When you’re stuck on a long-haul flight with nothing to do there’s a number of options at your disposal to keep you occupied – in-flight movies, a light-hearted paperback, casual flirting with your neighbour and the imbibing of as many free drinks as the flight attendants will allow are all welcome distractions from the fact that you’re giving the middle finger to nature as you cruise through the sky on manufactured wings. Almost never (unless avoiding conversation with the drunk flirt next to you) will you turn to the glossy waste of paper rammed into the pocket of the chair in front, as in-flight magazines are notorious for their shamelessly tedious content and woeful lack of imaginative design.
So when Peruvian graphic designer Gabriela Maskrey sent us her redesign of Emirates’ in-flight magazine I was stunned to silence by what I saw. Goodbye rambling narratives about snorkelling in the Maldives scribed by the editor’s spoilt son, hello thoroughly researched cultural commentary that cherry-picks the best bits of your favourite magazines and unites them at 30,000 feet. Farewell 1980s corporate layouts in on-brand colours, hello crisp editorial design executed in no less than three world languages. Cool!
Needless to say it seemed appropriate to get in touch with Gabriela and find out what kind of mind creates such revolutionary design for the world’s executive travellers. And here’s what she had to say…
Where do you work?
I am based in Bordeaux at the moment. I moved here in August from Barcelona after finishing my masters in graphic design and working for almost a year in Javier Mariscal’s studio. Bordeaux is an amazing place; great wine and only one hour away from the Atlantic Ocean (it is vital for me to live in a place near the sea, as I grew up next to it back in Lima). I to and fro to London fairly regularly, sometimes for work but also to get my fix of my friends in my favourite European city.
How does your working day start?
My day starts usually with a cup of coffee while reading the news from Peru and Europe. To really kick-start the day I go for a run, put on loud music and have breakfast. The first thing I do is check my email, followed by a strict blogging session followed by producing the old classic: things to do list; It helps me get focused on my daily tasks. So once this is completed, I can finally start working. Work usually involves calling clients, meeting clients, a mixture of InDesign and Photoshop, and intervals of ongoing and demoralising job applications.
How do you work and how has that changed?
Back in the day, I used to launch myself into projects with a lot of passion, though maybe a bit too aggressively. Through my teachers, while studying both architecture and graphic design, I learned the importance of starting off with a good concept. To explore and understand what the concept entails, do background research, never forget about detail and always start with a pen, not on a computer. I try to apply this to all my projects as it keeps them focused and on track throughout the different stages. I must admit that learning all of this has also made me understand the importance of patience, not just with my work but in life.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
For the past year I have been working most of the time, but on a normal scenario my answer would be the beach if it’s not winter, and if it is then my answer would be: art gallery openings, exhibitions, bars, places with very very loud music and always accompanied by my favourite people. When I get the chance to go back to Peru, my happy place lies in the north. Deserted beaches, surf, guaranteed sun. It is the essence of the peruvian coastline and where I feel truly myself.
Would you intern for yourself?
I have done my fair share of internships. I have learned loads and have developed from these experiences. However, I do feel that if you are doing the work of an employee you should be paid accordingly. I would intern for myself because having had these experiences I would make sure to give them enough responsibility, a good amount of creative input and, obviously, at least a bit of beer money!