Less is more: our art director shares her design process

Made is a feature where we periodically share what we are working on and our creation process. For our second installment of Made, our art director, Lindie Botes shared her design process while working on our debut print issue. For those of you’ve been following our journey, you will have noticed that our name recently changed. Now on to the good stuff.

Lindie Botes

Since I was young, I’ve always had a passion for design and layouts. I remember having to write a book report in 5th grade and spending more time selecting typefaces and colors than actually writing the report. I’m pretty sentimental. I still have that report somewhere.

When I was offered the job as art director at Fero, my first thought was delight and excitement, mixed with a little bit of fear of the unknown. Up until now, my experience in editorial design was solely comprised of university projects. I studied Information Design and we often had editorial design projects. That’s where I first realized that I had an interest in print design. I remember my first time using InDesign — it was a whole new world that opened up to me. I did well in layout design projects at university and soon discovered my passion.

Contrary to popular belief surrounding “designers”, I’m not as organized as one would expect. My notes are everywhere. Sometimes I forget to set paragraph styles and end up manually designing (I feel more of a sense of control when doing that). And yes, I’m one of those designers who saves their files as “final_really_final.pdf’…but all of this is part of an exciting, new process for me!

Being an introvert, I live in my own world full of inspiration coming from books, magazines, websites, art galleries and photography. Having inspiration all around me helps when coming up with new designs. It’s important for a designer to remember to be unique and creative without trying to redesign the wheel. We often hear that good design is invisible. I aim to create layouts that are visually pleasing and tidy and won’t distract the reader but provide a unique reading and viewing experience — with a few surprises along the way. Minimal design is beautiful and doesn’t necessarily have to be boring at all. I’m a fan of white space and try to incorporate that into my work wherever possible and necessary.

As an art director at Fero, my schedule runs as follows: I wake up, have breakfast and tea. Then I sit down to edit and work on new layouts. When starting work on the magazine, I sketched various layout ideas down before designing a spread. I sent Alain lots of ideas at the beginning and we soon found a style that worked. I work from home, so it’s easy for me to spend hours on InDesign tweaking layouts. it’s truly something I enjoy.

Working with Alain is a pleasure because of his quick replies to emails and in-depth advice and explanations. We have similar taste in design. Since the beginning of this project, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on the layouts.

My favourite thing about designing layouts is the photography. I’m always excited to open the Dropbox folder to see new photoshoots that have come in. The difference between a dark, grainy photograph and a bright, clear photograph is that working with beautiful, visually appealing photographs makes designing a layout easier, and much more enjoyable. I like to scale up a photo if it is really striking and use it as a full page spread. Photographers deserve credit for their work, and it is a great feeling for me to be able to display their work sensitively when placing their photos in a spread. design, design books, print magazine, independent magazine, startup, tech

When I’m finished with a layout, I send the design to Alain and we discuss any necessary changes. It usually doesn’t take too long to change. Then I’m ready to work on the next interesting article. I enjoy reading the articles while I work. I’m delighted to be able to have the first glimpse into what this magazine will look like when it gets printed. The articles and features are interesting and compelling, so I strive to design the spreads in the most visually appealing way possible in order to give equal attention to the interviewee, author, and the photographer. I’ve had some design challenges along the way (there’s always that one page that won’t come right!), but overall, this journey has been a joy so far!




We also shared the creation process of our last issue, issue zero. You can find that here.

Words by: Lindie Botes

Photography by: Lindie Botes


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *