Jana MEIER-ROBERTS

Art Director | GQ GERMANY

Having earned a bachelor’s degree in magazine writing and a master’s degree in magazine design gives me a unique perspective on magazine-making. I also made it a point to work under people whose work and skill set I greatly admired and whose advice I profit from still to this day. After starting out at an outdoor magazine in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I moved on to New York, where I worked for Hearst, Condé Nast and Mansueto publications for several years. My current job as art director of GQ Germany took me to Munich, where I live with my husband and our daughter. My work has been recognized by the Society of Publication Designers, the Type Directors Club and the ADC and has appeared in several design publications.  

questionnaire

What was your very first job?

Designer at Outside Magazine in Santa Fe (if you’re talking industry jobs). My very first job was working in a bookstore while I was in high-school, where I rose to the challenge of wrapping a globe someone purchased as a Christmas present. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Apart from that, spending the entire day surrounded by books is pretty sweet.

 

Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails?

I’m the art director at GQ Germany and as head of the art department am responsible for all layouts and illustrations in the magazine. 

 

How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? What was there train of events that brought you to where you are today?

When I started journalism school in the US, I had dreams of becoming a writer of long-form pieces about quirky people/places (gems from my clips include stories about amateur porn actors in Missouri, a rural commune with aspirations to build an entire town and a PETA activist who spends her days sitting naked in a cage to alert the public to acts of animal cruelty). Toward the end of my bachelor’s studies, I enrolled in magazine design, a required course. The professor saw something in me and urged me to change my career plans and stay in school to further educate myself in the field of magazine design. I decided that while I love writing, it would probably be easier for me to be a full-time designer and write on the side than the other way around. Something I’ve found to be true, by the way. I left school with a bachelor’s in magazine writing and a master’s in magazine design and I’ve never looked back.

 

In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?

I try to find the time to extend my search for visual inspirations beyond just the web (Instagram, Pinterest, the usual). Looking through books that include trend-setting work in my particular field (such as the Type Directors Club or Society of Publication Designers annuals), or magazines like Esquire (US and UK) and Conde Nast Traveller (US) give me huge jolts of energy and ideas. Also visits to museums and keeping my eyes open when I walk through Munich, as one would expect. I try to constantly evolve and have made peace with the fact that I’ll never stop learning how to be better at my job.

 

If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry “success,” what would it be?

I feel most proud of the beautiful work my department produces under my direction. Bringing someone up from intern to art director is a pretty great project and an awesome feeling.

jury

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Head of Art Buying | GRABARZ & PARTNER
Creative Director | DDB BERLIN
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Creative Director | MARIO LOMBARDO
Creative Director | DANIEL WELLINGTON
Creative Director | ANTONI
Manager Brand Marketing | LIEBESKIND
Head of Brand Design | UBS
Executive Creative Director | SELECT WORLD
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Head of art buying | SCHOLZ & FRIENDS
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Head of Creative | FISCHERAPPELT
Chief Brand Officer | RIMOWA
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Creative Producer and Bookings Editor | FARFETCH
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Art Buyer | ANTONI
Head of TV & Film | JUNG VON MATT
VP of Creative | KAYAK
Global Head of Marketing & Digital | LIEBESKIND
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Creative Director | STUDIO CHRISTIAN RUESS
Managing Director | ROSENDAHL BERLIN
Head of Marketing | IRIS VON ARNIM
Creative Director | NICOLAS SANTOS
Creative Director | STUDIO SCHILLER
Founder | YES IDEAS
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Global Creative Strategist | SERVICEPLAN
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Brand Marketing | NIKE
Creative Director & Executive Producer | BBDO CRAFTWORK
Global Head of Creative CCS | SWAROVSKI
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Head Of Creative Concept & Comms | THOMAS SABO