All magazines are created within a particular market. Every magazine is different and they aim their information/images at different target audiences. An example of this, the fashion magazine Vogue is aimed at a target audience of 16 + females, with a keen interest in fashion. A much more mature audience than celebrity gossip magazine, Sugar, that’s audience would be directed at younger female teens.
Magazine markets vary from newspaper supplements, to independent magazines. Other examples of different magazine markets are:
- Consumer Magazines
- Business to Business Magazines
- News and Educational Magazines
- In House Journals
- Alternative magazines
Unawarely, as readers we are looking at semiotic analysis when discovering what suits our needs and interests when looking at magazines.
‘Magazines construct signs to communicate social meanings for their readers.’
‘These signs relate to an ideology that appear natural in the context of the magazine.’
‘The ideology that the magazine constructs relates to the advertising that the magazine attracts.’
In Jonathan Bignell’s book; Media Semiotics:An Introduction, he quotes: ‘The categorisation of readers by age-group or relationship status is used by magazine publishers and advertisers as a shorthand way of indicating the main issues discussed in the magazines editorial material, the kind of readers the magazines are thought to have, and the kinds of products advertised in the magazines.’
He then continues to discuss target audiences, and states, ‘A semiotic analysis might reveal that a particular magazine has an ‘ideal reader’ corresponding to the man or woman whose interests are targeted by the magazine, there will (also) be a large number of non-’ideal’ readers.’
American photographer David Guttenfelder believes that it is important for photographers to research magazines, as it enables them to understand potential audiences for work. It is important that as a photographer that you are aware of the target audience of the magazine and what they will expect to see, to fulfill their expectations and provoke their interest.
After researching different magazines and their covers, it became clear to me that knowing different magazine markets is extremely important. After looking through GQ magazine, I have now familiarized myself with the magazine, and if asked to work for them I would produce high fashion images, with a desirable celebrity to grace the cover, that show a great deal of sex appeal. This would seem appropriate as the target audience is aimed towards both men and women 18 +.
Examples of GQ covers: