In the buildup to production of our 11th Progresif Magazine, we decided to pull back the curtain on what goes into making a magazine – from conceptualisation to publication – for 20 young graphic designers, who got to try their hand at designing the spreads.
To do achieve this, we partnered with the Creative Core and @creativeeconomyweek, who helped with the organisation and management of a design sprint and workshop.
The mechanism was simple: attend a workshop lead by our in-house creative director and get acquainted with the various elements of design in a magazine context, each participant then receives article copy and photo assets with which try design their own ‘audition’ spread. Once this preliminary round was concluded, the eight strongest designers were invited into the office to spend the weekend designing spreads with our magazine team.

Ira Ali’s piece on Plastuck

Once all the designs were completed and scrutinised, an overall winner was picked and awarded a three-month freelancers contract to work with Progresif. That winner was Ira Ali (@iraalicreatives), and here is what she had to say about the experience and her achievement.
1. What was your professional / academic / design background prior to the sprint?
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts & Creative Technology from UBD, and I also have worked as a graphic designer professionally nearing to 6 years at that time.
2. What did you hope to achieve by registering for the sprint?
I hoped to broaden my designing skills and learn designs that I might have not learnt before. Also, to be able to network with other creatives here in Brunei.
Other than that,I thought it was pretty cool to be able to contribute a spread in the magazine!
3. How did you find the experience?
It was definitely insightful! I got to learn specifically about magazine layout. You also get to experience the pressure of working on a design in just one to two days. It was an open floor to experiment with designs and I created designs that I’ve never done before.
4. Can you tell us how you think you benefitted, and what was the biggest lesson you learnt, if anything.
After being a designer for a few years, you always ended up thinking that you know everything. But it has opened up my mind that no matter how many years you’ve been in your career or in the industry, there’s still so much room to learn. The design sprint has not just to new designers but definitely to the experienced ones as well.

Ira Ali designing the spread for Plastuck

5. You ended up winning the sprint. How did that make you feel?
To be honest, I didn’t expect to make it to the second round. *queue laugh*. I’m honestly glad to know that my designing skills aren’t as bad as I thought (lol). On a serious note, I feel very honoured that Progresif has chosen me to be the winner and I don’t regret joining the sprint one bit.
6. You’ve now been taken on by Progresif as a freelance designer, is that something you thought would happen, and how has it been so far?
Not really, I knew there was a three month freelance contract, but I didn’t expect to win it. Having one of my designs in the magazine was actually an achievement for me too.
I’ve always wondered on what it’s like to work in Progresif and have always wanted to work here. I’m glad all my experiences have brought me here.
It’s been great! A great new environment for me and I can’t wait to contribute more of my designing skills to Progresif!
7. Anything you would like to add?
I would like to say, thank you to Progresif for giving me such an amazing opportunity and Creative Core for organising their creative economy week! To designers or those in the art & design community, I honestly recommend to join these type of activities. Whether you’re new or experienced, it’s not a crime to learn more and grow more in what you do. To me, every experience counts and it’s worth to explore more.