A DK Day with...

A DK Day with...

Meet some of the great people who work at DK, from marketing and production, to communications and design. Find out what a typical day at DK is like by reading the inside scoop in a variety of departments.

Louise Brown, Brand & Communications Director
Anna Bowers, Product Manager
Kiyeun Baek, Head of Business Development IPL
Vicky Read, Project Art Editor

Louise Brown, Brand & Communications Director, tells us what it's like to work in
Brand & Comms at DK

 

Louise Brown

My day starts with…
Checking to see what exciting news stories we have received over night to post up on DK Notebook+ as I commute from the south-east coast into London.

I’m responsible for…
My role is split into two - on one side developing, building and promoting the DK brand and on the other, responsibility for all DK corporate communications, internally and externally.

The best bits…
Every day is different - I love that no two days are ever the same. Responsibility for communications means I am involved in so many different aspects of the business, which gives me a fascinating insight into everything that is going on at DK.

The low points…
Corporate communications can be unpredictable, and you can’t always plan ahead, no matter how much you would like to.

My favourite spread…
Too many to choose from! I am addicted to reading the explore articles on dk.com. I especially love the new Christmas hairstyle one... I dream of having time to test one out.

7 Christmas styles to try

Did you know?...
My life at DK started in the product archive department, 17 years ago, it was my very first job after graduating.

What’s next?....
The year end company presentation next week is a big moment in the calendar for Brand & Comms. It is a great way to showcase everyone's hard work from the year.

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Anna Bowers, Product Manager, tells us about working on dk.com

 

Anna Bowers

My day starts by…
Tubing into work from Highgate - reading product manager / technology blogs on sites like Econsultancy, Mind the Product, Mozilla, Medium. Then when I get to the office, checking updates and analytics on the dk.com website before going into sprint planning and site research and maintenance for the rest of the day.

I’m responsible for…
Working with business owners, development teams, designers, marketers and other stakeholders to deliver a scalable, efficient and manageable web product in three territories globally (UK, US and Canada).

The best bits…
Getting feedback from users of the site - whether its people from within the business with new ideas for the site, or people out in the world using dk.com. All feedback is great. Good feedback re-affirms when we’re doing something right. Bad feedback indicates areas where we can continuously improve.

The low points…
There’s a good book by Rian van der Merwe called Making It Right: Product Management For A Startup World, and in it he (slightly hyperbolically!) writes -

Being a product manager can sometimes feel like being torn limb from limb. Most stakeholders have their own department’s interest at heart (as they should - they’re paid to fight the good fight for what they care about). In contrast, the product manager needs to negotiate the best solution out of all the different directions that stakeholders want to take.

Being unable to deliver a feature that might be important to one part of the business because there’s a bigger business or user need somewhere else. That can sometimes be hard.

My favourite spread…
I’ve really enjoyed watching the teams in the UK, the US and Canada build up the new content marketing area of the site, Explore, over the past few months. Its brilliant that so many people can have input into the strategy for this part of the site, and to grow their skills / take ownership over building web content.

DK Explore articles

Did you know?...
Where the previous site was not, the new dk.com has been built using Responsive Web Design (RWD) principles, underpinning a global solution. This means a lot of thought has gone into the way it presents on different-sized screens, from mobile, through tablet to desktop, and keeping a unified look and feel throughout territories. Images are flexible, grids are proportion-based, internet marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are simplified. Instead of having to develop and manage content for multiple websites, our team can take a unified approach to content management because we have only the one responsive site to manage.

What’s next?....
Next, I’m moving on to product manage a new web project - English for Everyone; working with the print product to scope and develop web components to complement and support the books.

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Kiyeun Baek, Head of Business Development in IPL, tells us what it’s like to work on the development of new ideas for the whole of DK

 

Kiyeun Baek

My day starts with...
Breakfast while listening to the BBC World Service, which in reality is breakfast with one hand and getting dressed with the other in my daily scramble to catch my train.

I’m responsible for...
The Strategic Languages team within IPL. In French, Italian, Portuguese and Korean, we select, translate and publish key titles directly under the DK brand instead of under a foreign publisher’s brand. This builds DK’s brand internationally, gives us more control over what is published and allows us to grow faster.

The best bits...
Finding the perfect match between our books and a customer’s needs, be it in licensed co-editions, English language exports or special sales. The more complex the project and the more teams it involves, the more satisfying it is when we finally deliver it and make it a success.

The low points...
Telling a customer they can’t have a book because someone else got it or the numbers don’t work... this can lead to a fair amount of emotionally-charged exchanges!

My favourite spread...
The explanation of the past continuous and the past simple in English for Everyone is my current favourite because it’s DK at its best: a complex concept explained simply with the perfect combination of text and images where every element has a reason to be there. I wish I had had these books when I was learning English!

And I know I’m meant to choose just one but I also wanted to give a shout out to the DK Braille books... I love everything about them!

English for Everyone spread

English for Everyone spread

Did you know?...
Over 20 languages are spoken within IPL, including Greek, Swedish and Chinese.

What’s next?....
Making English for Everyone a big commercial success around the world!

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Vicky Read, Project Art Editor, tells us what it was like to work on The Tea Book

 

Vicky Read

Group shot (left to right) Kathy Woolley (project editor), myself, Christine Keilty (managing art editor) and Jeunghyun Choi (Darye performer)

My day starts…
My working day starts at 5:47 am (yes, that 47min is important!) when my alarm goes off and I am at my desk by 8:20 am. I log in to my emails first to see if there have been any questions from the team working on the project in Delhi or other design matters within my team that I may have to deal with urgently. I then wait for InDesign to come alive and begin work on any layouts I am currently working on, taking in corrections or working on new spreads.

I’m responsible for…
The Tea Book was a new way of working. I handled developing the presentation of the live book. From making the template; creating some illustrations and briefing Delhi for others; the colour palette; planning and art directing the photo shoots and visualising all spreads alongside the editor, Kathy Woolley. We did all of this before handing over to the team in Delhi as a package for them to create the layouts. After that, I would assess and markup changes to spreads created by the Delhi team.

The best bits…
Although planning for the photo shoots was a lot of hard work and quite frantic at times, once we had started they were the best bit of the project for me. As well as recipes, step by steps and incidentals, we also shot three different tea ceremonies. Travelling to Cambridge with the photographer to watch and photograph an authentic Chanoyu (Japanese) tea ceremony at the Kaetsu Educational and Cultural Centre was a great experience.

The low points were…
Making sure all the maps in the book were factually correct and met DK styling.

My favourite spread…
Page 114–115, which is the start of the Korean Darye ceremony. The performers attire was beautiful, as was the ceremony. It was extremely graceful and quite meditative to watch.

The Tea Book

Did you know?...

We spent over £500 on different tea leaves for the photo shoot. The most expensive was £30 for 50g of a rare and highly valued yellow tea.

What’s next?....
I’ve gone from tea to the hard stuff… I’m currently working on a Craft Spirits title.

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