Creative Directors / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Emma Staddon, Creative Director at UNO. Magazine

Emma Staddon is the Creative Director at UNO. Magazine,  a New Zealand magazine celebrating all things Bay of Plenty. She also provides external branding work.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Background: I started out in an advertising studio working across branding and digital design then segwayed over to magazine design in Sydney, picking up the lead deign role on Bauers properties campaigns (30 Days of Fashion and beauty, Australian beauty awards etc.)

Senior designer of Advertising for: Australian Woman’s Weekly, Harper’s BAZAAR Australia, Cosmopolitan, ELLE Australia as well as art director roles on some of Bauer’s larger photography and advertising accounts (Harvey Norman and Big W).

Plus many roles in-between which have allowed me to work with some super talented creatives and built a lot of knowledge around commercial shoots, global brands as well as insights into both fashion and FMCG markets.

Current role: Moving home to New Zealand I entered my current role as creative director of UNO Magazine, a local lifestyle mag which aims to shine alight on the best of the local area. Working on a small magazine means as opposed to specialising in one area you get to expand into all areas: Creative direction design, styling, marketing, advertising, creative management and office IT!

It’s a flexible blend of work and home with the office located at the beach. It’s been a joy working with local photographers and photographing/documenting the lives of everyday local people, creating a product with a lot of content native to the Bay of Plenty makes it a unique piece, close to hearts of many locals here.

2) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I work three days a week as creative director on UNO magazine and 2 days on my own branding work for external clients.

5.30am – Up nice and early for a couple of hours to work on branding and packaging design for the USA market, keeps my hand in the game and the strategy muscles strong. As I work from the kitchen dining table my fantastic boyfriend makes me coffee and toast (and often lunch).

8.30-12.00 – Arrive at the UNO magazine office. We have a small friendly team who roll in at various times depending whats happening in their day. Flexible hours, mean you’re trusted to do your bit.

12.00-1pm – As well as advertising in the mag we use use our clients services! – cue F45 at lunch time, if I’m on the ball this is where I should be, with half the UNO office otherwise its a walk down at the beach to refresh the brain via Mexicali Fresh or lunch at the desk if I’m under the pump.

1pm-5.30pm – Closer to the end of the issue I make time to style/direct photo shoots if needed otherwise I’m in the office laying up pages or working on pitches.

6.30pm – Home! Unwind, hang with my partner, walk the dog, cook diner and indulge in some TV and a glass of wine.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

It totally does. We have a loose 9-5 office structure, which is a huge perk. I took the job on meeting my bosses, both creative thinkers, they’d never worked in publishing before and yet had quickly implemented lots of smart systems which means our workplace its structured around what makes sense and works best as opposed to whats ‘been done’.

Google Drive means we are able to work from anywhere, which we do.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

Yes! Work fast, do it now. Be aware there is always a better way to do things – keep your eyes open for new and improved ways of working.

5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I’m motivated to work hard for my family so we can live happy and healthy. I work for ‘right now’ and for the ‘future’ chipping away at where I want to be.

60% focused work where I do what I do and can get down to it, this makes me feel skilled, needed and useful. 40% expansive work, fresh projects where I know I’m growing and building.

6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

  • Listening.
  • Consistently taking jobs with learning opportunities.
  • Breaking large tasks down into manageable pieces.
  • Knowing how to re-set in stressful moments
  • Being always replaceable, has kept me focused forward.
  • Collecting good people has provided invaluable network of support and inspiration.

7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

Honest feedback has improved this for me over the years.

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Wash. Shower. Dress well and you can go anywhere prepared.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Enjoy your work by focusing on the rhythm and process no matter what the task. Invest in family and friends.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.