In this article I am going to introduce to you the editorial team. I will explain who is who and what are they responsible for. I will also talk about how you, the art director, should work with them and how to deal with everyday problems that you will be having when working with such a big team.
The key to success of every magazine is the working relationship between its key employees, and those are editor in chief and art director. However your relationship with your team of designers is also vital because your organizational and presentation skills are important because you and your team have to deliver the final product, that has to look good, sometimes under tight deadlines and tight budgets.
About the relationship of editor in chief and art director I will talk in one of my next articles because this topic is really important and deserves its own place on this blog.
Depending on the size of the team and the budget that is set for the publication, the individual roles may vary.
First let’s start with the most important title in the publishing business. The Editor in Chief.
Editor In Chief
He or she is the key figure in every publication. Editor in chief has to be a person with great vision, because his vision and decisions are crucial for the success of the publication. Editor in chief has to be a person with many skills. First of all it has to be a great journalist. After that he has to be a great leader, because his team has to follow him on a tough and uncertain path. In today’s market when magazines are closing down on a daily basis editor in chief’s responsibility is even greater.
Editor in chief has to be in constant contact with an art director or creative director or design director, whatever title main designer in the publication has. As I mentioned their collaboration is vital. They have to work together to envision how the publication is going to look and feel. What tone and style will it present to its readers.
Editor in chief also works closely with other key figures in the team. He has to be in constant touch with production manager, chief copy editor, picture editor, department editors (such as; beauty editor, fashion editor, lifestyle editor…). These key figures in the editorial team have to work together so that the process of publication production runs smooth and with no delays.
They can and should have editorial meetings at least once a week if it’s monthly publication and sometimes more than once a week if it’s weekly publication.
Each person in this team knows its responsibilities and has its own role in publication creation.
Editor in chief is the one that has to oversee them. Sometimes it is much work so editor in chief has a deputy or assistant. The role of the editor in chief is the most important one and crucial for the success of the publication. The other person whose role is also crucial is an art director.
Art director / creative director / art editor / design director
As you can see key creative person in the publications team can have many titles, but however you call it, its line of work is the same, although the title of art director is the most common one. Art director is responsible for organization and commission of all the art work that will be included in the publication. He has to deal with its own team of designers, he has to outsource photographers, commission images with picture editor, outsource illustrations if needed, basically he is responsible for all the creative aspects of the job.
His instructions to its designers, photographers and illustrators are vital. I have talked about art director – photographer cooperation and this is how he should deal with all of them.
He has to give clear instructions to its design team. Some designer oversees every aspect of the design process and some give more freedom to their team. It all depends who is on the team. Art director generally has one deputy and he will work most of the time with him.
Art director is responsible how the magazine is going to look like. The success of the publication also depends on the design. I have seen so many times how good journalism and good publications were ruined by poor design.
Their role is to design the publication under art director’s supervision and according to its instructions. Designers work closely with art director and their level of involvement and autonomy in designing material is determined by several factors.
The key factor is how much freedom will their art director give them, because some art directors like to oversee every detail of the publication design while others are happy to delegate work and check it once the pages are laid out. Senior designers have more freedom than the junior designers.
The number of pages and the time frame of publication determines the number of designers. When the time frame is short the designers will have more responsibilities and more freedom in their work.
Usually responsible for the commissioning of the imagery, negotiating prices for the images from the stock sites, commissioning photographers, works closely with art director and ensures that the quality of the photographic material throughout the publication is on high level.
This kind of editor is responsible for acquiring text articles from the outsourced writers, also is responsible for the quality of those texts. Copy editor is writing all the display copy like headlines and kickers.
Their role is to check all the text materials for correct grammar and spelling. Proofreaders also cut excess copy. They work closely with a copy editor.
This is the person that oversees the physical compilation of all the materials by setting a production schedule and makes sure that everyone sticks to it. He is responsible for the communication with the printing-house, he is setting the deadlines for the commission of the text copy, imagery, design, editing deadlines and so on.
Each publication has different departments, such as if you are working in fashion magazine then editorial team will have fashion editor and beauty editor. These persons are responsible for their departments (sections) of the publication.
They are responsible for acquiring and writing text copy, acquiring product images for their departments and they work closely with editor in chief, art director and production manager.
These are the key positions in every publication. There are other positions but they are determined by the size of the publication, for example daily newspapers have a much bigger team than the bimonthly magazine, but even the smallest teams will have a majority of the positions explained in this article.