How Ella Johnston Got Ahead

“My favourite brand is The Beatles – the ultimate band brand.”

Ella Johnston
Axon Publishing (
Job title:
Managing Editor
What made you want to get into

Words and pictures fascinate me – in fact my degree was in Art History and Literature. But iconic images and great use of words can be found all around us every day, so it felt like a natural progression.
How did you get into the industry (including relevant qualifications and professional training)?
Hard graft, ingenuity, a can-do attitude and lots of ambition.
What was good and bad about your first job?
My first job taught me how to deal with difficult people – a good skill for the long term, but not much fun when I was there.
List your jobs to date:
I promoted a small theatre company, then did a stint at Express Newspapers. I enjoyed the dot com boom working for a multi-media internet hub in Shoreditch and editing an e-commerce website before joining TPD/Just to work on the Goldfish online guides. I spent over two years at Just working with fabulous people (colleagues and clients alike) on magazines and internet sites. I left to join Restaurant magazine where I started as production editor and 18 months later they made me the editor. I wanted to broaden my experience so I freelanced for a while and wrote for and edited some fabulous titles, worked on the launch of a football magazine and even had some fun working as a TV presenter. Now I’m aboard the good ship Axon.
What were the best and worst, and why?
My best job is my current job – I work with fantastic, talented people and excited, energetic clients who inspire me to get even better at what I do. The worst by far was my first with a theatre company.
Journalists and designers are a breeze compared with actors!
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Andy Warhol – he knew the power of a good quote and a great image.
Who in the industry do you most admire?
The subs on The Sun – their headlines are great. Peter Saville never fails to impress either.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
I don’t like resting on my laurels – there’s always something to be done.

On what do you base your success so far?
Never, ever being satisfied. Being excited by the work that I and others do. Learning from the excellent people I’ve worked with, and remembering the triumphs as well as the mistakes.
What are your ambitions?
More projects and challenges – building on my existing relationships and forging new ones. Broadening Axon’s portfolio and inspiring the team to keep on producing excellent work, while still growing creatively.
Change one thing about your job:
Can I have a 48-hour day please?
Change one thing about your industry:
Change one thing about the world:
I wish there was more love in it.
What is your favourite brand?
The Beatles – the ultimate band brand.
What is the next big brand in your view?

I think people are already creating their own.
List your ‘media diet’:
A large quantity of interior and fashion mags (it helps on the M&S Home account). Youth magazines and websites to keep things fresh. Plus the staples of Guardian Unlimited, Marketing Week, Media Week, Creative Review, Design Week and the Press Gazette. I indulge in special treats such as myspace, youtube and Holy Moly. I always take a peek at Wonderland – what will they use on the cover next?

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here