Claudia de Almeida is a featured keynote speaker for Inside Job 2013: One-day Conference for In-house Design. She is the Design Director for Wired Magazine and was kind enough to answer a few questions for AIGA Houston.
1) How did you get into editorial design?
I honestly have to say, I got lucky. I obviously worked very hard and had a strong portfolio, but David Harris, former Design Director at Vanity Fair happened to look at my portfolio at the School of Visual Arts senior portfolio review. There were tons of students there, hungry for a job, sitting in desks one next to the other with their books open. David happened to look at my book and sit down to chat with me for a few minutes. He liked my work and called a friend of his. Next thing I knew I had a freelance gig at the T: The New York Times Style Magazine. There, my love for magazines really flourished. I had the opportunity to work in other environments, marketing agencies, etc., but the collaboration with photographers, photo editors, story editors just stuck with me. It’s an incredibly creative and nourishing environment to work in. You are constantly learning and challenged by your peers in every way possible.
2) What was it like redesigning one of the most influential technology/culture magazines this past year?
Hard. Wonderful. Challenging and rewarding.
When you take on a project like WIRED, a magazine that has had a great and successful design history, it doesn’t happen without a great deal of pressure. My approach here was to try to stay true to WIRED and not to focus on out-designing the past versions of WIRED, but doing something that felt appropriate. I also had a great deal of help and support. I work with a great team and I had the opportunity to work on the 20th anniversary issue of WIRED before tackling the redesign. That was a great brief for the redesign. It provided great insight into the vision of the magazine and the Gestalt.
3) Without giving too much of your upcoming keynote away, any advice for in-house designers?
Keep your eye in the big picture. We designers love to worry about the small stuff. Being able to switch back and forth between worrying about the minutia and looking at the big picture will give you perspective and allow you to make smart decisions on where to put your best effort. Be valuable. Don’t waste time fighting battles you are not going to win.