Can you tell us a little bit more about what you do? How do you help clients?
In a nutshell, I offer editorial expertise and the ability to create beautiful printed brochures and books, magazines and pamphlets. I help clients tell their stories through the medium of print and I use my experience working at magazines and newspapers to do it. I offer a top to bottom service, from the first editorial and design concepts through to production and printing.
Perhaps you could talk us through how putting a magazine together works, for anyone who is new to the idea…
Most of the hard work comes at the beginning because you have to be clear on who the magazine is for and why it will exist, in terms of the wider business strategy. We talk everything through and then I go away and come up with an editorial structure including story formats and sections, and a base design concept (the look and feel of the magazine). This probably takes the most time. Once those core things are approved, we then pore over paper samples and decide which printer to use, balancing budget and quality. From there we produce the first issue, which involves commissioning the content, sourcing photography, laying out pages, sub-editing, proofing and then, when all of that is perfect, sending it all off to print!
How did you get into this career?
I did an MA in journalism at City University, which sent me on a windy path into newspapers, human rights journalism and finally, into editing magazines about design and architecture. After a number of years working for bigger publishing houses, I decided to set up on my own with Astrid Media.
What do you enjoy about your work? Any particular highlights?
I’m one of those geeky people who loves print. I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing a magazine or brochure fresh out of the box, after months of work. I saw a past client at a Christmas party and she pulled me aside to say the work we’d done for her had turned her business around. That was a highlight, to say the least!
Some people might be surprised that print products still play a role in modern businesses. Have you noticed any changes in the industry over the years?
I don’t think there is a substitute for a beautifully produced print product, especially in the luxury sector. It can be a highly effective business tool if done well. Clients love the tactile experience of print but the difference is that now it’s part of a wider marketing strategy that includes an organisation’s digital offer.
Is it important to work in a collaborative way, when it comes to putting printed materials and magazines together? Both between you and the client, and between all the different roles/elements of production?
Once the initial brief is hashed out, I find that clients are often too busy to get hugely involved in the nuts and bolts of the process. However I do think it’s important to have clearly defined expectations and schedules of approval so that the project doesn’t spin out of control. Within my own team, the work is totally collaborative but we still have to run a tight ship.
What are the challenges of your work?
Budgets and time, always.