Congratulations to the SPD-U Show & Tell Winners!


2019 SPD-U
Show & Tell Online Gallery

We are excited to announce the winners of this year's Show & Tell Student Contest!
Thank you to Eric Capossela, Associate Creative Director, Metaleap Creative;
Agnethe Glatved, Executive Creative Director, Parents and Parents Latina;
Charlie Hess, Design Director / Photo Director, Chess Design;
and Dian Holton (Senior Deputy Art Director, AARP) for judging.

Sam Whitney

SCHOOL: Syracuse University
GRADE: Graduated 2019
INSTRUCTOR: Michele Damato
INSTAGRAM: @samdotpdf

Hannah Ahn

SCHOOL: Maryland Institute College of Art
GRADE: Sophomore
INSTRUCTOR: Brockett Horne
INSTAGRAM: @ahnprojects

 Michelle Barrueto

SCHOOL: Kean University
GRADE: Graduated 2019
INSTRUCTOR: Nancy Campbell

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Natalie Dettman

SCHOOL: Kennesaw State University
GRADE: Senior
INSTRUCTOR: Carole Maugé-Lewis
INSTAGRAM: @natdettart

Gabriela Ulloa

 SCHOOL: Kean University
GRADE: Graduated 2019
INSTRUCTOR: Nancy Campbell
INSTAGRAM: @gabby.ulloa


Deana Abdou

SCHOOL: Kean University
GRADE: Senior
INSTRUCTOR: Trevett McCandliss
INSTAGRAM: @dabdoudesigns 

Gabrielle Saydee

SCHOOL: Kean University
GRADE: Senior
INSTRUCTOR: Nancy Campbell


Join SPD-U for Our 2019 Pub(lications) Crawl!



If you're interested in working for magazines one day whether as a designer, photographer or illustrator, take a break from your class routine with our annual SPD-U PUB(lications) CRAWL! Our Pub Crawl is an annual day-long event where you'll get to tour the offices of two fantastic magazines and/or design firms for an in-depth look at the way things really work. Our tour hosts are getting ready to give you exclusive behind-the-scenes access, so come armed with your curiosity and questions, and prepare yourself for a unique tour of great magazine-making.

Space is extremely limited, so RSVP to reserve your spot now. All tours are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis ... so the earlier you register, the better chance you have of getting your top choice of tours.

Registration Deadline: Monday, September 30th at 5:00PM EST

Pick which tours you'd most prefer to go on and choose your'll be asked for your tour choices in the registration form. Please be aware that tours are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis, so the earlier you register, the more likely you will get your top choice of tours. But even if you don't get your first choice, don't worry...ALL the tours are awesome, trust us!!

Friday, October 4, 2019
9:15 am - 4:00 pm (end time is approximate)
We will start at the SPD Office: 27 Union Square West, Suite 207, NYC 10003 | 212.223.3332

Doors open at 9:15 and registration takes place until 9:30. Please be aware we leave for the various tours promptly at 9:45--if you're late, you're going to be left behind and because of logistics, you cannot join us at a later time during the day. The day will end after the last tour, no later than 4:00pm. After that, you are free to leave.


  • FREE for all SPD Student Members! But you must reserve your spot and give us your tour choices in the registration form by logging into your account here!

  • $15 for everyone else (This event is for students of any level as well as recent graduates who are within a year of their graduation date. Teachers and faculty members are also welcome when accompanying their students, but you do need to register.)

  • OR join now as a Student Member for $50 ($40 if you're out of the NYC area)...if you join now, your admission will be FREE to this and all our other SPD-U events this year. Plus you get lots of other awesome stuff, like a free SPD Annual and free competition entries.


  • a government-issued photo I.D. for access to office buildings

  • money for lunch or bring your own lunch; also make sure you eat breakfast BEFORE you arrive in the morning

  • a MetroCard or money for subway travel...we try to walk as much as we can, but some subway travel will be required

  • a notebook for notes and a bag since you'll be getting handouts and magazines

  • umbrella/raingear and comfortable shoes since we'll be walking to the different offices

  • office-appropriate clothing. You definitely don't have to wear a suit or get too fancy -- you will be walking a lot, after all -- but just remember you WILL be in various professional settings and you may be meeting people who one day will interview you, so dress with that in mind.
    Leave the résumés and portfolios at home...we'll have a Portfolio Review later on and you'll have the chance to review it with our panel of professionals at that time.


