Want to be a designer? Senior designer, Gene Cornelius, shares his experiences and advice.
Q1: Hi Gene! So, what’s a typical day like for you?
I usually start my day by checking my emails and the flatplan of the magazine I’m designing to see which sections I can start doing layouts for and what needs to be prepared for print.
There may be an editorial meeting to discuss cover concepts and picture ideas for features. We may also discuss the illustrators and photographers we would like to use and, of course, budgets. As a result of these meetings, I will usually start producing rough cover visuals for the editor to approve.
The majority of my time is spent using InDesign to design pages, Illustrator to create infographics and Photoshop to enhance or manipulate images.
Q2: Why did you choose a career in design?
It was the only thing that I showed any real ability in, despite my school trying to persuade me to study something more academic. Back then, I thought traditional office careers were dull and I didn’t fancy doing a manual job.
Q3: What’s your favourite part of the job?
It has to be designing the front covers. Potential readers make split-second decisions about picking up a magazine so the front cover needs to have an impact. For me, this is the most exciting part of the job.
Q4: What expectations did you have of the job before you started and how have these changed?
Not sure that I had any expectations. After leaving art school I got a job as a designer with an advertising and marketing agency before being offered the chance to get involved with art directing fashion shoots for Warehouse, Freemans and Selfridges. It was good fun, but only something you can do when you are young.
Moving into publishing seemed to be the next logical move. I thought that working with journalists as they cover major news stories would be exciting, which it has been, but the bonus is that I have been lucky enough to have worked with some really talented creative people and I continue to be inspired by my colleagues. Here at Redactive, we have a strong team of experienced designers.
Q5: What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in design?
You need to have some sort of artistic flair and passion – many of the students who go through the art school system never end up working in the industry, but for those who succeed there are plenty of job opportunities with lots of job satisfaction and you get paid for doing something which is fun!