The Coffey Blog

How to create compelling hospital magazine covers

Posted on: Monday, June 1, 2015

Julie Christian, Art Director/Senior Graphic Designer
Marjorie Reece, Lead Senior Editor

Great magazine covers are a golden ticket to readers.

They entice us at the newsstand. They grab our attention as we stand in line at the grocery store and at our mailboxes. They beg a closer look—a peek inside.

That's why it's so important to make your healthcare magazine's cover fresh and inviting.

What makes a hospital magazine cover great?

If you work on a healthcare magazine, this question is on your mind. Here at Coffey, it's a topic we never get tired of thinking about—and talking about!

At the core, it's about images and words working well together. That starts with artists and editors collaborating too. That's what we've done here to answer questions we often hear from healthcare marketers about creating covers that truly shine.

Q: What should be the goal of the magazine cover?
Julie:
Think of the cover as the door to your publication. That door should invite and entice readers to open it and "come on in." And it should reflect positively on your organization.

Marjorie: The most effective covers create instant appeal—they're attractive and polished. The image and the words work together to create a pleasing, positive impression.

Q: What should I keep in mind when selecting a cover image?
Marjorie:
Start by choosing your cover topic strategically. Ask yourself: What content in your publication has universal appeal to readers outside your organization? What topic lends itself to a positive image and teaser?

Julie: Choose images that are engaging and genuine. At Coffey, we often ask the question: "Is it cover-worthy?" It helps to keep these 3 criteria in mind:

  1. Quality. Photos in your publication are a mirror of the care and quality you offer your patients. Don't settle for photos with low resolution or poor composition.
  2. Simplicity. Don't overwhelm the reader with images that are visually distracting. As a rule of thumb, keep the number of people featured on the cover to less than 3 so that the featured person can be large enough to have a real impact.
  3. Interest. A theme, a beautiful object or setting, or a photo that has energy and action can all add interest. Another sure bet: faces. Feature warm, engaging people who are comfortable in front of the camera. Leave snapshots of construction sites or machines for inside pages.

Pro tip: Shooting a photo for your publication? Choose a clean, tidy background. Messy surfaces, busy walls and power cords can be distracting and create a sense of disorder.

Q: What works best for copy on the cover?
Marjorie:
If I could give only 1 tip for writing headlines and teasers, it would be to speak to readers—call out a benefit to them. Think of what matters to your readers: their health, well-being and quality of life and that of their families. How does your story enhance their lives?

Use common, catchy, positive words that invite the reader to open the magazine. Try different combos until you hit one that works for the image and the message. Don't be afraid to play. Crafting cover teasers can be challenging—and fun!

We have you covered!

Coffey's magazine editors and designers specialize in helping healthcare marketers create attention-grabbing covers for their publications. See more of our work.

Interested in putting us to work on your hospital magazine? Give us a call at 888.805.9101 or email us to get a quote.

See examples of our award-winning work