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Hear straight from our graduates.

Creativity is not something that can be taught. It’s either there or it’s not. But I do believe it can be nurtured, and the technical skill that’s needed for the real world can be honed. Shillington is the perfect environment for that.

Creative Director, Hello May

Sophie Lord

Where do you work?

I run Hello May, a bridal magazine for the creatively-inclined, Etsy-loving, non-bridal bride. I founded the magazine in 2012. Hello May is jam-packed full of fashion, DIY and real weddings, and focuses heavily on the talented humans that make up the creative side of the wedding industry. Graphic artists that branched off into designing wedding invitations, fine art and fashion photographers that dabble in shooting weddings on the weekends, production designers that have turned to styling and event planning … that kind of thing.

What do you love about magazine design?

I love that you’re just given a bunch of Word documents and photos and it is down to you to put all that content together in a way that will draw a reader in and take them on a journey cover to cover. Technical skill is really important. I can spot something that is 1mm out from a mile away! Margins, column widths and clear navigation are all extremely important, and consistency is key. There’s nothing worse than reading a magazine and not knowing if a feature has ended and another has begun. That leads to a very frustrated reader who won’t be picking up your magazine again. Reading a magazine is meant to be relaxing!

Most of all, I love that, at the end of the deadline, and after a whole heap of blood, sweat and tears, you have a tangible product that you can hold in your hands. When we get the preview copy back from the printers there’s always that moment of “Shit, I made this magazine!” It’s a pretty cool feeling!

Any advice to graduating students?

Get all the experience you can.  If you know someone in the industry then heckle them like crazy about coming in to the office and working for free. You want to be there when a job becomes available because you’ll be the first person they think of! That’s how I got my start and that’s how the majority of my magazine friends started out too. If you don’t know anyone, persistence is key.  I know there’s a lot of negativity around internships and unpaid work. Look at it this way: you’re getting paid in valuable experience. Just be careful that you’re not used and abused.

Another great tip for those looking to get into the big bad world of publishing is to intern at smaller publications with smaller staff numbers. Trust me. It’s the difference between spending six months getting coffee, opening mail and cleaning out the fashion cupboard or spending those six months actually designing pages and learning about the production and the pre-press process and how to mark up a proof and lay out a feature.

But the most valuable piece of advice I can give is just be a nice human being. Nobody wants to share an office with an a**hole. 

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