Amelia Gregory, magazine art director
Amelia is the art director and founder of Amelia's Magazine, which posts on art, design, music and fashion. She commissions work from illustrators and is in charge of the magazine's look and feel.
Part of being an art director is giving clear parameters about what’s needed.
I was born in London, and I'm based there now.
What job do you do?
I’m the art director and editor of Amelia’s Magazine, a publication which I founded in 2004.
The magazine showcases creative projects in the worlds of art, fashion, music, illustration, photography, craft and design. Although it launched in print, it is now entirely online.
How did you get started in design?
I never really knew what I wanted to do. In many ways I think that creative people often have to follow avenues, rather than specific paths.
I’ve just followed my interests in 2D design, particularly in photography, illustration and fashion. I've also always been obsessed with magazines!
My career started as a freelance illustrator, but I needed to do lots waitressing to keep afloat. After three years I decided to take the next step and do internships at magazines. I interned for Wagadon, and was in the fashion cupboard of The Face and Arena (both of which have ceased publication).
After that I did more freelance work as a photographer and stylist, then launched Amelia’s Magazine.
What qualifications do you have?
I did a foundation course in Art at Camberwell College. I then studied for a degree in Fashion Textiles and Printed Textiles at Brighton University.
I’ve also done plenty of short/evening classes in all sorts of areas, such Illustration, Photoshop and InDesign.
What do you do at work?
As I run the magazine myself, I'm involved in everything from commissioning to editing to art direction, and so much more.
My work as an art director primarily involves commissioning illustrations for the magazine. I use social media sites to put an open call out for illustrators, offering imagery and ideas to work from.
For any image-based career in design, make sure you have a strong online presence.
I have to be very specific about what I want. Part of being an art director is giving clear parameters about what’s needed in order to get the right look and feel across.
I choose which illustrators to use depending on the responses to the call out. When the illustrations are done, I then write copy to go with them. I shouldn’t have to do any design work myself.
What's the best thing about your job?
Finding new talent and telling everyone about it.
And the worst thing about the job?
Not having any money. It’s difficult to commercialise a magazine like mine because I work with fresh, up-and-coming talent, not with huge brands.
Also, because I run the business myself I have to do lots of things like answering emails and doing accounts, rather than being creative.
How can I get into design?
My tips are:
- For any career in design, especially one that is image-based, make sure you have a strong online presence. You should showcase your work using websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest – the whole lot!
- Know your taste rather than only knowing your discipline. It’s best to have a style of your own which you can explore through different design mediums. This can be a springboard for a creative career.
- Make sure you do collaborative projects. You need to show that you can work with other people to produce something as part of a team effort.
- Build contacts as much as you can.
- It's super important to be nice to everyone you meet. If I have to choose between working with two equally good designers then I will always choose the one who is the easiest to work with.