Alumni Profile: Gillian MacLeod
November 13, 2014

By Ainslie Ross

From the studios of NSCAD’s Fountain Campus to Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia: you just never know where life will take you. '

Take NSCAD University graduate Gillian MacLeod for example. She has a portfolio many designers would long for, having done work for Nylon, House Beautiful Magazine, O Magazine, Elle, and The New York Times. Now living in New York, she’s now the Deputy Art Director of Martha Stewart Living.

“I never expected to land where I did. New York was always a big dream of mine. I feel grateful that I’ve been able to get where I am and be happy and confident in my career as a designer and an artist. NSCAD had a lot to do with that.”

She continues: “It was a really amazing experience; it provided me with a serious foundation for the design world.  I developed a lot of good habits. The honours program gave me tools to conceptualize ideas. It was all about developing a process that could be applied to many different types of work.”

Typography was her favourite subject at NSCAD.  She spoke fondly about taking courses from Rudi Meyer, associate professor, and director of the Master of Design program.

“Rudi is great; really early on I took an intro to typographic design class with him and we’re still in touch.  He’s such a fascinating and incredibly intelligent person.”

Originally from Toronto, MacLeod is busier than ever: working on various books (One Pot Cookbook, Martha Stewart’s Favorite Crafts for Kids) and Martha Stewart Living Magazine and freelancing as an illustrator on the side. But she’s used to the fast paced lifestyle and her time at NSCAD prepared her for that.


Gillian MacLeod (BDes 1993) is the deputy art director at Martha Stewart Living. At right, some of the books she's designed, including One Pot and Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids. 





“I guess I would say it was like a discovery, it was really busy, school’s intense, and you’re just always working.  If you’re not in the studio, then you’re at home working, especially at NSCAD, you want to take advantage of it while you’re there.”

She attributes her success to a combination of versatility, flexibility, focus and surrounding herself with the right people. 

“Being surrounded by all of the talent at the company, I feed off of the creative energy of other people. It’s really amazing being at Martha Stewart, it’s truly an incomparable place.”

MacLeod’s passion for NSCAD is obvious to anyone who asks her about the school, one day she hopes to return.

“I love NSCAD; I love the buildings…they’re like a maze.  I dream about coming back and maybe doing a lecture on the publishing world or something like that,” she says.

Connection is a theme that pops up repeatedly while talking with the designer. 

“There’s something about NSCAD; you make ties and they continue to come up again and again,” she says.  “I did some work for an artist in New York who’s a professor at Vassar and she just so happened to be having a show at The Anna Leonowens Gallery (at NSCAD).  I don’t know, there are funny things that come up about NSCAD and New York, it’s a nice reminder of where I’m coming from.."

Her advice to future design grads is to “Take big risks. A lot of being successful is putting in the work, paying your dues, and keeping your mind open to possibilities.”

This story originally appeared in the Herald Magazine (Issue 7, Volume 3, November 2014).

Now available!Show your school spirit by wearing a NSCAD T-shirt or sweatshirt (designs by Ray Fenwick, BDes 2004). Check out the full range of NSCAD-branded products. Something you're interested in but isn't there? Let us know by emailing:

Alumni Services

TD Insurance Meloche Monnex
As a graduate of NSCAD you have privileged access to the TD Insurance Meloche Monnex program, which provides savings through lower preferred insurance rates. Plus, by choosing TD Insurance you also give back. Our program contributes to NSCAD every year, so while you benefit from savings, you will also be supporting your alma mater.

Click here for more information and find out how much you can save.


Alumni Degree FrameProudly display your degree with pizzazz! Custom-designed frames from Tempo Framing are now available to all alumni. Present your degree alongside the NSCAD colours in a slick matte-black metal frame with NSCAD-branded mat board cut specially for our square degrees. These frames are made in Canada and come pre-assembled. Degree framing is a breeze thanks to the unique frame design.


Alumni Ring
The NSCAD alumni ring celebrates a lifelong connection to your academic and creative achievements. Designed by Karen Konzuk (BFA 97), this stainless steel band incorporates the official NSCAD colour with a side incision of purple powder-coated finish. Inside the band is an engraved Latin inscription of NSCAD's informal school motto.

Benefits and Perks

SEE NSCAD's Alumni Services page for special offers on Art Gallery of Nova Scotia membership, Saltscapes Magazine subscriptions, NSCAD Library borrowing privileges and tuition breaks for Extended Studies adult courses.