From the way the content is written to design decisions, both magazines and comic books employ an intensely graphic style. Which makes creating one very different from creating a book. It takes a little more to learn how to create and print a magazine, but that
Lots of options exist for book templates out there. A quick Google search will produce near-endless results. From free templates on Canva (though these are mostly covers) to paid template bundles; you can find loads of magazines and comic book templates.
Now, what do you do with those templates?
Magazine And Comic Book Page Layout
There are lots of standards and expectations to contend with when you’re creating a book. Foremost is the need to fit the mold for your readers; if you’re publishing an action-packed comic, you’ll need to include punch panels and flashy images. If you’re publishing a magazine with long-form content, you’ll need columns with standard fonts.
Comic Book Page Layout
For example, here’s a comic template from Medialoot, a resource for loads of templates.
The left panel uses very standard square/rectangle panels. This kind of setup is great for a scene full of exposition—say if one character is telling another about a situation or if they’re moving through a location that needs to be revealed.
The middle set of panels is perfect for an argument because the top three can juxtapose close-ups of characters. Then the lower panels (which could easily be replaced with one large panel or two side-by-side) can show a moment of action or resolution to the heated moment.
Finally, that right panel is perfect for a scene dominated by graphics. Like a fight scene or a character arriving in a new location.
This doesn’t mean that you couldn’t use the square/rectangle panels for a fight scene or the three-panel template for exposition. But pairing a scene with the template that readers expect will help settle them into the reading. Readers—all of us really—crave some amount of familiarity.
Magazine Page Layout
It’s much harder to define a ‘standard’ magazine layout. But here is an image from UI Creative that does a good job of highlighting some of the main design elements.
The leftmost image is an eye-catcher: it’s designed to make you stop flipping through the magazine and indicate either a new article or a single-page information dump. You can break free of the ‘boxes’ design and use a variety of shapes and colors. The main idea is to present a headline at the top of the page to catch the reader’s attention.
The middle page is the standard, column-based design for a magazine article. It’s easy to insert in-line images in a column without breaking the flow of the text. Note the use of white space and a blue background to emphasize different (but related) content on the page.
Finally, the right-most page highlights a graphic-focused page. These are easily the most customizable, so long as your graphic and copy are compelling.
Print-On-Demand Products For Magazines And Comic Books
Did you know that comic book and magazine layouts are pretty much standardized at a specific paper size? It’s true. Comics are more often than not 6.63 x 10.25 inches and magazines are 8.5 x 11 inches (for your standard, Saddle Stich magazine) or 5.5 x 8.5 inches (for a periodical or literary journal).
If you go to a grocery store, bookstore, or comic book shop and look at the shelves, you’ll see the books are almost entirely uniform. Again, that uniformity is important to make sure your readers know they’re getting a comic book or magazine.
When you’re publishing your magazine or comic book with Lulu, you’ll have the option to select your specific product to see the most common size, color, and paper options.
It’s important to select the right print-on-demand business for your comic book or magazine publishing. In addition to helping you sell your custom products, Lulu offers free ecommerce integrations with Shopify and WooCommerce, as well as our Order Import tool—perfect for magazines that need to ship to a large list of subscribers monthly.
Magazine And Comic Book Covers
Aside from the standard sizes and graphic-heavy nature of magazines and comic books, there is one other important defining feature: printing on the inside of your cover.
It’s easy to miss at a glance, but most books do not have any printing on the inside cover. But comic books and magazines almost always do have content on the inside cover. With Lulu, you can use our unique cover template to upload a cover file that includes printing on the inside cover.
That might seem like a small thing, but for a magazine that can be valuable advertising space.
Magazine Template Resources
Magazines use some very specific elements; such as columned text and ‘title’ pages for long-form content. But the way these elements are combined on the page is where design choices make a big difference.
Fortunately, using powerful tools like InDesign make it easy to make your own magazine.
With that in mind, I’ve got two spots on the web I recommend for grabbing interior magazine templates. Both of these are meant for InDesign, but Affinity Publisher works for them as well.
If you’re interested in page layout and graphic design, InDesign Skills is a terrific site.
Their content is written simply and includes specific help for some of InDesign’s more complicated elements.
The Adobe Blog features lots of helpful information about using all of their software. This content in particular highlights a few awesome magazine templates they offer through their Adobe Stock site.
Comic Book Layout Resources
There is a lot out there when it comes to comic book templates. From simple designs for kids to learn about comic creation to complex, multi-panel designs for high-quality comics; there are a lot of options.
I’ve got two for traditional comic book styles—these are versatile and will work for a lot of comic book layouts.
Template.net offers, you guessed it, a variety of templates. Their free downloads do require attributing the creator—so if you use these, be sure to call out the creator in your work.
Canva is a leader in the design industry for free, simple-to-use tools. Their options are a bit basic, but if you’re creating something simple and don’t want to pay for a template or develop your own, Canva’s comic book templates are a great alternative.
Paul is the Content Marketing Manager at Lulu. When he's not entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person but considers himself cat tolerant.