Esperanto Magazine

We get the honour of catching up with the whole team; Jess, Daniel, Frances & Sarah behind the Monash student publication Esperanto Magazine. It's a jam packed interview not to be missed! Esperanto Magazine is Monash University, Caulfield's student magazine that is released 5 times a year. It centres on all aspects of student life, from the fun stuff like partying to the serious stuff, like social justice. Made up of a tight knit team of 4 people, it constantly attempts to be experimental in content and aesthetic. We like to run events and just produce interesting mags people with as many interesting people as possible.

How did you guys get your positions at Esperanto Magazine? And how long have you been on board?

Jess: I obtained the coveted role as Art Director of Esperanto, just doing it the good ol’ fashioned way. I saw a call out for the 2014 Art Director, and decided I’d try my hand at it. I’ve been working there for just over a year. We’re currently in a year of transition, handing the role down to the current Third Years of Monash University.

Daniel: After doing a search for Esperanto on google, and coming across an error in their site description; I thought “oh they mustn’t have a web developer on board… either that or just not an active one”. So I contacted the team about redesigning their website and helping out with the online presence. And so luckily enough, they were thrilled to have me on board and have been been working together for almost a year.

Frances: I loved Esperanto from day one at Monash, and made a point of writing for every issue that I could in my first two years at university. When the opportunity came up to apply for the job I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I think the fact that I had demonstrated an understanding of what Esperanto was about through contributing regularly was a key aspect of me being given the role, which I had for one year.

Sarah: I like to throw myself in at the deep end at times, and applying for the role of Marketing Manager certainly did that. At the time I was a second year design student with a curiosity for marketing. I wanted to gain hands on experience in marketing so when I saw the call out, I applied. I’ve been with Esperanto Magazine for just over a year and have loved the entire experience.

Favourite Issue? And Why?

Jess: I thoroughly enjoyed the process of designing and content of the Creatives Issue. There are various reasons. The subject allowed us to push the aesthetic of the design. We broke away from the long standing format and opted for a saddle stitch with outer fly sheets. The outer sheets were jam packed with advice from creatives such as Jack Mussett, Nadine Chahine, Ghost Patrol and Marian Bantjes. The Esperanto team hustled for quality interviews from other artists like Gemma O’Brien and Kate Miller Hiedke. Not too shabby. Finally, the Esperanto crew had a bit of a sleep over, and designed all through the night, face masks and passion pop on hand. So classy.

Daniel: To be honest, I felt the Sex issue was just another way to attract attention and work as click bait... but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The stories in the Sex edition had a strong sense of honesty in them and tackled the topic on a social level. It was also great to see stories where people felt comfortable and safe enough to express their personal issues and sexual orientation whilst using Esperanto as a voice to communicate these experiences. It was an amazing start for the year and boosted the visits to the website.

Frances: My favourite issue content wise was the Melbourne edition. As someone who moved to the city from the country I am endlessly fascinated by Melbourne, and relished the chance to come up with some hopefully interesting and engaging content around this theme. That was also our final issue of the year, and by that time our brilliant contributors had really come into their own in terms of developing original ideas for pitches and writing great pieces.

Sarah: Ahhh. This is a hard question. I love love loved working on The Creatives Issue. This was our opportunity to really break the mould and add our own creative flair to the magazine. We brought the magazine to life by making it so much more than a physical magazine; we ran competitions, we collaborated with business’ to give away hundreds of dollars in prizes, we picked the brains of some of the most influential creative minds out there including Marian Bantjes (Canada), Nadine Chahine (Lebanon), Gemma O’Brien (Sydney) Kate Miller Hiedke (Brisbane), We had an amazing launch party where readers had the opportunity to meet there design crushes in the flesh and the Esperanto team had a delirious yet wonderful all-nighter to make it all happen.

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What skills have you learnt at Esperanto that you didn’t learn in class?

Jess: A few skills include: How to design for 72 hours straight and survive and also the process of working with an Editor, Marketer, Web Developer, various contributors, printers and couriers to create a cohesive publication.

Daniel: I was studying in Visual Communication at the time, so weren’t any back-end web development skills being offered. However, the Esperanto team was small but really diverse in talent – ranging from art director, editor, marketer – and so the experience of working with them felt like I was learning constantly about the communication and people within a professional editorial environment and that alone was worth the time invested.

Frances: I'd say the most important skill I used at Esperanto was working as a member of a team, and utilising everyone's strengths to produce the best magazine that we could. Esperanto is always run by a small, tight knit group of students, and I was able to practice working in this environment in a way that was much more rewarding and educational than, say, doing a group assignment for class. I loved and admired my crazy talented team members and contributors, and can't wait to work closely with more creative and driven people in similar work in the future.

Sarah: Coming from a design background, marketing was almost a foreign language to me. I had to be a creative thinker and an analytical thinker. I learnt about social media, marketing trends, project management, liaising with a variety of different people to get Esperanto into the hands of the readers.

