the ‘quiet’ nature of the cover on ‘HUMAN ERROR’ is related to my last point about challenging the industry; the lack of advertisement and sponsorship is an attempt to build a partition between corporate magazines and this one.
Another way, in which conventions are developed, is the motif I created when I used Photoshop to block out the face of the featured artist slightly. This motif would be continued in various ways throughout subsequent editions similar to ‘I-D’ magazine’s motif of having the person on the front page cover one of their eyes by either blinking or possibly using props etc. The way in which this develops conventions is due to the fact that the view of the featured artist/artist is restricted more than on the covers of ‘I-D’ magazine, which is unconventional as almost all magazines seek to advertise and exaggerate their artists as much as possible and not limit their image. The reason that allows me to justify this motif is due to the fact that most featured artists will be unheard of to readers, so their image is not necessarily a selling point. (Also, the target audience most likely to read this magazine will not fall for common tricks of other magazines i.e. to put the most attractive people on the front cover to encourage attention.) The frequent use of this motif would also make the magazine standout on a shelf surrounded by other magazines, which would lead to higher sales.
The contents page generally follows conventions set out by magazines such as ‘VIBE’ as it features a ‘stripped back’ look (in conjunction with the overriding style of the ‘mag’) and an image of an artist as well as the text being in one, basic column. The way in which my contents page challenges conventions is the placement of the image of the artist as it is slightly transparent and covered by text etc. so it does not stand out very much.
One way in which my double page uses conventions of real products can be seen on the double page spread. There are several conventional elements that can be found across the page such as the layout of the text and the portrait being of the featured artist. The heading of the article is in the same font as both the masthead and the contents page heading. This is a common convention that introduces continuity into the magazine and begins to develop a specific motif, tailored to the target audience. The text is also aligned both with the outline of the page, and the other items on the page in a traditional manner. There is a ‘drop cap’ embedded into the main body of text and all of the words are flush either to the left or right depending on the column. The heading and text grab are in line with both; each other and the main body of text. This makes the article look genuine and the graphology I have used adds to the overall ‘minimalist’ theme. The colour scheme I adopted for the double page also adds to the theme as I only used black and grey text. Not only this but the image of the artist that I decided to use is a silhouette so does not interfere with the overall style.
The way in which my double page spread further develops conventions is through the content of the article. To make the article seem genuine I employed a writing style that seems to reflect a level of poised assertiveness within the featured artist’s language. For example the quote “for me it isn’t just a philosophy, it’s how I think” presents an argument pushed by many people who see themselves as confident and righteous (my target audience) although these views may not be interpreted as such by the majority.