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Leading Editorial Designer Otavio Rabelo on how to get career started

Design and marketing often go-hand-in-hand, and for Brazilian native Otavio Rabelo, his passion for design led to an interest in marketing. Millions around the world get to see his work through an advertisement or unique page layout, showing off his creativity behind-the-scenes. He has to adapt to whatever best conveys a product or message, picking the perfect elements to captivate a target audience. He uses these strategies as an art director and editorial designer with many of the United States’ leading publications, working alongside iconic stars and other industry-leading artists.

“The highlight of my career was when I worked with Kobe Bryant and represented the company I was working for in a photoshoot in Los Angeles. He was very approachable and friendly, and I could see his respect for my work. That day I felt I was on the right track,” said Rabelo.

Rabelo has had a formidable career, and is currently the Editorial and Marketing Designer at Deadline Hollywood. During Oscar season, he was responsible for designing Save The Dates, Invites, Email Blasts, Video Cards, Social Posts, Signages, Video Openings, Magazines and all kinds of marketing sales decks for marketing teams, prior and post each event, and he regularly works with photographers to feature prolific stars on the front of the magazine.

The beginning of Rabelo’s outstanding career with magazines began back in 2016 with FourTwoNine, a luxury magazine made for the wealthy LGBTQ audience. Rabelo wanted to work for them at the time because he always wanted to work for a magazine, and it was his first time being completely in charge of all the layouts and visual identity of a magazine. He had full responsibility to design all sections of the issue. It was the first time that he could show all of his potential to an international audience, so he took the opportunity and soared.

“What I like about FourTwoNine magazine is that it’s divided into two big sections. The papers are different in both sections. In the front of the book the paper used is coated while in the back the paper used is glossy. It gives readers the feel and idea that there are two magazines inside one publication, and it affects the content too. Since it is targeted for the LGBTQ community the magazine is very colorful which gives it a very unique and positive style, and fun for design purposes,” said Rabelo.

Working at FourTwoNine was an amazing experience for Rabelo, and his first time designing for an LGBTQ audience. He designed 120 pages, including three different covers, from front cover to back cover, by himself during his time with the publication, an essential aspect of each issue’s success.

“Since FourTwoNine was a startup editorial media company, I believed that showing my best work there could lead me to a bigger opportunity with other companies and it definitely worked out as I hoped. I had full freedom to design pages and sections the way I thought would be best and it was rewarding to get positive feedback from the team,” he said.

After only creating and producing one issue for the magazine, Rabelo’s work was noticed by TheWrap’s creative director, Ada Guerin. It was very satisfying for a young Rabelo to know that his work was good enough to be recognized by such a talented professional, and he found his way to then working with TheWrap for several years.

Undoubtedly, Rabelo has had a career many designers can only dream of. He works tirelessly to ensure perfection with every graphic he produces and knows that his hard work is why he has reached such an esteemed level in the industry. For those looking to do the same, he offers some wise words:

“It is not easy. You always have to be connected and on call. You have to have your creative juices flowing at all times. It’s definitely a job that requires you to be thinking ahead. Looking for good design inspirations is always important. Pressure is part of it. Once you start dealing well with it, you are going to improve your skills. Also, pay attention to all the details and be an extreme perfectionist,” he advised.

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