Guest Newsletter – Angela Lyons

Once a month we invite our Patrons, magazine publishers and enthusiasts to guest-edit our fortnightly email newsletter. The aim is to inspire others with magazine-related content, connect Patrons and build our community so we can learn from each other.

This month our guest editor is graphic designer, Angela Lyons. She’s excellent. If you like what you read here, visit her website, connect with her on LinkedIn or say hi on Twitter or Instagram.

Image credit: @ayodeji_alaka

Tell us about yourself

Hello! I’m Ange. I’m a graphic designer and I live in East London. I’m a wife, a mum to two teen children, and a cat mum to Coco. I’ve been a designer for over 20 years and freelancing for 10 years – I celebrated my 10th year this April 2022. I design various magazines for everyone from insurance brokers to classical music fans to freelancers. You might know me for my work on Freelancer magazine!

I love this cover. Mary-Rose and Dom have since become friends.

Recently, I won Graphic Designer of the Year at the Digital Women Awards. I felt so proud and delighted!

What’s on your mind?

Writing lists! I’m forever writing lists. I’ve just started using Notion – so great, now I have electronic lists too! At the moment I’m planning for next year and working out schedules for production dates of magazines that I know are coming in. My wall planner always has room for one more 😉 

Also falling in and out of social media – it’s so hard keeping on top of it. I’m either all in or trying to keep up. At the moment, I’m having an in-between moment, as the last few weeks have been busy with in person events – which has been great! – so social media has fallen aside a bit. Saying that, I still use it to talk with friends.

What’s the best article you’ve read this month?

Can I have two?

I went to the University of the Arts London (UAL) recently, to see a photography exhibition called New Wave about young black photographers. It also featured a collection by Anita J McKenzie – Europe’s first commercial Black picture library. But on the way out of UAL, a magazine on the newsstand caught my eye. It was Artefacta magazine written and designed by the MA Lifestyle and Journalism course. Turns out this mag is a big deal, and has been going for years. I was really impressed. The latest issue is about The 2000s: the best and worst over the years. I’m still reading it.

The second article wasn’t from a magazine but an online platform called Creative Boom. It lists 12 indie mags for creatives to enjoy in 2023. I love Creative Boom for inspiration, I always have to have a look when it pops up in my feed.

Show us an incredible magazine cover

Oh, man – can I have a few??

I loved two recent ones with Serena Williams. I was in the store when I saw this cover of Vogue and stopped (I love it when covers do that). I’m not into fashion mags, but the cover with her daughter is beautiful.

Also, the image of her on Time magazine. Simple, striking lighting…plus it seems aspirational, like she is looking up at what’s to come. She is a true role model for a lot of young women who are still not used to seeing a Black woman on the cover – and it’s not a token image, but one of merit. She has worked hard.

My third is from Bloomberg Business Week. I also loved the infographics inside. It is no longer a print magazine and exists online, but isn’t as ‘fun’. I have a few corporate clients and I love referring to BBW and saying “Business does not have to be boring.” Such a shame they stopped the print edition of this.

But this cover – blimey! The guts. Love it!

What’s your top tip for publishers?

I wish I’d seen more diversity in print over the years – and not for diversity’s sake or to fill the quota. It would be great if publishers attracted groups that are underrepresented in magazines.

So my tip is: engage with readers and reach out to parts of society/communities that are under- or misrepresented, either by creating your own magazine or being more inclusive in existing ones.

Illustration by Dan Sipple with thanks to Ikon Images. Like what you see? Patrons receive their first 5 Ikon Images illustration uses for £50 each

A good example that comes to mind is Cocoa Girl magazine. Serlina Boyd’s daughter asked her why there were no magazines with Black people in them… so Serlina created one for her, and Cocoa was born.

Serlina and her daughter.

Housty, we have a problem

What problem would you like our magazine consultant, Peter Houston, to solve in the next newsletter?

My question is: After feeling very old visiting UAL – is there a way we can attract/help get graduates and young ’uns into magazine publishing?

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