Space is limited so RSVP asap! Your tour preferences are just that; in other words, they are not guaranteed. Tours are assigned on a first-come, first-serve the earlier you RSVP, the better chance you have of getting your top choice. This also means that if you are part of a large group registering, you may not all get assigned the same tour. Tour assignments will be given to you the morning of the event.

No Refunds. Questions? Email us at


YOUNG FIRE: Tala Safié


Being the daughter of a journalist, it was a pretty safe bet that Tala Safié would be influenced by the editorial world. Originally interested in becoming a journalist herself, the Beirut native changed her tune and found her calling in the visual arts. After earning her BFA, Tala ventured overseas to New York City to pursue a masters in design at The School of Visual Arts. She now holds the titles of lead designer at AIGA Eye on Design and freelance art director at The New York Times. As an accomplished designer who creates compelling, forward-thinking, limit-pushing work, Tala sits down with us to share her thoughts on portfolio building, the classic "cold-email," and how to properly stalk your interviewer.

BY: Katie Belloff

Tala Safié
Lead Designer, AIGA Eye on Design
Freelance Art Director, The New York Times
American University of Beirut, 2013
School of Visual Arts, 2018 | @talasafie

Publication for the Mansion Film Club, Beirut

Publication for the Mansion Film Club, Beirut

SPD-U: When did you first decide that you were going to be a designer/work in design? Were you always interested in working in magazines/print?
Tala Safié:
I’ve always wanted to be a journalist, actually. My mom is a journalist and so are all of her close friends, so I’ve always wanted to be part of that world. I’m better with visuals than I am with words, so editorial design seemed like a good fit for me. 

SPD-U: What project in your student portfolio do you think gave you the biggest advantage when looking for internships/jobs and why?
I think it was my BFA thesis project. I created a film club for Mansion, a collective art space situated in an early twentieth-century villa in Beirut, formerly abandoned during the Lebanese civil war. I made bilingual (Arabic + English) publications, posters, and videos, and organized a few screenings with the help of the director of the space. This project landed me my first job with Studio Safar, mainly because it touched different design platforms, which was appealing to a multidisciplinary studio. The bilingual aspect was also a big advantage. 

SPD-U: If you could go back in time and give your past self advice before your first professional interview for a design position what would it be?
Be a good listener, ask questions, and don’t do all of the talking. Also, stalk your interviewer(s) beforehand. Read things they’ve written, watch talks they’ve had. But also don’t creep them out with all the information you learn, be cool about it.

SPD-U: Where was your first internship and what was the most important/memorable thing you learned there?
My first internship was at De Designpolitie in Amsterdam. I learned that employers tend to forget that interns exist so you need to remind them by asking them questions and taking initiatives even if they don’t clearly assign specific tasks to you.

SPD-U: You publish a lot of your personal work on your website in a separate section.  What would you say the advantages of that are?
My website is a bit of a mess and my work is certainly not divided in a very smart way at the moment. I have two main sections and both are a mix of professional and self-initiated work: ideally they would be neatly organized under one category.

I guess it’s useful to include personal projects if they reflect relevant skills and interests that don’t come across in your professional portfolio. My self-initiated projects are usually collaborative, they’re really an excuse for me to work with people I like and admire, especially writers.

SPD-U: Any tips for students/young professionals dealing with imposter syndrome?
Remember that most people have no idea what they’re doing, especially creatives.

SPD-U: How many cold emails/resumes did you send out before you heard back about your first job offer? How effective do you feel that strategy is?
Many. When I first moved here I really didn’t know anyone, so it was really hard for me to get a job, especially with my non-resident-alien status. I also come from a culture where you’re not really used to shameless self-promotion, which I quickly learned was a big thing in the design community in the States. What was effective for me was to reach out directly to people I really wanted to work for with candid, straightforward, and personalized emails.

I eventually met Perrin Drumm, the founder of AIGA Eye on Design who trusted me and gave me a shot. She opened so many doors for me in New York, I really owe her everything.

AIGA Eye on Design

AIGA Eye on Design

SPD-U: You're currently the Lead Designer of AIGA Eye on Design and a freelance Art Director of The New York Times' features sections. What do you feel the biggest learning curve was after starting these positions and how did you overcome it? Is there anything you feel like you're still working on conquering?
Both jobs are very different and come with their own sets of challenges. The first is very hands-on while the second involves a lot more actors and decision makers. But in both I had to learn how to diplomatically communicate with editors, juggle very tight deadlines and manage my time better. I also had to painfully and slowly learn to accept and embrace Slack as an integral tool in my daily life.

