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How to Submit Design Art to a Magazine

written by: Michael Guerrero•edited by: Amber Neely•updated: 12/25/2010

So you're looking in to getting into the art design world and magazines are set in your sights as a preferred venue. But like all publications magazines are hard to apply for and you might be wondering how to submit design art to a magazine. We have a quick guide on how to submit your work.

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    Croc magazine covers. Before we get down to brass tacks there's a couple of quick, but important things we need to cover beforehand. First off, you will want to ask yourself if this is this really what you want to do? Most artists who submit design art to magazines will be hired for a length of time to produce a lot of different designs. You will be required to meet the demands of the publisher with little room for artistic liberty. If you're still with me we'll move onto the next order of business which is...

    The portfolio. Regardless of what artistic job you're going for you will need a portfolio that you can submit for review. A portfolio consists of pretty much all the work you are proud of and work that you've gotten good reviews on either from school or from clients. They can be as large as you would like but remember that you will have to submit several copies of your portfolio to several companies so it may be in your best interest to limit yourself to several pages of designs. I won't go in to incredible detail on what makes a good portfolio, just remember it's better to have a variety of work included in your portfolio that shows that you know more than a few techniques and can be a versatile artist.

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    Selecting Publications

    You will need is to select the publications you want to design for. You will have to see if they are even accepting artist submissions or if there will be openings in the near future. Some magazines will almost never change out staff and are virtually impossible to be accepted into, I would recommend that you do not waste your time or the company's time by trying to submit your designs to them.

    An example of design art. 

    Look for magazines that cater to your interests and that you can be passionate about designing for. Some magazines have a strict style of design that they adhere to and if you're bothered by that maybe look for something that's a bit more open.

    Look around for a lot of magazines. The popular magazines will be difficult to be accepted into but will likely give your work a lot of exposure while the smaller magazines will give you a venue to gain experience and will have the potential of building up in to a strong magazine. You may find that there are a lot of interesting magazines out there you've never heard about and they may really want the artistic ability you have to offer. Just don't limit yourself to your favorites. Remember to include an information sheet that details several ways to contact you and maybe a brief explanation of the types of work you like doing, what you like about design, and why you think you would be a good fit for the company. You can choose to include a resume if you feel like it would help but magazines and any other art related career will focus mostly on your portfolio.

    Magazine cover design. 

    Assuming you're looking for a steady career or at least reasonable compensation for your work, make sure that the company is going to make good on said payments. If there is no money to gain or at least a considerable amount of exposure.

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    Submitting Design Art to Magazines

    Portfolio mailer example. Once you have the aforementioned steps squared away it's time to start submitting your art. Usually companies will have websites where you can find contact information or even submit your portfolio through the Internet. If you cannot find an address look up a phone number to call and ask for the information you need. If you can't find any of this information it's likely that they are not hiring and you should move on to the next company.

    You may have to fill out applications to certain companies which means you will need to print it and mail it with your portfolio. You will likely need several envelopes depending on how many companies you applied for that can contain all the required paper work and your portfolio. Keep everything together unless specified otherwise in order to avoid mix-ups or separation of both your portfolio and paperwork.

    Once you send your work in for review all you can do is be patient and wait for a reply. Some companies may not reply at all, some may let you know that while your application was turned down it was filed away for the future. Just keep applying to places until you have an ideal position.

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    All images are used for promotional purposes only and are listed in the order they appear.