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Your app is your brand on App Store – if you are about to publish your digital magazine on mobile devices read this article to find out how to prepare a good looking digital magazine design, a recommendable content which is read with pleasure and which works on Apple mobile devices with iOS and Android controlled tablets and smartphones.

Your native PressPad app is a virtual kiosk and, at the same time, a reader visible in News Stand which allows readers to look through successive digital issues. A great advantage of such a solution is that you can put every issue in your PressPad publisher panel in a PDF format and subscribers of your magazine will instantly see successive issues on their tablets or smartphones.

The FastCompany Magazine

The FastCompany magazine accurately noted in the article “Your App is Your Brand Now” that “If you don’t have an app you risk being effectively invisible to the fastest growing audience of customers: More than a billion app users already exist, and that market is growing at nearly 30% every year.”

The guardian Case Study

Known titles have already gone to mobile platforms. The case of The Guardian is one of the most famous. Its mobile app is a perfect complement to the printed magazine. Not only the title itself has gone to mobile platforms but also they adapt their publishing platform to new customer expectations.

Obviously, you don’t have to invest millions of dollars to appear on the mobile platform with your magazine but the case of the Guardian is interesting and instructive for every digital magazine publisher.

The Guardian Digital Magazine on iPad - PressPad blog

Here is an excellent presentation that outlines how The Guardian newspaper created its iPad version. This has a lot of good advice for anyone who wants to go mobile.

If you want the digital edition of your magazine read on mobile devices to make use of the potential of mobile devices fully and to make the User Experience the most valuable, stick to the following rules while creating a PDF of your magazine.

Digital Magazine Design – Layout

The magazine has to be legible. Use one or two column layout in order to have a digital magazine design which is legible and good looking. Mobile applications on smartphones and tablets allow you to view magazines in portrait or landscape modes. In the case of portrait mode only one page can be displayed and in the case of landscape mode two pages can be displayed at the same time. That’s why it is so important that every page keeps the 4:3 ratio.

Landscape, horizontal orientation you can see 2 pages on your iPad

This allows, both in vertical as well as in horizontal mode, to use the whole displace space. What’s more, it creates additional opportunities of building great User Experience because in landscape mode you can get an extra (central) column formed by putting together the two smaller columns on adjacent pages. To select the optimal column width you can use the Golden Ratio principle used successfully in the art of design (also a digital magazine design).

Grid Magazine Layout

Another interesting idea is to use a grid, where each element is a preview of the next articles and has interlinks with which you can easily jump to the location in the magazine. If your magazine or other publication consists of multiple pages this type of grid can be a nice variation for the reader, who also serves as the internal menu.

Hint: Recommended page size: 2048 x 1536px

Illustrations and Photos


What would reading on a tablet be without being able to enjoy beautiful illustrations. The first and one of the most important illustration in the magazine is the cover of the magazine, which has to draw the reader’s attention, and in the case of digital publishing has to trigger sales.

Beautiful pictures are generally a big expense, especially for a young magazine/startups. Such projects as Unsplash come to help with beautifully cropped, high quality pictures, which are free to use.

Hint: Reduce size of the pictures bigger than 250ppi to 150ppi

Easy to Read – Typography

Proper fonts use is essential and typography itself is viewed as a secret knowledge. Nothing could be further from the truth. Well-chosen fonts, which create words correctly formatted with spaces not only make the reading easier but also affect the positive reception of a magazine as a professional one.

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I’ve listed the key features of good typography below, based on Butterick’s Practical Typography.

  • Point size should be 15-25 pix­els on the web.
  • line spacing should be 120–145% of the point size.
  • The average line length should be 45–90 char­ac­ters (in­clud­ing spaces).
  • Avoid goofy fonts, mono­spaced fonts, and sys­tem fonts, especially times new roman and Arial.
  • Put only one space be­tween sentences.
  • Never use underlining, un­less it’s a hyperlink.
  • Use cen­tered text sparingly.
  • Use bold or italic as lit­tle as possible.
  • All caps are fine for less than one line of text.
  • Use first-line indents that are one to four times the point size of the text, or use 4–10 points of space be­tween para­graphs. But don’t use both.
  • If you use justified text, also turn on hyphenation.
  • In a doc­u­ment longer than three pages, one ex­cla­ma­tion point is plen­ty.

Hint: Be aware that pixels (px) are not the same as points (pt), where sizes of fonts are defined. You’ll find the appropriate converter here.

Quality PDF Export

The magazine shouldn’t look like a “digital reprint”, nor should the website. People are used to using the internet for free. A mobile magazine is an optimal mix of exclusive content and great user experience served by Apple mobile devices.

What’s more, customer pays for value added content and unique experience, that’s why, while exporting your digital magazine design to a PDF file, do not flatten text and embed all fonts. This will ensure a consistent layout even on devices which don’t have the fonts used in the magazines.

Hint: These treatments will ensure that your magazine will provide the same experience on every device.

5. Performance

Any new issue of the magazine must be downloaded by your reader on his/her tablet or smartphone. Therefore, it is good to optimize the PDF file in terms of size (not to exceed 50MB). You just have to remember to:

  • Downsample images above 225ppi to 150ppi
  • Do not embed thumbs

Sale in App Store

A user who visits the website of your magazine in App Store is only one step away from making a purchase decision. In PressPad we ensure that every publisher will appear on the product page in App Store without the need to own a developer account and without the need to pay anything to Apple Inc. We take care of everything so that publishers can focus only on their publishing process.

Factors stimulating sales of digital magazines:

  • Ability to subscribe to a magazine
  • Competitive pricing model for a subscription (read about Apple pricing models)
  • Magazine preview, which is generated by us but we are open to suggestions of our publishers.
  • Free sample of a magazine in a truncated version “preview”.


  • Recommended page size – 2048 x 1536px (4:3 ratio)
  • Reduce size of the pictures bigger than 250ppi to 150ppi
  • Use interlinks to navigate among inner content
  • Use free samples with promotional codes
  • Attract customers with competitive subscription price
  • Attract customers with preview screenshots
  • We can adjust our digital magazine solution to your specific needs. Call us +1 888 712-0331