Vocab Lesson 18: Folios

Vocab Lesson 18: Folios A page number is known as a page number, right? Well, in magazine-speak, not necessarily...

Page numbers as you see them on the magazine page are called folios. However, the folio often contains other info as well, such as the publication's name, issue date, perhaps a web address or some other piece of info. (When this information appears without the page number, this info can be called running heads or running feet or simply runners.)  

Folios are an important part of the page or spread as they exist to serve the reader. Without the page number, readers can't easily find stories from the table of contents. And the extra information makes it easy for the reader to establish what issue they're reading, especially if the page gets torn out.

In most instances, the folio should be an almost invisible part of your layout that doesn't interfere with your design. It should probably be in a typeface that is part of your publication's type palette and kept simple, though many do use bullets, icons, rules, color or other subtle design elements to better reflect the magazine's personality.

For example, ESPN the magazine uses a thin rule beside the page number in the spread above, while Fortune uses their publication's logotype on the page below. And Bon Appetit uses their iconic forward-slanting rule along with their folio information.  (Click for larger views.)
Folio2-BonAppetit.jpgSome magazines, however, do treat the folio in a way that makes it integral to the page's design. Consider some of these treatments below ...

Saveur magazine places their folio at the top and within their page frame design.
Folio3-Saveur.jpgEsquire incorporates the folio into their opening spread of this feature and then returns to a more normal folio placement on the following pages.
Folio4-Esquire.jpgAnd Nylon plays up their folio in various ways throughout the magazine.
Folio5-Nylon.jpgEvery page that runs as a single page against an ad should have a folio on it, though sometimes because of a partial ad or other design issue, this is not possible. On a spread, the folio is really needed on only one of the pages, as seen on the spreads above.

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Want more? Check out our previous Vocab Lessons here.

"Vocab Lesson" is a recurring feature on our SPD Student Blog. Tune in (almost) every Wednesday for a new word of the week. And if you come across a term you can't quite figure out, email it to us at spdstudentoutreach@gmail.com and we'll define it in a future post.
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