Analysing Magazine covers: Empire:’Shaun of the Dead’…

Posted: February 11, 2011 in Media

Empire Magazine Cover #2 (Shaun of the Dead)

The line across the top of the magazine ( highlighted but I forgot to label/ number it so I’ll explain it first)

’10 years/ The icons issue/ 10 covers’

Explanation & Analysis

This is known as anchorage text, as it is pretty much explaining to the reader why the magazine has chosen Simon Pegg’s character, Shaun, to feature on the front cover of the magazine. Using the buzzword ‘icons’ cleverly makes the reader/consumer think that this text is important and therefore successfully catches their eye. The use of repetition (the number ten) also is useful for catching reader’s eyes and drawing their attention to the  magazine. I think also that the colour code is useful not only for linking to the rest of the magazine (keeping to a black and silver theme) but also helps the three pieces of text look separate and not just one whole sentence (as together the words don’t really make sense)

1- Price & Date

Explanation & Analysis

A lot of the time Empire magazine appears to place the price & date of their magazine here (in the middle of the name of the magazine) which I think is very interesting- as although it is small and quite hard to see on the picture above, it is positioned in a place reader’s are most likely to look ( at the name of the magazine they are reading and/or buying) and therefore this vital information is bound not to be missed or overlooked.

2- Name of Magazine ‘Empire’

Explanation & Analysis

This text is widely known as the masthead. As always, the name of the magazine is a very important factor (and key for recognition amongst readers- like a logo) so it is written in big, red letters which makes it very eye-catching, and also pretty much symbolises Empire itself. Even though the main image is super imposed over the top of this writing, it is still easy to read.

3-Tagline, Slogan- ‘The World’s Biggest Movie Magazine’

Explanation & Analysis

This is one of the magazine’s pugs – as it is positioned pretty much away into the left hand corner, or ‘ears’, of the magazine. This may imply that the tagline/slogan is not as important as other factors of the magazine but the fact it is still on the magazine cover (and quite near the top too) shows it still serves a purpose (otherwise it wouldn’t be on the cover at all would it?). The writing is very small too, but the slogan is still used for persuading reader’s to buy the magazine (implying it’s better than any other film magazine out there) as well as for existing audience recognition. 

4-Website ‘’

Explanation & Analysis

This is another of the magazine’s pugs- though this time positioned in the right hand corner or ‘ears’ of magazine. The website is written in small letters which may imply it is perhaps not as important as other pieces, but a website on the contrary is quite important. Reaching out to audiences who can’t perhaps afford the magazine not only increases the companies fan base but also gives reader’s the power to discover more information about the magazine company or the news within it themselves.

5-‘Cover #8, Simon Pegg as Shaun’

Explanation & Analysis

This is known as anchorage text- as it is really just text explaining the magazine’s central image to reader (in case they are not aware of who the actor/character is, why they’re on the cover etc). This makes the reader more comfortable with what they’re seeing as they also have the information to go with it in case they are not familiar with the image itself. The text is also very short and to the point- so as not to take up too much room but get’s the basic information of the image across. With the text placed in a red circle that looks pretty much like a sticker- this makes the text stand out against the background of the cover and thus the reader will not miss the information put across to them.

6-Image of Simon Pegg (in his role as Shaun)

Explanation & Analysis

This is the central image and pretty much what is viewed to be the biggest selling point of any magazine cover and the main focus of attention for the reader/consumer. With popular British comedian and actor Simon Pegg (as Shaun) this is quite a good way of targeting an English audience in particular (as the character is from a popular English film and Empire is an English film magazine, thus they are bound to have mainly English readers). A useful technique of a direct mode of address is used by the actor- as the character is looking straight towards the reader/consumer. This captures the attention of the reader and makes them connect somewhat to the magazine. The mise en scene on this image  is also vital to the reader/consumer’s reaction or judgement (whether or not they choose to buy it) as the character is wearing a bloody shirt (implying he is from a horror film) holding a cricket bat in the air, looking ready to hit something…or someone (implying  a horror film also) and with a tie around his head (implying a comedy)- this all gives hints to the reader that this character is from a horror/comedy film (horror connoted mostly through the colour of red and blood, comedy through the comic weapon and character’s dress code).

