That quote from German author Hugo Ball kicked off a recent FOLIO: Show session led by Scott Kirkwood, editor of National Parks Magazine, and Debbie Bates-Schrott, of Bates Creative Group. In “Working With the Art Department to Advance the Editorial Mission,” they compared the relationship between designers and editors to that of any relationship–both need defined roles, trust, honesty and accountability to work harmoniously. Thankfully, we have those kinds of great relationships here at Hammock, but it was funny to hear the presenters voice some common stereotypes of editors and artists. How often have we been guilty of thinking:
Artists tend to take things personally and only focus on design.
Editors are all about the words and don’t care about design.
Artists have poor communication skills.
Editors type out an e-mail instead of talking through the problem.
To overcome the communication barriers caused by such narrow-minded thinking, Scott and Debbie suggested the following guidelines for editors when approaching designers:
1. Start with what is good about the design first.
2. Put yourself in the designer’s shoes, and show respect for their work. Remember, writers, you don’t like to have your work rewritten either.
3. Begin with a meeting of the minds based on facts: an understanding of the publication’s mission and reader demographics.
4. Be ready to answer WHY for your choices and decisions. No more “I don’t like it” or “That just doesn’t jive.” An editor has to explain why a certain font or layout isn’t working, just as a designer has to be able to point to how her choices make sense for the magazine’s mission.
This session and other presentationsﾑincluding Rex’sﾑhave been posted to the FOLIO: Show Web site. Save NYC airfare and lodging and check out sessions on editorial, sales, marketing, production & design and circulation topics.