Last year I worked as part of an amazing team of creatives to produce the Autumn/ Winter edition of WestQuay magazine. It was my first time working as the acting editor, in the process I walked into various challenges but without a doubt, I can say that the entire team, including myself, is extremely proud of the final product.
Bellow, you can read my report on the project. It's a great way to get to know my working process or if you would like to know what is it like to work in a fast-paced and creative environment this might help!
APPLYING & EARLY STAGES
In October 2016, I was offered the chance to freelance for The WestQuay magazine online publication, aiming at the centre’s visitors as a source of information and entertainment. I took the initiative and enlisted for the editor role, which came with the responsibilities of organising and leading the team.
I lead a team of designers, writers and photographers, working on a tight deadline. During the first stages, I worked alongside the deputy editor to organise meetings and define a few deadlines. This would help the team submit their work on time, as well as help us track their progress.
During one of the first meetings with the deputy editor, we outlined the best topics and articles. We then pitched them to the team, asking them to develop these into a final idea. On our next group meeting, the writers presented more ideas as well as developments of the previous ones. The photographers were also asked to pitch ideas that they would enjoy doing, this gave us a clearer idea who to assign each job.
It was also during this week that the photographers and I organised a casting for models. We were looking for a wide range of people, that would match the magazine’s readership. Therefore, we shared the casting in different platforms and contacted models to get them interested in the project as this would be a great opportunity for them. I created a contact form and we had a very successful casting, this helped the photographers later during their photoshoots.
DEVELOPING THE PROJECT
On the following week, the writer's team was asked to present a short draft for each of their articles; the photographers had to present lighting concepts and mood boards, and the designers had to present layout ideas. After our big meeting, everyone was left with a clear idea of who they would work with as well as what they were required to present in the following week. Each photographer had four different photoshoots and each writer five articles. The make-up artist and stylist oversaw all the looks for the photoshoots.
At this point, writers had one week to complete their articles and the photographers had two weeks to do the photoshoots, leaving the designers to create templates for the different articles, as they would only then have one week to put it all together. The deputy editor and I also wrote a few pieces ourselves which we had to complete as soon as possible as we would have to then edit everyone else’s articles.
I wrote four lifestyle articles. The first one was about an event announcement to all the WestQuay customers. This was something that the client required to be covered in the publication. I also wrote a suggestion list with book reviews, for which I went into Waterstone’s to get the book expert’s opinion. The article that required the most research was the one I wrote on winter gardening, as it is a topic I was unfamiliar with. It was challenging but it was great to see the final result.
I also found it extremely challenging to write my first editor's note. It was probably the one that took me the longest as I had to capture the spirit of the magazine in a few short paragraphs.
During the third week of the project, we received a lot of the articles. The deputy editor proofread them and then submitted them to me for quality check. A few of the articles fell through as they didn’t present the right quality for the magazine, and a few had to be sent back for a rewrite as they seemed incomplete. It was during this week as well that photographers started to feel pressured and cancelled a few photoshoots, to which I had to find a solution as we couldn't present the articles without images. As a result, we got a new photographer, which reduced their photoshoots to two each.
As we got closer to the deadline I could see the stress on the team, therefore, I emailed the client asking for a small extension explaining that otherwise, the magazine wouldn’t be up to high standards. The client agreed and gave us two more weeks.
This extension helped to improve the magazine quality, as I now had the time to sit with the designing team. We discussed the magazine page by page. At this point, I realised that the design team wasn’t as experienced as I had been told, which made my job a lot more complex. I taught them the basics of InDesign and Graphic Design.
To help the team, I also designed the layout, defining fonts, margins and columns, as none of this had been done so far. I redesigned a few pages that they could use as templates. Alongside with the design team, I started to work on the publication straight away. It took us three days to redesign the whole magazine, however, the result was amazing.
Afterwards, the magazine was submitted to a team of professionals for proofreading and design approval. Due to the inexperience of the graphic team, I went to the office to help the team locate the right imagery to each article. I found then that the team had submitted the wrong quality images, which I had to change. Later, I also realised a few articles had some grammar issues, therefore I went to the Solent Creatives' office once again to make sure the magazine would be the best it could be when submitted. This was disappointing as I trusted the deputy editor with this job. However, I got a lot of compliments from the professional team on my commitment and the outcome of the magazine.
The client was very pleased with the final product, as it showed great potential in the editorial market. It was current, attractive and the tone and style of the magazine suited the reader base.