Writing for Communication Arts
Communication Arts is actively seeking:
Creative industry thought leaders who can contribute well-written opinion pieces on emerging trends, ethical issues and what it takes to thrive in the fields of typography, photography, illustration, advertising and design for print, digital and interactive media. See Columns for details.
Experienced assignment writers who can craft engaging in-depth artist/firm profiles that reveal the inspiring backstory behind a subjects exceptional portfolio. See Profiles for details.
We want to improve the way our readers work and think, whether that means introducing a revolutionary technique with dozens of potential applications, challenging disparate disciplines to work together in new ways, or refuting common wisdom about, say, what it means to be creative or successful. If your article can do that, we want to see it.
Your Column should do one or more of these:
Thoughtfully discuss ethical and social issues in the creative industry. Offer a fresh perspective on gender equality, racial diversity, client/co-worker relationships or business practices that sustain and/or undermine the profession (unpaid internships, environmental waste, professional memberships and certification, pro-bono work and crowdsourcing, for example).
Round up newsworthy items on particular subject. Present, for example, online learning options, outlets for selling your illustration and photography online, web designers to watch or brands getting social media right.
Report on an emerging trend or tool (industry-wide or specific to a locale). Investigate, for example, what we love/hate about flat design, type design in South America, or the addition of business/entrepreneurship programs to art/design schools.
Provide helpful guidance. Explain, for example, how to constructively criticize your co-workers, how to build your own brand or strategies for presenting your work to clients.
Reveal a backstory professionals can learn from—an inside look at the ideas or processes behind successful firms and projects. Craft a mini-profile of a creative individual or agency that works in a unique way (see examples in type designer Peter Bil'ak and Grip Design) present a case study on how/why a project was a success (for example, the redesign of Texas Monthly magazine).
Push us to the edges. Reveal unusual creative trends that inspire and expand our definition of commercial work: sign painters, app designers, experiential designers, display or retail designers, animators, etc.
Your column should also:
• Offer a clear argument, not just a list of tips and tricks.
• Have a voice. We want pieces that are bold, interesting and human.
Keep our core readership of professionals in multiple creative disciplines in mind. If your piece focuses on one discipline—say, type design or photography—consider what people from other fields can learn from it, and how you might appeal to those readers.
• Typically be around 800 to 1,500 words (though longer or shorter isnt out of the question).
• Be checked for the accuracy of facts, figures, quotes and names, with citations if needed.
We do not publish:
• Product pitches or press releases.
• Profiles of fine artists and individuals or firms without an established track record.
• Follow-ups to to articles weve published, unless they add significant new value.
• Anything that has been published elsewhere, including your blog.
Why write for us?
Youll love writing for us because we care … a lot. We want your story to be the best it can be, so youll get extensive feedback and editorial support. You wont find that anywhere else.
Writing for Communication Arts has helped authors land speaking and teaching engagements, and even—if youve got the stuff—book deals. Thousands of colleagues will see your work published in print and online in a respected forum.
Submitting a Column:
Please e-mail us 2-3 published writing clips along with a pitch that tells us:
What category might this fall under? Creativity/Business/Typography/Emerging Media/Design Details/Advertising/Design Culture/Sustainability/Voices (opinion) are our typical Column headings, but we are also open to new categories.
What format will the story be in? Text only (short-form 700 words or long-form 1000-1500 words), text with images (specify/estimate how many images and how large theyll be), photo essay with captions, infographic, etc.
What is it and why do CA subscribers need to know about it? This should take just a few sentences. It should be easy to explain why its relevant, inspirational or entertaining, even if the subject/concept is complicated. If you cant explain it in 2-4 sentences, it likely wont work as a column.
The voice of authority: why you? What is your professional experience in the creative industry? Does your perspective match that of our audience? Or are you an expert on the subject? Give us the three-sentence bio that would appear on our Contributors page.
Time peg: why now? We have exceptionally long lead times so time-sensitive stories (the debut of new technology, back-to-school guides or holiday-related articles) must to be pitched six months in advance.
Subscribers read Communication Arts to be inspired. Our full-length feature profiles (at least four in every issue!) meet this need on the deepest level, offering engaging behind-the-scenes stories of todays most creative artists and firms—revealing the unique traits, habits and circumstances (both personal and professional) that shape their work and drive their success.
CA profile writers need a killer combination of research, interviewing and writing skills. Ideally, you'll be able to travel and spend an entire day with your subject, meet their friends and family, see their city, their hang-outs and their studio and view their work. A profile must expertly explain a subjects creative process and work methods—revealing the special sauce that makes them uniquely successful—in an entertaining 1800 words or less. Do you have what it takes? If so, let us know. We are always looking to expand our pool of talented writers from around the globe.
Getting a Profile assignment:
Please e-mail us two to three published writing clips, preferably profiles, along with:
Your bio: Do you have professional experience in or knowledge of the creative industry? Do you have any particular familiarity with or expertise in commercial illustration, photography, design or new media? Give us the three-sentence bio that would appear on our Contributors page.
Important details: Your location, availability to travel, fluency in languages other than English, your preferred flat rate and your willingness and ability to interview via Skype.