What is the biggest mistake you made and how did you get it solved?

Jess: Thankfully, there weren’t too many mistakes. We had a tight team who could more or less ensure mistakes were caught before they printed. However, the fault in our underlying humanity, there were times where we didn’t catch the stray widow, the missing link and some repeated paragraphs. The team and I hysterically cried over them. (To the team’s credit, they were generally a lot more emotionally stable than I was.) These mistakes, however, generally went unnoticed by the public.

Daniel: The website template I developed initially wasn’t properly implemented to adapt for future issues – meaning that links from a past issue would no longer exist in the next one. And so we decided to give every new issue a page of its own, located in the past editions section, and pushing the most recent issue to the front page – while also creating redirections for the issue before it. I believe this was seemless to visitors but took a few late nights to get the feature functional and to appear correctly.

Frances: The biggest mistake I would say I made was messing up the attributions for a certain writer and photographer who contributed to the magazine. It's so important to give people due credit for their work, and printing someones name incorrectly or not at all is lazy and inexcusable. It's often the last thing on your mind when you're running to deadline and have a million things to do and no time to do them, but letting the magazine go to print with an incorrect attribution is my biggest regret as editor. We dealt with the mistake by printing a correction in a noticeable place in the next issue.

Sarah: As Jess mentioned, thankfully, there weren’t too many mistakes. As a team, we just worked so well together, the vibe was always positive in the office and we had each others backs. This allowed us to pick up most mistake before we went to print.

Design work by Esperanto Magazine The Design Kids interviews Esperanto Magazine work-4
Design work by Esperanto Magazine The Design Kids interviews Esperanto Magazine work-4

I'd say the most important skill I used at Esperanto was working as a member of a team, and I was able to practice working in this environment in a way that was much more rewarding than a group assignment for class. I loved and admired my crazy talented team members and contributors, and can't wait to work closely with more creative and driven people in similar work in the future.

Any advice for your peers?

Jess: Don’t underestimate your capacity as a student. I was terrified of this role, only having the skills of a second year design student at that point, and about to complete my third year, it seemed like an impossible task. However hard work pays off, especially if you’re having fun. Having fun is actually not a cliche, rather it can be a professional tactic. People remember people who are fun. So work hard and be fun. (In saying that, I don’t always follow my own advice).

Daniel: Don’t be afraid to tackle new areas in order to stay relevant in your industry. Web programming can seem daunting at first but that shouldn’t ever stop you from knowing how it works. We’re living in an age where there is not going to be a scarcity of web developers anytime soon and there’s online resources out there (Team Treehouse or Code Academy) that make learning code enjoyable and easily digestible even for an amateur computer user. If you’re serious about your specialisation, then you should attempt to be relevant and adapt to the technology that pushes the boundaries of your work.

Frances: My advice for journalism students in particular is to be willing to do crazy things for a story and not care too much what people think of you. In my role of editor of Esperanto I did things like ask casual acquaintances to let me take photos of them naked, approach random tute members to write stories about areas of expertise it's pretty stalk-y I even knew they had, and bug fresh faced excitable first years to fill out a sex survey for us while they were trying to enjoy their lunch on the lawn. Each of these experiences and many more made me look like a straight up weirdo, but they resulted in content I was proud to publish. I think the best stories often come about when you make a bit of a dick of yourself, and I would encourage other journalism students not to be afraid to make fools of themselves, and just have fun with every story they write!

Sarah: Passion, dedication and love for what you do are almost an unstoppable combination. Get involved in things, challenge yourself and meet fellow creatives. As creative people it is important to bounce ideas of other creative people. Make design-y friends, collaborate, share ideas, share inspiration, take risks, get outside of your comfort zone, learn the rules but don’t be afraid to break them, ask questions, be persistent, travel. Make the most of studying; be open to new experiences, new people and new adventures. The people sitting next to you in the classroom could be your life long friends (if you are open to it).

What are you up to now?

Jess: I’m currently a designer at Clear Design and Brand Strategy. In the next few months I'll be jetting off to Japan to soak up a different scene. Then I'll be off briefly to work for Fabrica, over in Treviso, Italy. Super stoked about that. I'm also running the #TDKTuesdays for Melbourne with a strong team of killer designers!

Daniel: I’m at my third year working at the University of Melbourne as a graphic and web designer and, when I can spare the time, I balance the corporate work with some freelance projects. I’m currently designing a dashboard interface for an analytics company which I’m excited to share once it’s up and functional.

Frances: At the moment I've just wrapped up an internship at The Age, and I'm focusing on finishing my final semester at Monash University before I start looking for an actual adult job!

Sarah: I’m currently a designer at The Cotton On Group designing apparel and accessories for Factorie and freelancing as a Digital Designer for Rubi Shoes I’ve been offered an internship in England with The Designers Republic. I’m a huge fan of Ian Anderson work so I can’t wait to work with him. Excited would be an understatement. I leave in 24 hours, eeek!

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