Product Design undergraduate Tim Spears is currently interning as an online design editor at designboom in Milan. Reading (and contributing to) digital design journals/forums is fast becoming a daily activity for most creative professionals, but what happens behind the scenes?
Tim kindly paused to write us a ‘day in the life’:
The morning is tough, and not in the sense of waking up. When I arrive to work there is an inbox of unread emails just waiting for me to sort through. As my time here has increased, so has the amount of morning emails, and that may seem bad, but trust me – it is a really good thing. These emails are often from technology companies, PR managers and even a few makers. The messages are often press releases containing all the relevant information for a product announced last night in California, this morning in Asia or just an hour ago in Germany. It is my job to analyse how interesting the news is, when it has been released, if any of our competitors have published the work (and if so when) and most importantly – would our readers enjoy it?
This hour or so every morning pretty much dictates my activities for the whole day. By the end of this period I have a list of products that we might publish an article on, and am ready to discuss them with the rest of the team. Here, we decide what news is most urgent, what should be included in our daily newsletter and what should be the top article? As the technology editor (and considering that the online world sees for example, the latest Apple product within minutes of its announcement), my articles are often the ones that need to be published and shared via social media first. This makes my morning, until our newsletter is released, very fast-paced.
The afternoon also involves a schedule, but this one is for when our editors are out of office – from 6pm to 9am the following day. As explained earlier, often my technology articles need to published to make them current. However, with an overnight schedule where I may be allocated a time slot of 2:30am, the news has already been and gone, or a new important announcement has been made. On these occasions, I would either present my article to my colleagues in order for it be published earlier, or I would save an embargoed launch until the release time. These embargoes restrict the publication of products until they have been officially announced, and are really helpful when sorting the evening schedule.
A subject which is often overlooked, is the ability to provide content for our weekend readers. No editors work during this time, so instead the team prepares and schedules articles for Saturday and Sunday. In my position this is very hard, as a product announced two days ago is old news. Over time, you build an understanding of what projects or topics are urgent, so it does get easier. This makes Friday (the day most people look forward to) the hardest and most challenging of them all, and often results in me writing at least five articles.
So a day in the life of an online design editor is hectic, fast-paced and challenging, but above all, it is incredibly interesting. I see projects from around the world; new products that no other member of the media has seen yet. It is a different job; one that a lot of designers do not consider, but it truly immerses you in the field.
Tim Spears (TN ed.)