Postgraduate Publishing studies at Edinburgh Napier University. INDUSTRY APPROVED Publishing courses (accredited by the Professional Publishers Association and Creative Skillset). MSc Publishing was the first Publishing programme in the UK to be approved by the Professional Publishers Association. It is one of only two UK courses to be accredited by Creative Skillset. MSc Magazine Publishing is the only course of its kind in Scotland.
Author: Grace Balfour-Harle
Been dancing through life since 1995, so I've got nerves of steel, and am much more driven than my soft exterior would suggest.
Branding plays a key part in the publishing industry today. As a young professional, you have to stand out from the crowd in order to get jobs, so a part of doing this is branding yourself. If you decide to do freelance work, you are essentially setting yourself up as a branded company that contracts work. And obviously for publishing companies, having a distinctive brand that sets you apart will help you to sell books.
During the MSc Publishing course, we had a short exercise from Susan Kemp (@susanroslynkemp), a freelance corporate and publishing service provider, which means she is a freelance editor, proof-reader and project manager. Therefore, she has had experience in branding herself as a company. During her workshop, we each had fifteen minutes to create a brand name for ourselves, which would present us as our professional selves. We also had to create a logo to go along with this brand, presenting an image which would extend us as a brand into a physical image. Although a short exercise, it was incredibly beneficial to use our gut instinct to realise what was personally important to present as a professional.
As part of my placement at Connect Communications, I was tasked with creating and branding a mobile application targeted at University-affiliated Dance Societies/Sports Clubs. It essentially would replace a digital magazine, with multi-media and instant content. I had to produce the concept for the app, who the audience was, and what it was aiming to do. Here are a few things to consider when branding a company that I have learned throughout my placement. Continue reading “The Importance of Branding”
On 15th September 2017, a group of Edinburgh Napier publishing MSc students were lucky enough to attend MagFest at Central Hall, Edinburgh. MagFest is a Scottish Magazine Festival for professionals (and students) to hear about and appreciate the developments in Scottish Magazine publishing. Organised superbly by PPA Scotland (Professional Publishers Association Scotland), the day was full of guest speakers, workshops and culminated in an interview with self-professed magazine-enthusiast and novelist: Ian Rankin. The theme for this year was ‘heroes of the magazine industry… some of their visions for the future of magazines.’
As well as Ian Rankin, there were many other leading experts in the magazine publishing field speaking throughout the day, including Zillah Byng-Thorne, the Chief Executive of Future PLC, Ruth Mortimer, the director of the Festival of Marketing and an interview with John Brown, the founder of Brown Publishing. These industry-leaders were only too happy to explain their vision for the future of publishing, which can be summed up with the phrase: ‘Be open to the unexpected.’ (Zillah Byng-Thorne)
The organisers of MagFest stayed true to the theme of Visions of the Future, with speakers from four new magazines in Scottish publishing: Boom Saloon, Cable, Marbles and Word-O-Mat. Each of these magazines had a unique point of view, and filled a gap in the market, whether it be by democratising art, discussing taboos like mental health, giving Scotland a voice in international affairs, or by simply making tiny little books filled with beautiful content. Vice Publishing talked about a way forward using technology to maximise the brand of a magazine, and that ‘all that matters is great storytelling’ whatever the medium. The future of magazine publishing remains strong.
However, the PPA Scotland also strived to ensure that although magazine enthusiasts look to the future for inspiration, we must also understand and value the past. A talk from the magazine archivists, Mark Hymen and Tory Turk, from The Hymen Archives, the largest collection of magazines in the world, showed us how magazines ‘were your internet’ and how much of a resource they are still today which we must preserve and protect. The Audience of the Future Panel discussed the tactility of magazines and that children, despite being known as the technology generation, appreciate the feeling of reading a traditional magazine. And Mark Neil showed us how using inspiration from the past can give a fresh take on the future at his talk Cover Versions.
As well as the day full of speakers, I was lucky enough to attend the Fringe Event the night before, which was an interview of Lucie Cave, the Editor of Heat Magazine conducted by Paul MacNamee, the editor of The Big Issue. As well as spilling a bit of gossip, Lucie illustrated how she used multi-level platforms to maximise the brand of Heat, and how important it is to understand what the readership wants. She also highlighted the importance of following your instinct and turning a challenging task (like an difficult interviewee) to your advantage, and to always engage with your audience.
Overall, MagFest 2017 was a very informative and exciting event for all who attended, especially for the large group of young student publishers who just can’t wait to get started in telling their own story. As Ian Rankin said in his interview: ‘Do your research, but have fun with it.’