London-based graphic designer Alix Thomazi tested out a number of potential career options before landing her ideal role in the magazine publishing industry.
Thanks to studying literature and an MSc in criminology along the way, Alix was able to realise her true talents and passions along the way and champions the idea in putting yourself out there as much as possible.
Read on to discover Alix’s career path, her design inspirations and why she feels interning is crucial to getting yourself known.
I’m a graphic designer currently working at Think in London. My job is focused mostly in print and magazines – which have always been my first love – but I also have some side projects in branding and web design and I illustrate a lot of my own covers.
I guess the reason I’ve always liked print is because it’s a great feeling when you’ve spent hours creating something and you get to see the results of your hard work in a physical form.
Did you always want to get involved in design or was it something you got more interested in as you grew up?
I was always interested in art in general but I never considered doing anything artsy as a career – mostly because I thought it wouldn’t get me much money and I feared it would be too unstable. I used to love playing around with Photoshop when I was young. I guess I never really stopped.
Tell us a little about your career path. How did you become a graphic designer?
So this is a tough one! Most people go straight from high school to study their chosen subject before finding a job that links to it. But back then I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do in life!
After finishing school, I went to Paris to study literature for a year, and then I came back to study a BA in communication studies and a BA in sociology before heading to Glasgow to pursue an MSc in Criminology. As you’ve probably noticed, not one of these subjects has anything to do with design!
However, during those years, I was always active in the student community and helped make flyers, posters and designs for websites. I had no idea back then that I would end up studying the MSc Publishing course at Edinburgh Napier University where I would fall in love with magazines and help me land a job as a graphic designer.
Whose work inspires you in terms of illustration and design?
An illustrator I absolutely love is Tom Haugomat! I find his work very inspiring and would love to be able to create such striking illustrations one day.
His career path is a dream for any editorial designer, Having previously been the Design Director at Wired and Conde Nast, the Creative Director of the New Yorker and the current Director at Apple. Would I fancy following in his career footsteps? Yes please!
What graphic designers have you got your eye on at the minute?
I’ve been working on a few infographics recently, so I bought a book called Designing News by Francesco Franchi. It’s pretty brilliant.
His work is really inspiring because he creates these amazingly detailed layouts that help readers to engage with what is often a lot of dense information. His designs help break down the complex nature of the content, which is a really considerable achievement considering the limited capacity of layouts at times.
What have been the standout moments of your career so far?
I’ve just hit the second year mark in my current job, and it’s hit me how much I’ve evolved. I’m also currently working on a “secret” branding project for some friends, and it is a great feeling to be able to say to myself, “I’m proud of this – I can’t wait to show it to the world!”
If there is one magazine you could have the chance to design, what would it be?
What advice would you give to people wanting to become a graphic designer?
“How did you get your first job?” I remember constantly asking this question to everyone I knew or met who was already working in magazine design. Besides from the odd, “I applied to many places for ages until I got one”, the majority of answers were always the same: “I got my first job in the same company I did my internship in.”
This was actually the same experience for me and how I landed my graphic design job at Think. Although it sounds overused, it offers some really sound advice. Practical experience is the most important thing, and if you can’t get it in a company – say for financial reasons for instance – then set up a blog or a printed monthly. By using your own initiative and putting your skills to use to create your own independent projects, you’re exemplifying what you can achieve.
At the end of the day, I never studied design but I managed to get this graphic design job at Think because of the projects I got involved in and these experiences really showed in my portfolio.