James Hunter: Insight into magazine design

In week 3 of Autumn term, we were joined by editorial designer and co-founder of Senet magazine, James Hunter. In this session, James talked about his editorial design industry experience as well as his decision to co-found the magazine, based on his passion for boardgames.

Graduation and early career

After graduating from Falmouth University in 2010 with a degree in Graphic Design, James was adamant about not wanting to work for a traditional branding agency. Instead, he began working at the Guardian newspaper where he loved the “buzz of the newsroom”. Later in his career, James worked as an editorial designer for the Times newspaper, where the majority of his work revolved around designing early prototypes of the newspaper’s app, editorial design  work for print, and their magazine. During his time at there, he found the daily deadlines of work exciting, reminding him of his time at university, and motivating him to work consistently – a work ethic that all students could use! This work for daily newspapers inspired him to create his own magazine based on his passion for boardgames. James brought SENET magazine to life, after collaborating with many other like-minded people together to conceptualise the magazine.

‘Make a magazine about something you love, treat it like a magazine, not a business’ – James Hunter

 40 thoughts


The highlight of James’s lecture was his 40 thoughts behind making a magazine. There were many important points that students took with them to apply to their current projects; especially for the third year students who were working on a magazine design project. Point 21 advised students that the design of a magazine should be a response to the content that is being presented for audiences. This directly linked to point 22 which encouraged reading the the copy many times. This is because as an editorial designer the visuals and overall design needs to suit what has been written, therefore reading the copy is integral in helping make content and visuals compliment each other. Another point he emphasised was to ‘approach your magazine with a beginner’s mind, to keep it fresh’, telling students to design with an open mind when making an issue of a magazine as it would create new avenues to explore when designing instead of creating new concepts based on previous work.

SENET is a collaborative project made by James and his other colleagues who help to produce, design and sell the magazine. It is focused on boardgames and the fantasy genre, the aim of the magazine is to appeal to those who already have a passion for boardgames, while also inviting a new audience by producing appealing magazine designs.

SENET has enjoyed a growing circulation.

‘I’ve always loved magazines and always read them’ – James Hunter


Students were given valued advice from James’ talk for developing their projects further as the term progresses. Third year students especially benefitted hearing the 40 thoughts of designing a magazine, providing guidance to improve  their current magazine designs, as well as being able to apply James’ principles to their own work.

‘I really enjoyed how James established his work and career and then transitioned into how that informed Senet magazine. I also liked the level of detail he went into about the magazine that has to do not just with the design but all the logistical, financial, and business sides of self publishing.’ – MA student

‘It was inspiring to hear James’ insight into magazine design,  his talk has been really helpful for the upcoming magazine project.’ – Part 3 student