From one creative to another, it's easy to equate journalism with the people you see on T.V. or by their bylines in the paper, but it can be and is so much more. Especially in this digital age, journalists and creatives of all kinds can find themselves in a dream job that is far from the newspaper columns and boom mics. If a love of fashion and design calls you, perhaps a behind the scenes creative career is just what you need. Meet Heidi Thorson, Creative Director and Designer of Wedding Essentials, Inspired Living Omaha and Momaha. Be inspired to find your dream job and creative outlet.
First off, tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota and moved to Omaha, Nebraska for school. I fell in love with Omaha and decided to stay. The fact that I landed a dream job also helped with that decision. My degree is in Journalism with a focus on public relations and advertising.
Since I was young, I always had a need to express myself in a creative way. I started out doing a lot of writing – I even have journals going all the way back to when I was in 6 th grade! I went to college thinking that I would enjoy writing for a newspaper or magazine. But the more I got into journalism, the more I discovered that I’m very much a visual person. So I got into photography, design and fashion topped by a fascination with color.
"The biggest fashion lesson that has stuck with me is that if you ever have the chance to have a color analysis to determine what color (season) of clothing looks best on you – do it. I promise you it will be worth it. Total game-changer for me. "
So tell us a little about your job…who you work for and what your day-to-day looks like?
I work for the Omaha World-Herald as the Custom Publishing Creative Director and Designer for Wedding Essentials, Inspired Living and Momaha -- the World-Herald’s three magazines. Wedding Essentials is published twice a year, Inspired Living every other month and Momaha publishes each month so my day-to-day is hardly ever the same. One day I could be out on a shoot, another updating the Wedding Essentials blog, and the next glued to my desk for 12 hours designing a magazine.
When you are planning a shoot, what goes into that and where do you get your inspiration for your sets and locations?
It really depends. Our fashion editorial for Inspired Living’s Threads section is a major collaboration between the editor, our photographers, our merchandise stylist, our hair and makeup stylist and myself. The shoots we do for Threads are primarily driven by what trends we want to show, how we can put our own spin on them and the story we want to tell. For Wedding Essentials, it’s a similar game plan except the fact that the team we put together is always different.
Is a Journalist, did you always have a desire to work as a creative director in publishing or how did that come about?
I think deep down I always knew I wanted to do something in the creative department – though to be honest I didn’t know exactly what that meant until I got this job. Now I get to do a bit of everything I love – photography, video, design, fashion, weddings, a bit of writing – everything.
In your professional career can you name a time when you were faced with an obstacle and how you overcame it?
I landed this job through a trial by fire. Design three different magazines in four weeks and I had never designed a magazine before in my life. If that’s not the biggest obstacle ever, I don’t know what is. I guess you could say it accurately prepared me for the job because there are constantly new obstacles. You solve one problem and another emerges. I’ve gotten really good at getting a laugh out of how often it happens, then putting a positive spin on it all.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the people I get to work with, the places and people I get to meet. It’s always changing and it’s always different, which is also an aspect I really enjoy.
If you could invite anyone to lunch, who would it be and why?
Probably Taylor Swift. Because you know we’d eat lunch and then go off and do who knows what kind of awesome shenanigans.
What advice would you give to another woman with aspirations of becoming a creative director or working in fashion from a journalistic standpoint?
Scroll constantly. In my free time I soak up all the trends I can find on social media – not just to keep your eyes peeled for new trends, but to keep you inspired. Start a stylebook to save the things that inspire you and dream up the things you want to create.
If there is anything that you think I missed that you would like to add about yourself or your profession, include it here:
The biggest fashion lesson that has stuck with me is that if you ever have the chance to have a color analysis to determine what color (season) of clothing looks best on you – do it. I promise you it will be worth it. Total game-changer for me.