Graphic and Media Design
Between now and my previous WOW blog post I have already started and finished my first internship.
This internship was a smooth start to knowing "adult" life and understand what it means to no longer be a student. To get you into the context, for four weeks I was Evening Standard Magazine's design intern and I absolutely loved it. Working at a magazine was not something I imagined myself doing, neither during DPS nor after I graduate. I hadn't planned this at all and to be perfectly honest editorial design was always my least favourite part of graphic design.
Having applied to a billion opportunities and studios and being ignored by all was disappointing and just when I was about to give up and ambiguity and rejection started hitting me, an email came back! Ben Turner, ES Magazine's art director and former GMD student at LCC (or LCP as he remembers it) invited me over for a quick chat and offered me a place at ES Magazine's art desk for October! I obviously had nothing better to do during this month and so I accepted this position even though it was unpaid and not really what I was looking for. DPS is all about new, unexpected experiences, how could I say no?
At the end of the month I did not want to leave; even though my time with the ES Magazine was limited, I managed to learn many things. What I particularly loved was that I didn't only learn about design, but explored a plethora of topics which were featured in our issues, such as sustainable fashion, music, films and travels. It was eye-opening for me to suddenly work in an environment where not everyone shares a passion for design and people are experts in other things, like social media, beauty, health, fashion. In those four weeks, I was assisting Ben and Andy (art director and acting deputy art director respectively) with all aspects of design for the weekly issues. I was primarily responsible for regular pages and illustrations, allowing them to dedicate more time to features, which don't necessarily always follow a template and hence can be trickier to work on. I also was fortunate enough to be present in various fashion photoshoots, which was a unique experience.
Here are a few things I knew about editorial design when I walked in the office for the very first time:
1. Text and image are the basic denominators of all design.
2. All designers need to be able to put together well designed pages.
3. Harmonic collaboration between type, photography and illustration is essential.
Having these in mind I felt ready and confident in my design skills and my software knowledge (they use Indesign almost exclusively) and I learned everything else very fast: how to set up new pages, how to work on multiple layouts for one page, incorporate templates etc. Now there are also a few things I hadn't realised about design, which I observed happening during my time with the ES Magazine.
1. Design can happen much, much faster than I thought:
It is so different working on a university project with a deadline after 2-3 months and working to new, weekly time scales. I was surprised to notice the full progress of a whole magazine of average 60-70 pages; it's almost non-existent on Monday and ready for print by Friday. The process was simple and specific days were assigned to each task, from a raw page to subbed layouts, generating soft proof, corrections, editor's marks and layout to release, but this process often involves other parties like external article writers etc. and hence design, which is the last step, is often left to the last minute. I was even more surprised to observe myself adapting to this fast pace, getting pages ready in only a couple of hours.
2. My solutions are unique and distinctive:
I was so pleased each time I completed a page and received positive feedback on it from my mentors. At first it's really hard not to get lost in the process. I did find myself in situations where I spent too much time moving things around a page and not really knowing when to stop. Apart from that, when working closely with the picture editors and assistants it's hard to choose between images and select the one which will engage the audience and travel fast. But at the end of the day, when I believed in my decisions the feedback reassuring.
3. Strict restrictions enhance ability to be creative.
Obviously when working in a magazine with a huge history and a distinguishing identity you can't put too much of your own style in the pages, you have to follow rules and guidelines. But it is truly astonishing how such "limitation" boost ideas and generate results. Not only it encouraged me to develop new ways of working in layouts but also it benefited my line-illustration skills, which I honestly didn't even know I had!
There are so many things I learned and appreciated during this month that I will hold on to, about design, about London, about communities and about office life; I loved every second of it.
On my last day we went the whole team went for lunch with me to say goodbye and kept saying how they will miss my details and illustrations. I felt so lucky to be a part of this and so proud that my work there left a tiny mark.