Just over a month ago, I interviewed for and was successful in securing a month long, full time internship as a design intern at the Blackfriars office of The New Statesman. It was a surprise to say the least! Considering the profile of the magazine, I had expected to be overlooked by sheer volume of applicants, and consider myself lucky that I trusted my spur of the moment/if you don’t try you don’t know attitude paid off…. it hasn’t always!I have now been working for just over a week now and my learning curve has been sharp in things I had not considered. Perhaps obviously, the working environment for The New Statesman is different to any that I have been in before, having come straight from a small, purely design studio where a quiet jokes goes a long way. But being surrounded by people and energy has had its benefits in the shape of the review bench- a set of tables where all of the received books/dvds/music for review, is stacked in tantalising towers. The subjects range from archeology to politics, to science to biographies, and on the occasion I find my eyes starting to drift from my screen, I am normally scanning the spines opposite me for something interesting. My last find included something I could not help but bring back to my desk out of affection:
I am also surprising myself with the speed to which I am taking to QuarkXpress (having been memorably told by a member of staff at Uni, that I would be unlikely to land somewhere that used Quark..!)
From what I can gather, my existing knowledge of InDesign is of a good enough standard that I know what I want to do, but have returned to the frustrating position of not knowing how! Now just to retain the separate memories for two sets of shortcuts! But I am enjoying being in a position of tool discovery again and seem to already know enough to work on laying out initial drafts of content. That is not to say that my Illustrator skills are being neglected, as I am finally getting experience of house style and graphics for both screen and print.
Time spent in the office has also been somewhat distorted because of the unique and exciting time at which I have temporarily joined the ranks. Upon my arrival, my tour around the department included two magnetic white boards filled with mini spreads of the upcoming centenary edition to be released and was in fact around 3 times the size of an average copy of magazine. Work had been rumbling on around this edition for 3 weeks prior and I had found myself in the middle of a team working at 120% as part of the final push to publication. However, having come in at such an unusually busy time, being present for the next edition preparation will be comparatively smoother!
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like a gatecrasher on all of their hard work, but judging by the looks of relief, a glass of bubbly was very well deserved indeed.
As a finishing note, I will always remember the Monday 8th afternoon when news of Margaret Thatcher’s death was beginning to emerge in the news channels. While the editor was pacing across the office amongst the background noise of work, a woman on the digital team called out the news. Just for a moment, everything stopped and Jason turned on the spot and asked if she was joking, was she sure. Being a political magazine, this was a rather significant event the day before completion! As confirmation of the news began to appear, plans were made to make space for acknowledgements… but what a place to hear it, I’ll remember that one for a while!