Analysis 2 Of Front Cover: Rolling Stone


Rolling Stones magazine is typically known as a rock magazine; however, occasionally they do introduce other genres. Some may argue that ‘Rolling Stones’ isn’t a rock magazine but a hybrid. The uses and gratifications of this magazine is personal identity, the demographic will connect and identify themselves with particular artists/genres. The aspect is even greater within this issue, ’20 years on Nirvana’, the cover contains a very nostalgic type atmosphere; original fans of Nirvana will look at this cover and will personally relate back to the days when Nirvana were the height of the rock/music industry, starting a revolution where original fans would have been included . This gives us an idea to the age range of this issues particular demographic. At the time Nirvana’s fan base would have been teens of maybe 15 onwards; so ’20 years on’ concludes that this issue’s target audience is 35 years of age and onwards. While the secondary audience will be younger, newer fans; to add the secondary audience may consist of people whom are interested in Amy Winehouse, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and so forth. This links to the pick and mix theory; feeding the demographic a variety of topics in which they can choose or not choose to read producing a wider and more diverse target market.

The masthead is in the form of the traditional typography used for Rolling Stones house style. The masthead is coloured red, yes this is their house style but using the colour red makes the masthead stand out since, of course, red is the most notable colour to the human eye. Especially contrasting this with a black and white back ground, adds to the intensity of the colour; further making the masthead more noticeable to Rolling Stones demographic. The mastheads house style includes a drop shadow of the colour black, this gives the effect that the masthead has been embossed; this strengthens the masthead. Some may agree that the use of red and black has connotations to the sub culture of ‘Goth’, stereotypically the colours favoured by ‘Goths’ are black and red, to add they are known to listen to rock/dark music; linking back to the rock magazine Rolling Stones. Lastly, there is superimposition within this cover; this is typical of successful and well known magazines such as Rolling stones. Even though the masthead is partly covered; Rolling Stones demographic will instantly know what magazine it is.

The cover models/main image is of Nirvana, an old image taken back in their glory days. I don’t know whether tis photo was originally taken in black and white or if the editor made it this way. But the black and white effect adds to this nostalgic atmosphere. While looking at this, the feeling of nostalgia arises; this is only made even more possible from the use of black and white. This feeling makes the cover/issue more relatable to the demographic. The ideology of a ‘rock star’ is very apparent in this photo, from there long wild hair to the ‘I don’t give a damn’ fashion sense, the iconography links very well to a classic rock and Nirvana’s sub-genre of grunge. Again fans of this style will easily and personally relate to this style. As for direct address, Kurt Cobain is looking directly at the camera/audience; instantly stealing away the attention from the other 2 band members but after all he was the lead singer, it’s only normal for this to happen.

The tagline line is simply ‘Nirvana’; they don’t need an introduction because they’re still such a huge and iconic band across the globe. The font size is large and bold to grab the attention of the demographic while creating anchorage between the picture and text; using Nirvana’s house style for their band logo. While looking at the cover it’s odd to see that the tagline appears to be slightly larger than the masthead, yes the tagline is important but the masthead is the most important factor of a magazine. It isn’t too good if the tagline stills away attention from the masthead. Along with the tagline is information here to draw even more attention from the audience using language such as; ‘Inside their legendary Aussie tour’. Using the word ‘inside’ gives the idea that this story is exclusive, it’s on a need to know basis. Fans of Nirvana will want to read about their ‘legendary’ tour and the word ‘legendary’, the word itself has a high status; why was their tour so ‘legendary’? W            ell read and you’ll find out. The way to use language can make or break an issue, using the right words will fully grab the demographics attention. On the right hand side, the cover features cover lines, designed to lure the audience in, giving them a variety to read from. Unlike most magazines this cover doesn’t use direct address when it comes to language e.g. ‘you’ or ‘your’; instead the magazine is talking specifically about the artist themselves such as ‘Red Hot Chilli Peppers, their unstoppable groove’. Some may argue that this has been done because the reader wants to personally relate to the artist not the other way round, so the lack of direct address doesn’t make a difference to how effective the cover lines are.

Unlike Kerrang, the structure of this cover is simple, neat and tidy using formal typography. From this that Rolling Stones are aiming to reach more of an older but more mature audience juxtapose to Kerrang aiming for a teen based demographic. To add the structure of the magazine follows the natural eye guide line, invisibly forming the shape of a Z; this makes the magazine as a whole easier to read and more aesthetically pleasing. Lastly, the cover includes a skyline; extra information is added to give further details to the demographic to what they might find inside this magazine.

I know it is rather hard to analysis an issue covering a topic from 20 years ago along using an image from that time period but I have chosen this particular issue because over the decades the Rolling Stones have become more and more about pop and hip pop. At the end I want to produce a rock magazine that is more relatable to the classics while also having the modern twist added. I know it’s best to research modern day rock magazines but also to find issues that relate to the classics so I can find that balance.


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