What is a magazine template (master pages)?

Dean Cook

by Dean Cook, May 24, 2016
Category: Blog,   Tags: Adobe CC, commercial printing, Creative Suite, elements, format, InDesign, InDesign master pages, magazine master pages, magazine templates, master pages, Object Styles, structure, style sheets, template, typography, what are master pages in InDesign,

When deciding to create a magazine, one of the most fundamental foundations is the template – or what we refer to in the trade as ‘master pages’.

Many perceive the master pages to simply be a document that carries print ready pages with pre-defined boxes that only require the user to drop in images and text. Only if it was that easy.

In reality there are unlimited varying and individual factors that need to be considered on every single page to make it all fit and visually pleasing. This includes: working with different words counts; quantity of images (with varying dimensions); individual styling; typographics; creating bespoke elements; position elements to allow the eye to easily flow over the content; and, if required, to ensure the last line of the text lands on the last line of the page. Each and every page needs individual attention.

The majority of publications contain a range of master pages depending on the structure and format such as: the cover, contents, news style pages, advert page, two or three feature variants, product reviews, directory and any other sections the magazine may carry. Ultimately you could be looking at setting up at least half a dozen master pages for just one publication.

In addition to the master pages we would also create master character/paragraph sets and element maps called style sheets and object styles. Collectively they carry: the overall branding; various font style settings for different applications and functions; element styles; set tabulations; elements that carry repeating images and characters; application of auto page numbering, date stamps, margins, pull outs, panels; and other functional visual styling. Everything we need to avoid too much manual page processing that would naturally invite inconsistencies and drive up the time to turn round pages.

In short, the combination of master pages is the creation of the skeleton of which we dress each issue.

Bespoke master pages are set up only once but then can be adapted as the magazine evolves. Without master pages it would make the production of any magazine very time consuming thereby increase production costs. Tailor-made master pages is essential, however, there are templates available online for little cost but in real terms they are very basic; it is then very tempting to provide content to fit in with the template when, in fact, the master pages are designed to be a flexible foundation to fit around your content. If you like the look of a template online then allow us to download then adapt for your particular publication.

The pricing we offer to create master pages is based on time but typically it should only cost a few hundred pounds depending on what is involved. A detailed brief would enable us to hone in on more accurate pricing. From there we can usually fix a price per issue so you can budget ahead with confidence whilst we turn round the pages with ease and stability.

We use Adobe’s Creative Suite of software. Combining the pro tools of InDesign, Photoshop, Acrobat etc., alongside our skill, expertise and experience enables us to turn pages round efficiently whilst maintaining the technical requirements for any commercial printing company.

We can create master pages for you without the need for us to work on every issue but would recommend that you use someone who is proficient with Adobe’s Creative Suite and they possess at least a few year’s commercial print experience. This service is not designed for end-users with little commercial experience to create their own magazine.

There are visually good looking magazine templates available online for little cost but in real terms are basic. It’s not a case of supplying content to fit a template rather than craft the master pages to work with your content.

For more information contact us on 01273 467579 or email us by clicking here.

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