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What It's Like Working as Candy's Art Director: Steph Yapnayon

Want to be an art director in the future? Read this and take notes!
ART Trixie Ison PHOTOS Shaira Luna, Steph Yapnayon, Tokidoki

Putting together the pages of your favorite teen magazine isn't easy, but Candy's Art Director Steph Yapnayon makes it seem like it is. Get to know what happens behind the scenes of her job and learn more about what it's like to work for your favorite magazine here.

1. What was your dream job?

"As corny as it may seem, my dream job was to work for Candy. I was a reader since its very first issue back in 1999, and I was always in awe of how they designed and laid out the magazine's colorful pages."

2. As the Art Director, you are expected to...

"...always come up with fresh and interesting ideas, most especially with the design part—everything from the fonts, colors, photos, and illustrations. They always have to be new, interesting, and of course relatable to the Candy readers."

3. When did you develop an interest in design and the publishing industry?

"I actually started with web design (yes, I was one of those teens who had a Geocities website). Haha! Then in college, I joined our literary publication in UST called The Flame and learned how to lay out magazines and books. I also did a few book design and layouts for my friend, Angelo Suarez for his poetry books then."

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4. What was your first job and how did you land it?

"I was a graphic artist for BusinessWorld Publishing Corporation. It's a daily newspaper so the schedule was a bit overwhelming. I applied fresh out of college with just little experience but luckily was accepted."

5. What was your course in college and how does it affect your work now?

"I took up Communication Arts, initially I thought I wanted to work in Marketing. I guess being in touch with the target market is always important, especially since I'm not a teen anymore, obviously."

6. Do you think it's necessary for aspiring art directors and designers to take a design-related course?

"Definitely, that was one of my regrets because basically I had to learn everything on my own. Design-related courses would already teach you the basic rules of layout and art direction, and also train you in mastering the various software needed for the job."


7. You've been through several Candy redesigns already. Please tell us how you came up with the different looks for the magazine at different times.

"I'm just lucky that Candy has no international counterpart so we really get to decide on the look and everything. We do a lot of research, we also do focused group discussions with teens to find out what they like and don't like. With Candy though, I feel like the brand is already very established, so it's just basically making sure that the design is relatable to teens, current, and fresh. Also, make sure that there is a reason and study behind that design element."

Don't just do it because it looks good or what. There has to be a reason for the design or layout.

8. What's your favorite and least favorite parts of your job?

"Favorite part is attending photoshoots. It's always exciting and nice to think of new concepts for shoots. Least favorite part is more the administrative stuff, like backing up files and such."


9. What's your advice to aspiring art directors?

Study! Study fonts, photographers and illustrators' styles, colors, mood boards—everything! Always be in touch with design trends and read and every magazine, book, website you can get your hands on.

Art Director Steph's favorites


Your favorite way to de-stress: Korean face masks! Innisfree Blackberry is my current fave. Youtube beauty tutorials are also my guilty pleasure. I also love to eat out and have ice cream when I get a little stressed!



Your favorite designer/illustrator/art person: Simone Legno of Tokidoki. His colorful and kawaii artworks always brings a smile to my face. I actually met him twice and had most of my Tokidoki things signed. :)

Best advice you've ever received:



Want us to interview someone from your field of interest? Tell us in the comments and we'll try our very best to talk to her.









About the author
Ayessa De La Peña Assistant Section Editor
I am's resident fangirl and ~*feelings*~ girl. When I'm not busy researching about what to write next on the website, I sleep, read books, and re-watch episodes of Friends.

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Katherine Go A day ago

Cold Food

The most thrilling and delightful moment of any school day is opening up your baon during breaks. There is always so much excitement in unveiling your homemade meal and snacks housed inside matching heat-insulating containers. Because preparing packed meals is an age-old tradition of showing parental love, loved ones pour effort into curating a nutritious meal accompanied by a selection of side dishes, desserts, and beverages daily; it reminds us that we are being taken care of, even from far away.

Baon plays a significant role in a Filipino childhood. Almost every Filipino child comes to school with baon made especially for them by their parents or household helpers. Even Filipinos in the labor force continue to bring baon for varying reasons: to save money, recycle leftovers, cater to personal taste, or attend to special needs. Nonetheless, eating your baon is a heart-warming experience that allows Filipinos to bring a piece of home along with them wherever they go.

Even other cultures practice making packed lunch. In Japan, mothers create bento--Japanese meals in partitioned boxes. Because of the popularity of bento, trends have emerged, such as the Kyaraben, or character-themed bento. Naturally, Japanese parents and students began competing for who had the cutest and tastiest bento, and this is similar to what I have witnessed in my own childhood. I remember seeing my classmates sharing their snacks and lunches. They would compare and boast about their parents' or yayas’ cooking. In my case, I never had the chance to join in the competition or indulge in homemade cooking. Up until this day, I have never brought any baon to school.

For a long time, I envied others. As trivial or petty as it may seem, not having baon became a problem for my grade school self. During that time, I had to sit in a separate cafeteria away from my friends because the kids who bought food were assigned to sit elsewhere. You could consider me spoiled, but I wanted to experience something most kids did. I had food at home, so what made it so hard to bring some with me to school?

Now that I am on my final year in high school I have come to realize the benefits of purchasing my own food. Since I spent on food everyday, I learned to budget my allowance at a young age. Over the years, I learned to practice self-control whenever I wanted to eat more greasy fries and drink sweetened beverages. I have tasted the strangest viands at the school cafeterias, and I have repeatedly satiated myself over my latest delicious discoveries. Despite the struggles, I am thankful that I have never had baon because of what I have learned. Not to mention, I never had to experience eating cold food.

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