In this tutorial you'll learn how to use Placeit and an inspiring landscape photograph to create a travel magazine cover, the kind you might find in your town’s tourist office.
Good Photography Loves Good Design
I love photography, I have visual preferences, and an appreciation for clean design. Does that mean I can make a layout look beautiful? Well, sometimes. With a lot of effort and plenty of time, but it is not a sure thing. Sometimes I want my projects to just work—without the stress of making minute layout adjustments and wondering if each change is making my image look better or worse.
Have you been in a similar situation? If you work with photography, create promotional materials, or have at any point opened image editing software on your computer, my guess your answer to that question is, yes!
Placeit is a new online tool that takes the sweat out of the design process and leaves you with a beautiful, professional-looking result in just two minutes.
1. Choose a Magazine Cover Template
I went to Placeit’s Magazine Cover Maker to see what kind of templates are available. There are twelve magazine cover templates in a range of styles to choose from, so whether you prefer an elegant or bold design, there is an option for you.
My advice, based on my experience using this tool: pick something that is closest in style to what you want your final product to look like. Every element in each template is editable, so you can move text boxes and change fonts, but it will save you time and you’ll end up with a stunning result if you let the template do the heavy lifting for you.
I picked The Surf Life template for my project.
2. Choose Your Cover Image
The templates have ample default image options, or your can upload your own.
For our example, I'll create a magazine cover based on a trip I took this summer to Gasépesie, a beautiful maritime region of Québec, Canada, where rolling hills meet dramatic seaside vistas. A quick search on Envato Elements turned up a perfect stock image for my project.
When picking an image for a magazine cover, it helps to use an image with a single bold element and lots of space—this will make sure the text stands out and is readable, and make your cover look clean, uncluttered, and professional. Look for a photo with 'bleed' in the composition, where the photographer has left enough room to comfortably crop vertically into the picture without radically changing the content of the photo.
After downloading this high-res image to my computer, I uploaded it to PlaceIt.
3. Upload Your Image
To the bottom right of your magazine cover template, you’ll see an image panel with default image options. Scroll to the top of this box to find the Custom Image option, second from the top. Click on this box to be taken to a dialog box to choose an image from your computer.
4. Crop Your Image
Once you upload your image it will appear in a crop box. Adjust the crop to suit your magazine cover.
I made sure to place the boat—the main focal point of the image—to the bottom right of the crop rectangle, since I want my text to appear near the top and to the left of the magazine cover, as in the template.
5. Insert Your Title and Text
Now that you have your image uploaded, it is time to swap out the default mockup text for your own. The first thing I did was change the title.
The text in this template is controlled by the panel to the left of the magazine cover. Enter your text into the text input boxes in this panel—there is one for each text box in the mockup.
Deselecting the checkboxes will remove text boxes from your magazine cover. I deselected the third checkbox to remove the word LIFE from my mockup, since I don’t need that text element in my final version. One neat feature: when I deselected that text element, the title text box in my mockup resized automatically to better fit space freed up by removing the yellow LIFE text element.
Below each of the checkboxes and text input boxes, there are two dropdown panels, one each for font and font colour. To adjust the text, click the text box on the mockup, which will display a new cursor that allows to move or resize the text box.
For my magazine cover, I changed the text colour on the lower left quadrant on the mockup to white, to give it better contrast and readability with the image I uploaded. I clicked on the small font colour dropdown box beneath the text input box and selected the colour I wanted.
Since I wanted to take advantage of the existing graphic design of this template, I left the font styles and text placements alone. If you want to get creative, you have that power with this template! And if after making changes, you want to revert any text box to its default location, a reset button will appear at the top of the mockup after each placement change.
6. Customize Graphic Elements
After changing my text, I was quite happy with my magazine cover. One final thing I wanted to change was the colour and style of the title graphic, to better suit the colour palette of my image.
To do that, I used the title graphic scroll box at the top left of my magazine cover to pick a shape I preferred for my design—I chose a simple rectangular box with rounded corners. I also clicked on the title graphic colour dropdown just above the scroll box, to change my title graphic colour to a light green that I felt better suited my image.
7. Enjoy the Final Result!
That was so easy! In two minutes I have an end result that really pleases me and enhances the image I chose. Here’s a side-by-side view of the original template and my final result:
As you can see, this template did the heavy lifting for me in terms of layout and graphic design. After years of working with image editing software and fussing over each element to achieve the perfect placement and size, I have to say, it was fun to use this template and see a perfect result in just minutes.
Over the next few months, I’m going to feature some other Placeit tools and templates that you can try for yourself. And I hope you do try them, so you can see for yourself how easy and effective this online tool is.