The partnership between editor and designer has become one of the most delicate and demanding professional relationships. While it is acknowledged that the ultimate authority lies with the editor, who is responsible for the entire editorial product, the most successful magazines results from mutual respect between designer and editor. Anything less than genuine respect will cause the relationship to fail and the magazine to suffer.

The responsible designer cares deeply about the editorial objectives of his/her magazine. The designer needs to know what the editor hopes will happen as a result of the magazine’s publication. Likewise, a reassuring, believing editor can help a designer bloom into a real contributor of ideas and solutions.

Tips for designers

  • Assume a leadership role; invest in the editorial product.
  • Know your craft. Become an expert on how readers experience magazines and read articles, and on how they are influenced by color, typography, and images. Become a student of how magazines affect culture.
  • Choose your battles. The goal is not to win, but to succeed.
  • Articulate your ideas and solutions. Creating brilliant design is the first step; explaining why it is brilliant is the second step.
  • Solutions come from restrictions. Consider editorial roadblocks as opportunities to create innovative, unexpected design solutions.

Tips for editors

  • Protect your designer. Design by committee kills passion and ideas.
  • Listen to your art director. He may have his finger on the pulse of the magazine like no one else on your staff. He literally touches every page.
  • Respect the role of images. Our world is becoming visually dominant. Work with the art director to visually extend your message.
  • Ask for ideas. Challenge the art director to write headlines and brainstorm article ideas. Grant your designer the freedom to give an opinion. Invite him to editorial planning meetings.
  • Embrace tension. The fight over words and white space yields a great magazine for the reader.

To learn more, purchase our design manual “Design for Magazines: Guidelines for Effective Visual Communication.”

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Magazine Training International’s mission is to encourage, strengthen, and provide training and resources to Christian magazine publishers as they seek to build the church and reach their societies for Christ.