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Working Insights: Victoria Talbot

The Church of London's Victoria Talbot shares an insight into the day-to-day duties of an Art Director.

Victoria Talbot joined the team at The Church of London as a Junior Designer in 2008, before being promoted to Art Director four years later. Having worked on both of their popular house publications, Little White Lies and Huck, she now oversees much of the agency's commercial output; including notable publishing projects for Google. Victoria kindly spoke with YCN to share an insight into her professional day.


YCN: How would you describe The Church of London?

Victoria Talbot: Broadly speaking, we are a creative agency; grown out of the two magazines we publish.

YCN: How did you come to work as an Art Director there?

VT: I took a bit of a roundabout route. I didn’t study any art at school, and completed a year of a Geography degree before realising that I was spending more of my study time designing websites for my friends’ bands than learning about fluvial geometry. I re-enrolled on the Graphic Design course at Middlesex University, during which I was lucky enough to get some great editorial internship experience, and really cement my love for magazine design.

The Church of London advertised a position of Junior Designer shortly before I finished my third year, and I joined the team the day after I took my degree show down. In 2010, I left to work at a digital agency called Precedent, and spent a year there, gaining some fantastic experience in digital design and branding. But print’s siren call never left me, and last summer I returned to The Church of London, initially as Senior Designer before taking on the role of Art Director earlier this year.

YCN: What does an average day for you involve?

VT: A happy mix of art direction and hands-on design. I’m involved in two main projects – the content we produce for Google, and POC MAG – a magazine we produce for a Swedish protection wear company. Between them, I spend my time between developing ideas, sourcing and directing artwork illustration and photography and designing. Inevitably that also involves a fair number of emails, but they’re exciting conversations that have introduced me to some very talented people from all around the world.

YCN: Are there any projects in particular that you have enjoyed working on?

VT: In the early days I worked on a lot of outlandish creative projects for Little White Lies, often creating type from anything from coal-fire ash to woodland leaves. The feeling of having a magazine come back and seeing my work in print still hasn’t left me. Recently, my enjoyment has been split equally between POC Mag and our Google projects. For the former, it was the first magazine I fully art directed, something both challenging and massively satisfying too. For the latter, our work with their Think Quarterly project has brought all sorts of creative format exploration and opportunities for rich collaboration too.

YCN: How did your involvement with Google and Think Quarterly begin?

VT: Think Quarterly came about when we were invited to pitch for the project by Google UK. We created the first issue with them, and shortly thereafter, the US team also took up the project. The initial process happened while I was still with Precedent, so by the time I returned we had three issues under our belt. My design contributions increased over the issues until the sixth, when I took over art directing the title. I now source the illustration and photography, and design the content within.

YCN: Where do you find the majority of the illustrators you work with?

VT: While I often check out the portfolios of illustration agencies, I’m an avid blog reader and Pinterest fan. Pinterest in particular is a great resource, as it not only exposes me to a really varied selection of material, including boards curated by other creatives whose work I find really inspiring, but also allows me to usefully collate my finds. I also try to check out student and group shows in person whenever I get a chance.

YCN: How would you describe the studio environment at The Church of London?

VT: As we’ve grown from the community around us, we’re lucky enough to get to work together with our friends. As such it’s a very sociable, open and honest environment, comprising solely of people with a huge passion for what they do. It’s a very creative and positive place.