Lesley Blake

Art Director

Ohio Magazine

Cleveland, OH

Ohio MagazineWhat kind of work are you doing now?

I am the Art Director of Ohio Magazine, a statewide monthly magazine. I oversee the creative direction of the magazine and the Ohio Magazine brand, which includes marketing and collateral projects. I work directly with photographers and illustrators to come up with creative solutions for each article in the magazine. I’m also in charge of budgeting and overseeing the work of the assistant art director.

What is the best thing about being a designer?

I truly love being a graphic designer. Every issue of the magazine offers a new chance to push myself to achieve creative excellence. I always try to see the potential and beauty in every story we run, even if the subject isn’t interesting to me. It’s my job to MAKE the reader interested. I get to meet new people and see new places every month, which makes designing the magazine that much more rewarding.

How did the graphic design program at SU prepare you for the real world?

Upon graduating, I felt more than prepared to begin my career in design. The classes you take at SU give you a “real world” perspective about design — I actually use the skills I learned in college. The studio art classes and art history classes are also an essential part of the major, along with internship opportunities. I was an intern at Central PA Magazine during my senior year.

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What are your favorite memories of the graphic design program at SU?

I loved working in the studio until three in the morning. Sounds horrible, but when the rest of your classmates are there too, it’s a blast.

What advice do you have for someone choosing a college design program?

Graphic Design is a major that is taught by experience and learned by practice. You can learn everything there is to know about design, but to become a great designer takes hard work and patience. Talk to the professors, talk to students, and find out about the program. Do the students get jobs? Win awards? Do internships?

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