Many magazine art departments are starving--for money maybe, but for space--unquestionably. The worlds largest art budget is useless, if illustration and photographs are relegated to nickel-sized art holes. In addition to advantages of big art, white space benefits article readability immeasurably.
These three spreads, despite their different topics and the designers varying levels of facility are fundamentally the same and fundamentally boring. The headline and the art share the upper left hand corner to the detriment of both. Designing one of these layouts is like starting a chess game after all your pieces have already been pinned down.
These spreads are also all structurally the same--text on one side, image on the other. Nevertheless, they are all visually different and visually engaging. Maneuvering room--as much as art quality--gives the designer the tools to create a layout that will demand attention. Note that the understated headline in particular would be impossible on one of the constipated spreads above--it requires breathing room. NEXT