Sarah Garcea, Inc. Magazine

Hi readers of Nonslick. November is going to be an awesome month. On top of lots of illustrator interviews to be posted, we've been lucky enough to get quite a few Art Directors donate some of their free time for interviews as well. The AD interviews will follow the same format as the illustrator ones. It just seemed to make sense to interview the people who give us such great jobs and make such a beautiful product. So, without further ado:

Sarah Garcea, Inc. Magazine
where are you from and how long have you been an AD?
I’m from Buffalo NY, went to University of Buffalo, and I’ve been an AD for about 5 years

how was your university experience -
did you feel ready for the real world upon graduating?

My university experience was pretty good, I think because I took several “fine arts” classes like painting, illustration, and photography. That also helped me when I entered the “professional” world. And I did feel ready when I graduated because I did a full time internship my final semester. That’s what brought me to NYC, I did my internship at Life magazine.

Inc. is an excellent financial mag, how thrilled are you to be directing its visual identity?
It feels great to be part of a very creative team of people here. Blake Taylor our Creative Director is always open to fresh ideas, and new illustrators. And our photo staff consistently produces award winning photography which inspires us to design exciting pages.

what are some of the key responsibilities in your day to day role?
I design a section titled “Strategy” which is a heavy finance/business section so it takes some creativity to come up with fresh ideas for stories and also involves assigning illustrations. I’m also constantly researching illustrators for new talent, there’s so much out there. Feature stories are split up between the 3 of us in the art department, so I’ll design one or two a month, and depending on the subject assign an illustration or assist in selecting the photographs.
you hire illustrators all the time, how does someone get your attention?
I don’t know about other AD’s but I do usually open emails I receive from illustrators. I say usually because once in a blue moon I’m having an extremely hectic hellish day and I just delete all emails that don’t have a “serious work” subject. But I do open them, you never know when your going to get someone amazing that you never heard of before, and I can’t take the chance of missing that! For example I recently got an email from an agency I use on and off, and they were sending me someone new, and his work was great so I saved it, and ending up just recently using them for an assignment. So I can’t pinpoint what gets my attention, but I will say it doesn’t have to be a fancy mailer, save your money!

what can an illustrator do to really piss you off?
Miss a deadline, or just be difficult when it comes to making changes. Since our stories are sometimes more technical/financial we have to bring our editors in for their thoughts and opinions. And this usually involves the illustrator having to compromise to please not only us but also our editors.

what are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?
The magazine industry is not in a good place right now, several have shut down in the last couple years and the ones that are still around are just not getting the ads they used to. With that said I believe Inc. is in a pretty good place, we are still hiring illustrators, and still putting out a quality product.

what are you loving about design right now?
I love that design is everywhere, and especially with more young people having access to the technology you can see so much more online. Some good, some bad, but the good stuff is great and inspiring. I also moved apartments recently so I was obsessed with interior design, my husband is a graphic designer also so we were both finding vintage furniture and objects that fit our style. It was fun, and important too for us to be inspired by our surroundings.

what are the 5 greatest things about living in New York?
  1. The majority of our close friends are here which makes for good times, great conversations, and networking!
  2. So many museums and openings, so little time!
  3. It’s the place to be for publishing, graphic design and art.
  4. I love biking and walking around the city and exploring new places and just being inspired by it all.
  5. Riding through the city on the back of my husband’s motorcycle!
what magazines catch your eye / do you just have to pick up?
I always like to see what Good Magazine is up to and I also love that it’s for a “good” cause - GQ, Wired, Details are usual suspects but they never fail to disappoint.
I love NY Magazine, I subscribe! It’s so useful and the design is great, and I’m constantly on their website too!

how important is down time, away from the office etc for your creativity?
It is very important to me. I also dance and that’s a great way for me to “escape” but to also enjoy another art form that makes me feel creative and energized.

favorite font and why?
That’s a tricky one. Ok I know it’s cliché but I usually revert to Helvetica when in a pinch. It’s just so multi-functional and clean.

any advice for new illustrators just starting out?
It’s great if you have a connection somewhere, just getting in to see or talk to one AD, if you make a good impression and your work is solid they could refer you to other people. For me it comes down to style, if it fits the magazine and my aesthetic then I will most likely hire you at some point. I also go to the student portfolio reviews to check out the “young” talent, so it’s important to show there and be approachable.

any advice for those looking to get into the magazine industry?
Don’t do it! Ha, well half joking. The way the industry is going I think it helps to also have some web skills. But doing an internship, I feel, is the best way to see if you like it and also meet people and make connections. The magazine industry is a small community where everyone “talks” so make a good impression and try to meet as many people as possible.

thanks a lot Sarah!!! To see more of her work go out and buy a copy of Inc. Its a great read and always has great design and great illo's


  1. Thanks Sarah, and interviewing AD's is a great idea Pete! Very interesting.

  2. Sarah, awesome! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    Let's go vintage home-decoration/furniture (window) shopping together soon! I found a cool one on Lower East Side last week :-)