Creating ESA Highlights 2023: a print editor’s experience

Dirma van EckDirma van Eck
  22 December 2023

ESA Highlights is a publication that showcases the key achievements of the European Space Agency throughout the year. Our print editor Jan Kordys, who joined us in April 2023, got to produce it for the first time and told us all about it.

Curating the ESA Highlights 2023 as a new editor in the space domain proved to be both a delightful and daunting experience. Looking back, I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to ESA. In a relatively short span, I had to cover the full spectrum of ESA’s activities, notably through interviews – each one as captivating as the last – with individuals from nearly every ESA site.

The combination of passion, knowledge, and patience (towards me!) exhibited by these individuals truly amazed me. If we have succeeded in showcasing the amazing, interesting, and important work they are doing, then I believe we have accomplished our mission.

If I had to talk about the most challenging aspects, it would certainly be the difficulty of finding the most appropriate way of combining text and images, both pictures and infographics, and popularising the most difficult subjects, such as the application of quantum mechanics in space. Ultimately, it’s up to our readers to decide whether we have met these challenges!

It’s important to note that the annual publication of ESA Highlights is always a collaborative effort. This edition, in particular, presented a unique challenge as I took over as the print editor from our colleague Bija Knowles in April. Bija played a significant role in the preparation process, outlining subjects for the four in-depth articles and providing invaluable advice throughout. She authored an outstanding article on the Juice mission and assisted with proofreading, all while managing her new responsibilities.

Special recognition also goes to Federica Mezzo, the design wizard, and Rosa Tedesco, who are part of the ESA/EJR-Quartz consortium and crafted a remarkable interactive version. The coordination of the entire project was overseen by my ESA manager and Head of Print Media and Merchandising Production Office, Hugo Simões.

(Banner: ESA Highlights 2023. Credit: ESA.)