When did you join DC Thomson?
What’s your role in DC Thomson?
After graduating I struggled to find work initially in the industry as I didn’t have any commercial design experience – so I worked for 6 months with Voluntary Service as an unpaid designer in their publicity department. It was great from my CV, but not my bank balance. In 1997 after learning my craft with other companies, I was head-hunted for the role of Studio Manager and joined the company. It was a busy department with two daily newspapers, and a weekly free newspaper. At that time The Press and Journal had 11 editions and was one of the most editionised newspapers in the world. The team grew and we enjoyed commercial success winning Gold newspaper society awards for advertisement design in the years that followed. In 2012 – I was appointed to Group Creative Manager (Newspapers). This included the Dundee creative department in addition to the Aberdeen creative team. This was challenging but exciting, as there were huge opportunities to share ideas and develop working relationships across the business, most notably by adapting to the challenges of online advertising which meant increasing our expertise in this area.
In 2014 I was promoted to Group Design and Creative Manager which added Pre-press to the creative teams in both Aberdeen and Dundee. The departments were restructured and for the first time we were working together (in the same locations) as creative teams.
What makes your working day enjoyable?
My role is pretty varied day-to-day and involves work across the business including Advertising, Enterprise, Events, Communications, Promotions and Editorial. In the last 2 years we’ve launched new in-paper magazines including iN10, 7, Courier Weekend and YL, not forgetting Elegance (published quarterly with the Press and Journal) which raises the profiles of all our newspapers. In addition, online advertising is a major revenue stream for the business and the creative teams are adapting to this market by producing dynamic and responsive work which is on a par with commercial agencies. New teams such as Events provide the creative teams with new challenges including branding but it’s rewarding to see the quality of work being produced.
Tell us a little about the part you play in making DC Thomson a success?
I split my time between Aberdeen and Dundee and now spend 2 days a week in Dundee. Part of my role is to identify best practice. This involves adopting new technologies and training the creative and production teams. Later this year we’re hoping to launch a workflow management system which is being developed in-house. This will allow our customers the ability to request artwork electronically. It’s also trackable, so everyone can see where their job is, receive progress updates, etc.
What is your highlight of being part of DC Thomson?
The company is adapting to a competitive market-place. The investment in the new press and recent developments such as commissioning new technology (Kodak digital print head) will allow our sales teams to offer customers compelling reasons to advertise. The highlight for me is being involved day-to-day with the creative teams. There’s a tremendous amount of professional experience available across the group and they are a credit to the business.