Written by Kim Cordell | Product Development Administrator, European Medical Journal | @EMJ_Kim
If you’re reading this blog, then I’m pretty sure you’re aware of how we, at EMJ, are proud to be different. We like to bring a fresh approach to the world of medical publishing, and this is something which we want to shout about from the rooftops and reflect in everything that we do.
With the EMJ team hard at work this month, attending a grand total of five medical congresses, which will of course be reviewed in their respective publications, in addition to publishing two new editions at the beginning of June, we thought we would take a moment to stop and breathe. In case you missed it, our publications now feature brand new congress review illustrations, which have come to play a great role in adding some pizzazz to our journal!
This month, I sat down with EMJ’s very own illustrator, Louisa Kewell, to ask her about the recent changes to our eJournals, and to get some design pearls of wisdom!
Q: Tell me about your role in EMJ
A: I started as an intern within the Product Development team with EMJ in June 2016, and later became a Product Development Administrator, specialising in design. My day-to-day role can include anything from laying out pages of the journal, to infographics for our social media pages, to working on congress illustrations for the latest medical congress reviews we bring to you within our publications. It’s great fun!
Q: Why did EMJ decide to launch congress illustrations?
A: My background is in illustration and character design, so it’s nice to utilise these skills by creating illustrations for the journal. Illustration is a great opportunity for the design team to bring more life into our journals, and really make us stand out from the crowd. The Product Development team are confident that these will make our congress review even more aesthetically pleasing for our readers too!
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: I am definitely not from a medical background, which some might consider a disadvantage when working for a medical journal, but not me! My illustration style is inspired by my love of picture book art and graphic novels, and I consider this to be a good thing. I think because I have this background, it brings a new and refreshing approach to the way we create content for our journals.
Q: Do you have a process for coming up with your ideas?
A: I look at the city in which a particular medical congress is held and normally begin by researching famous buildings and landmarks within this city. Looking at maps, I play around with arranging different elements, similarly to a digital collage, and then pick out interesting characters from the photos our reporters have collected from the congress to illustrate. You never know, you might spot yourself within one of our illustrations if you’re lucky!
Q: What would be your words of wisdom for other illustrators?
A: My advice to any graduating art student is to have an open mind about where you want to go and what you hope to achieve. I could never have predicted I would be working as a designer for EMJ if you had asked me a few years ago. I believe that there is no way to predict what direction or path you could wind up following, and that’s the exciting thing about art. Each project opens up a new challenge, and it’s great to see where this could lead.
EMJ TalkTime was a great opportunity to sit down with Louisa and get her insight into the illustrations of the eJournals. Not only did she impart some of her arty wisdom upon me, she also mentioned that we can look forward to seeing lots of hearts inside our next publication EMJ Interventional Cardiology 5.1, which will be published at the beginning of July. The congress was hosted in the City of Love after all, so what more could we ask for from our talented design team? The team will be spreading the hearts and sharing the love when our publication is launched, so keep an eye on our social media channels to make sure you don’t miss out!