Creative Jobs #1

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I’ve realized, after much conversation with non-design orientated people, that so many of them have absolutely no idea what the differences between graphic and an industrial designers are, amongst other things. Goodness gracious!

Being a creative, I often get asked what exactly I do for a living, and when I start rattling of the numerous things I do, people are often surprised. I know that everyone understands that there’s fashion design and fine art and graphic design. But what the heck is a surface designer? ANd can a graphic designer also do illustration? Or is that only an illustrator? And if I want to be a front end web developer, what should I study?

If this is how you feel, or you’re considering career options, you’ll love this brand new weekly column, all about different creative careers and interviews with people who actually do them.

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Nicola Hohls is one of my best friends. We studied together for 3 years at varsity and once she graduated with her diploma, was quickly snatched up by Art South Africa magazine, a well known publication amongst SA’s creative circles. She has worked here for just over 2 years, honing her layout skills. Not only can Nicola turn a copy heavy page into a reader’s dream, but she also speaks German, has amazing stationery design skills and a huge heart for helping others.

• What job do you have and who do you work for?
Layout and Graphic Designer at Art South Africa magazine.

• What does your job entail?
Full layout and design of the print and digital magazine, website updating and designing of web banners, designing weekly newsletter online, keeping archives up to date, designing Art South Africa adverts for other publications. Also designing other publications with my creative director, namely: Change Agent; Theatre On The Bay: The First 20 Years and 100 GOOD IDEAS: Celebrating 20 Years of Democracy.

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• Where and when did you study, and how long did it take?
CPUT, 2009 – 2011, National Diploma in Graphic Design. Took 3 years to complete.

• What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
Coming up with the new look and feel of the magazine every quarter and doing the layout.

• Describe your ‘average day’ in the office…
Checking emails and sorting out any admin is the first thing I do in the morning. Then, when preparing for the upcoming issue, I sort out text and all images and begin placing them into the document (in InDesign). From there I discuss with our editor what the theme of the issue is and read all the articles. I then do some design research to get an idea of what we want for the look and feel relating to the theme of the issue. The normal day involves meetings with the editor and my creative director to discuss the magazine and the progress that’s being made. Also answering any queries that advertisers might have with regards to the specs of the magazine and deadlines. Updating the website also happens on a daily basis, staying up to date with current news in the art and design world.

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• What do you wish you had known before you picked your career?
The amount of hard work and time that goes into producing a high quality publication.

• What kind of person would make the ideal layout & graphic designer?
Someone that is responsible and organized, all images and text need to be filed appropriately. Accuracy is also very important when designing because you need to make sure that the entire magazine is consistent, that everything sits in the right place and that the layout flows throughout. A good eye for creativity and current trends is also very important, to know exactly how entice your target audience.

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• Did you always know what you wanted to do, or how old we’re you when you knew what you wanted to be?
I always wanted to be an architect when I was younger, because my grandpa was an architect and I always had an interest in buildings. However, that dream changed when I discovered graphic design when I was 16. I always enjoyed advertising and working with photographs and typography and never knew how to turn something like that into a career. Who knew that Graphic Design would be just the right thing for me?? So it was from that moment that I realized this was the industry I wanted to be in. While I was studying I realized that one of my greatest strengths was layout design and it was only natural for me to go into the publishing industry.

• If you could go back and change anything on your journey to the job you have and love now, what would it be?
Just to have more confidence in myself and my abilities when I started the job.

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