Graduate story: Adam Cushingham from Graphic Design to Magazine Art Editor

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Adam shares his career journey from studying Graphic Design to Deputy Art Editor for TRAIN fitness magazine

What did you study and what is your job now?

I studied Graphic Communication and Design at the University of Sunderland. I currently work as the Deputy Art editor at a media/ publishing company in London. I am 25 years old and graduated from the university in the summer of 2013, and shortly after secured a job through the University graduate scheme at the company I work for now.


What does your job as Deputy Art Editor involve? What do you like about it what are the challenges?  

I currently work on the design and production of 2 successful international magazine titles. Fighters Only is the leading and most established mixed martial arts magazine. However, I predominantly work on our younger title TRAIN, which is a health and fitness magazine. It is a joy to work on this magazine because I am so immersed in the world of health and fitness and this helps to feed my passion for design. The magazines are designed on a 4 week cycle so in a typical month, every day we are focusing on the design of the magazines. As well as the magazines, we also serve as a creative solutions team for client projects. Client projects run over longer periods of time, so in between designing the magazine we have to design artwork for various branding and advertising campaigns in order to hit crucial project deadlines. Client work is something which is very new to the company and it is great for my progression. I get to work on different types of projects and it helps to build a wider portfolio. It is important to always be learning, and to be adding new strings to your bow, this way you can become a vital member of any design team. When you work on a monthly cycle you can manage your time very effectively. One of the biggest challenges is having to adjust to fitting in more than one project at a time. This means I have to manage my time more efficiently. Time management is a very crucial skill to learn, and one which you can start to build in University and then successfully take into a job.



What did you do after graduating that lead to your current job?

I have been at i2media for nearly 4 years now, and I have come such a long way since I started. I started work as a Junior Graphic designer working only on editorial design. Editorial design was never my strong point in University, or more a medium which I hadn’t really invested a lot of time in. I would describe myself as an all round designer, so eventually I was able to adjust to working solely on magazines. Over the next few years, I was able to showcase my skills in illustration and typography and help position myself as a vital member of the design team. I owe a lot of my success/progression to my willingness to learn new things and always being there for my team. My journey at i2media started off in the Gateshead office, but in May 2016 when the company decided to relocate the design/production team to a new office in London. I was able to live out my dream of working in the big smoke, with an ever growing team of talented designers and writers. As the company started its new found progression, I was also able to start a big progression of my own. I was given a senior role as Deputy Art Editor shortly after the move. I have proven myself within the team, and I am now working on gaining new skills in management and will hopefully progress to an Art director role in the future.


My five top tips to current students wanting to get into a similar job.

  1. Don’t be too precious about your work, you should take time to speak with your peers and always find ways to improve. Finding mistakes in your work is the best way to perfect it.
  2. Work on your time management. Managing your time successfully, and prioritising certain projects, can really help bring the best out in your work
  3. Always be willing to learn. If you are a creative and you want to try something new, just go ahead and do it. Practise makes perfect.
  4. Be a sponge. Listen to advice from other designers around you. Work placements whilst at Uni, are a great way to experience working with new people, it is very motivating.
  5. Find inspiration from everywhere. No idea is a new idea.

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