Magazine Design Course

Magazine Design: Paper to Digital

Periodical publications come in all forms and cover every imaginable topic — from political, academic, trade, art and design, luxury and lifestyle magazines to indie, popular culture and entertainment. This course looks at what makes the magazine distinct, as a tactile reading experience, as well as what design elements contribute to making it a powerful and efficient medium. Through an analysis of both American and European magazine design, we examine the use of elements such as systems, navigational devices, typography, illustration and photography, and apply them in practical exercises. Considerations of theme, context, content and personal interest influence the creation of a physical magazine spread consisting of a cover, table of contents and three articles.

While students’ studio projects are specifically print magazine-based, the course is supplemented with discussions and examples of how contemporary magazines are able to translate traditional material design excellence into a successful digital format (ezines). By reviewing how media-specific attributes such as audio, video, and search functions can hold the reader’s attention online, students will be able to consider potential digital design options in the future.

Students exhibit their work at Open Studios held 4–6 pm on the final day of class.

Student laptop required with the following specifications and English language software loaded: latest version MacOS (preferred) or Windows, Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. Students in SIGDS courses pay for their own printing and can expect to spend $75 or more depending on the course and desired outcomes.

Course #0764
Mark Laughlin

Schedule 2
July 6–17, 2020
9 am–4 pm

Tuition $2,975
Tuition for RISD Alumni and Students $2,380

3 Credits


Mark Laughlin

Mark Laughlin is a designer with experience as former partner at Laughlin/Winkler Design, where he worked extensively in identity and brand development for established firms and dynamic startups alike, to establish story, create an imprint and guide perception. His teaching experience includes lecturer at Montserrat College of Art and The Art Institute of Boston. He currently serves as a senior critic in the Graphic Design department at Rhode Island School of Design and as a critic at Northeastern University. After receiving a BFA from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth he pursued graduate studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, Switzerland. Laughlin's teaching philosophy emphasizes the fundamental value of graphic language and design principles to bring clarity to communication and concept development.