SPD-U: Going back to your job as a freelance Art Director, what are the biggest challenges in being freelance over full-time? Any advice for young professionals thinking of embarking out into the freelance world?
The uncertainty of freelance is always a little scary. Figuring out taxes and health insurance plans in the US on your own is definitely not easy.

My advice is to get some in-house experience first. Working full-time in a design studio for three years helped me embark into freelance: it taught me how to pitch to clients, talk about money, communicate with printers and handle production. 

What also really helps is to find a steady / recurring client to depend on in slow seasons.

AIGA Eye on Design

AIGA Eye on Design

SPD-U: Who are some of your design idols (and can we have their Instagram tags? ;) )
Zeina Maasri, Reza Abedini, Hatem Imam and Jana Traboulsi taught me everything I know!!! 

Also, and in no particular order: Mohieddin El Labbad, Tibor Kalman, April Grieman (there’s a really good interview with her on Eye on Design here), OK-RM, M/M Paris, and Mona Chalabi. I also love Tracy Ma’s brain.

SPD-U: What's your favorite magazine (outside of the ones you currently work for) and why?
Bidoun is a perfect publication. Aside from it being insightful, funny and irreverent, the printed magazine (RIP) was one of my biggest inspirations as a design student. I often go back to their accessible online archives to dig into past issues.

I currently enjoy reading Real Review, Countersignals, Talk, The Smudge, and wish I could make/design a Beirut edition of Civilization but that would qualify as plagiarism.

SPD-U: Last but not least: what's your guilty pleasure song?
The entire Sugababes discography.

AIGA Eye on Design

AIGA Eye on Design

AIGA Eye on Design

AIGA Eye on Design


Announcing the Judges for the 2019 SPD-U Show & Tell Competition


We’re thrilled to announce our judges for the SPD-U Show & Tell Competition!


Associate Creative Director, Metaleap Creative

agnethe glatved

Executive Creative Director, Parents and Parents Latina


Founder / Creative Director / Curator, With Projects, Inc.

Charlie hess

Design Director / Photo Director, Chess Design


Senior Deputy Art Director, AARP


The SPD-U Show & Tell Competition is Open!


Enter by Friday, June 21st at 5:00PM EST

School’s over, and especially if you’ve graduated, the last thing on your mind is more student work but before you forget the academic year altogether, make sure you enter our SPD-U Show & Tell Competition. Forget rules and forget formulas; just show us your best editorial design. Formerly known as the SPD-U Spotlight Competition, winners have gone on to work at publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Glamour, Men’s Health, Vice, and Esquire.

If your work is chosen by our jury of top-notch editorial design professionals, you’ll receive an awards certificate and we’ll showcase your work in an exclusive online gallery. It’s a great way to get your name and work in front of the entire SPD audience, which includes art directors with the power to hire fresh, young talent like yourself.


SPD-U Presents: Student Portfolio Review - Spring 2019



Are you a brave soul interested in the publishing industry? Then march on down to SPD-U’s Student Portfolio Review. Our crack team of seasoned publishing veterans will share the strategies and tactics necessary to whip your portfolio into shape.

You'll get valuable advice and critiques from publishing professionals and you'll learn what these pros look for in your work when they're planning to hire. It doesn't matter if your portfolio is fully finished or still in the works, digital or print...bring what you've got (full details below). Space is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so sign up today!


WHO: For all student levels and recent grads.

WHAT: Bring your portfolio whether it's finished or still in the'll get one-on-one reviews with some of our best pros! Please note, your work has to be in print form or as a PDF on your laptop/iPad. We won't have the ability to look at online portfolios. No flash drives please.

WHEN: Friday, May 10, 2019 / 3:00pm - 6:00pm | Registration closes on Thursday, May 9th at 1PM EST.

WHERE: Fast Company offices, Downtown NYC (Exact address will be given to you in your confirmation email)

• If you're an SPD student member, your entry is free! However, you must reserve your spot by logging in and registering below.
• If you're not a current member, join now and you can come for free too. Join here and then register below to reserve your spot for the reviews.
• $20 for all other students


Kate Elazegui, Design Director, The New York Times

David Heasty, Partner, Triboro

Abbey Kuster-Prokell, Creative Director, Martha Stewart Living

Chelsea Schiff, Associate Art Director, Fast Company

Rob Vargas, Executive Design Director, GQ + GQ Style