7-‘New interviews! Amazing access! Exclusive Photos!’

Explanation & Analysis

Well this is a small puff- in basic terms sentences that reveal to the reader what they can expect to see inside and thus this gives them an incentive to buy the magazine or go a bit further than just looking at the front cover (if something catches their eye). The puff uses descriptive language- mostly adjectives that make whatever they are describing appear ‘amazing’ and something readers can’t afford miss, thus catching the reader’s attention (which is also emphasized by the exclamation marks!).The colour code of this puff also fits in nicely witht he rest of magazine, as well as standing out against the quite light background (in red, black and red again). It may not be very big in terms of other aspects but still serves a purpose on the magazine cover.

8-‘The ten greatest characters of the noughties…’

Explanation & Analysis

This text is again, anchorage text, as it is helping to explain the image further to the reader/consumer and why it is on the front cove. Being in white and positioned pretty much in the centre of magazine cover makes it bold and eye-catching. It is also (well half of it is) super imposed over the image of Simon Pegg/ Shaun to perhaps connote to the reader that the text links to the picture (by linking them physically) and it also gives the cover I think a more ‘professional’ look.The text is positioned above what the text that it leads onto (from the ellipse) and the use of adjectives- here being ‘greatest’ – catches the reader’s attention and helps to ‘sell’ the magazine.

9-‘Icons of the decade’

Explanation & Analysis

Also being anchorage text- it appears to be the most important piece- as it is written in big, thick and white letters that are positioned in the centre of the magazine cover and superimposed over the main image. This emphasizes it’s importance and makes sure readers/consumers will not miss the text. Having ‘icons’ I think in the biggest letters shows that this word is the most important- mostly because it is quite persuasive and will appeal to readers- as they will want to know why this character/actor etc is an icon and what other icons they have been celebrating in this series (so it gets them interested and involved- as they will want to see whether they argee with the magazine’s choices or not).

10-‘…And how they rocked our world’

Explanation & Analysis

Anchorage text. Again. Written in white letters (and in the same font) like all the other pieces of anchorage text conveys to the reader/consumer that although the pieces of text are different sizes and in different positions, they all link to one another. Here the use of collective pronouns in the text -‘our‘ – helps the reader/consumer feel as though they are being personally and directly spoken to- thus catching their attention and making them feel involved with what the magazine is discussing.

11-’10 years! 10 covers! Choose your icon! Turn to page 13 to see them all!’

Explanation & Analysis

Although this can be anchorage text (as it links to how the main image was chosen for the cover) this is more of a puff, as it reveals what the reader/consumer can expect to find inside, thus persuading them to buy the magazine itself (which it does by telling them directly which page to go to in the magazine to find it). This feature also directly seems to talk to the reader/consumer- making them connect to what the magazine is saying and therefore are more likely to buy it ( as they are offered to choose their own icon rather than just being told a simple list of icons the magazine have determined worthy- it makes the reader’s feel involved- like the magazine values their own opinion). Using constant exclamation marks also makes the reader feel that the feature is exciting and one they can’t afford to miss- this is also down to the fact that the second line is written in red- making it eye-catching and bold. Although it is positioned in the left hand corner (first appearing as though it may not be very important) puffs are usually put in corners (it’s quite a well-known convention in magazine covers).

12-‘Where the Wild Things are, Spike Talks!’ & ‘Lunch with Cameron Diaz’

Explanation & Analysis

These again, are all puffs- and their language appears quite informal and personal, making the readers/consumers feel as if they could really get to know the stars they admire like old friends just by reading the articles and interviews with them inside the magazine (like having lunch with a star- it seems informal yet exclusive and one of a kind thing a fan would surely never turn down). Overall, these puffs convey a small and interesting preview to what magazine  has to offer the readers inside- making them more likely to choose to buy it. Though this information is very brief and to the point- thus to learn more about it the readers have no choice but to look inside and find out for themselves. These are positioned near the bottom and in grey letters- probably near the bottom of the cover so that readers/consumers, when they’ve read the rest of the text (as the common perception is to read from the top and gradually to the bottom) so that they can be persuaded (if not by the magazines other features) to buy the magazine.


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