Original Interview: September 2016

Collective Magazine

Jade Dunwoody – Creative Director of Collective Magazine tells us about some of the exciting collaborations they have had the pleasure to work on. While how important it is to start interning early and also learning production skills as a designer.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.
As the Creative Director, my role focuses on strategy and activations for our brand and partnerships. One day I can be producing video content and photo shoots, and the next day be sitting in pitching meetings and exploring new business opportunities. I work really closely with our founder, Marketing and Content Directors, as well as manage our creative team to help create and evolve the visual identity of Collective Hub.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?
Funnily enough, I studied journalism and my first foray into the industry was as a writer. I worked across kids titles and had a short stint at a record label before taking on a role at this small publishing house, now known as Collective Hub. It was a project management role that allowed me to dabble in a bit of writing and design from time to time with my main client being Lorna Jane. When we launched Collective Hub, I moved into an Art Director role alongside Edie (our current Art Director) and we were the only two graphic designers for quite a while. Almost two years ago, I moved into the role of Creative Director.

Collective - The Design Kids

Collective - The Design Kids

Who are your top five design crushes right now?
1. Billy Sorrentino, Executive Creative Director, WIRED @billysorrentino

2. Jack Toohey, Creative Director, Yeah Sure @jack_toohey

3. Vicki Lee, Artist @vickileelee

4. Piera Gelardi, Executive Creative Director, Refinery29 @pieraluisa

5. Michael De Feo, Artist @theflowerguy

Tell us about any collaborations you have been working on.
About a year ago, we launched our Artist Take-over series whereby we give an artist free reign to create for the issue. We have had the likes of Blacklist, Lucas Grogan, Koleha, and Harley&J (among many) who have teamed up with us. We’re always on the lookout for new artists to work with and have so many exciting new artist collaborations in the process.

Collective - The Design Kids

What’s your take on internships?
Internships are the best way to get your foot in the industry. I remember being an intern for a range of media / PR brands almost six years ago! It’s definitely a time in my life that has helped me appreciate interns to this day. Some days can be rough but then occasionally magic will happen and you’ll get your moment. Start interning as early as possible, especially if you’re still studying. Always try for a 3-6 month spot to give the team enough time to get to know you and to actually be assigned tasks that you care about.

What do you look for in a great portfolio?
1. Connection – try to show work (even concepts or assignments) that are relevant to the brand you’re sending the portfolio to. Number one rule is to show your understanding of the brand and express why you want that particular role. Always get the person’s name right (Jane, Hiring Manager, Sir, Mr Jade)

2. Presentation – never try to overcomplicate a portfolio. I think it’s better to allow the work to speak for itself.

3. Personality – it’s always great to see early on if you’re the right culture fit for the company. Add personality, but without the token ‘hobbies’ list. No one cares that you like hanging out with friends and going to the movies.

Collective - The Design Kids

What advice would you give to students starting out?
In the creative space, I think people can sometimes be quite precious of their design or idea. When you work for a client that is bound to have changes, or a startup that is 99% likely to change the idea entirely, it can be hard at times. It’s so important to be nimble and be open to this. Try not to take it personally, be disheartened, or get too attached to what you’re working on.

What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
1. Learn production. It’s one thing to be a designer, but it’s just as important to understand how projects come to life. You’ll be expected to liaise with suppliers, know your GSMs and how to set up files correctly. Take extra time as a small mistake can cause a huge financial impact.

2. No matter how much experience you have, always revert back to the basic checklist to make sure you’ve dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s.

3. Consider the commercial component. What story or message does the design tell? Is it targeted to the right audience? Is it aligned with the brand or product strategy?

Website: collectivehub.com

Collective - The Design Kids