When clients fill in their grand matching survey, they are assigned a designated creative director who acts as their co-captain in the creative process. Our creative directors are unique, brilliant, and damn good at their work.
We want you to get to know Designity’s creative directors beyond just their epic project management skills. Here is an in-depth creative director interview with our very own graphic design guru, Cristin Bowman.
Cristin is based in Georgia and loves Star Trek, comic books, and their cat. With over 20+ years of experience in the design industry, they take teaching and creativity to a whole new level.
This is Cristin Bowman!
Q: How did you become a designer?
A: My mother was a freelance graphic designer. I never wanted to follow in her footsteps because I saw how hard it was – it can be exhausting. I was going to be a fine artist. I went to art school and took 5 years of classes like painting, printmaking, ceramics, and sculpture. I just loved every bit of it.
Then I got out and realized that I didn’t have the drive to be a full-time artist. That’s a lot of work. You really need to have that extra something special. And I could see my colleagues who were like “I’m going to go to grad school,” and I realized that they had that thing that I lacked.
So, I then got a lot of little part-time jobs, and my mother was really busy. She needed help and convinced me to help with her design work. She taught me much of what I know about graphic design and sent me some clients. I just kind of ran with it.
Q: What led you to become a creative director?
A: I spent many years doing reports and typesetting. I was eventually hired full-time to work on annual reports. I learned from those designers about composition, design, flow, and other design aspects. I eventually became the production manager for everything. Before anything went to the printer, it had to come through me.
By seeing everything that came across my desk, I could really see the design that these people were creating. I kind of just soaked it in like a sponge and they started putting me on small design projects, working my way up to the Cox Enterprise’s employee magazine.
When the company closed its doors, I snagged a couple of clients including the Cox magazine, and I took over everything. I was the creative director, I did the traffic managing, I worked with photographers and writers and helped come up with the concepts and themes. That was a really great learning experience.
Q: Was that your first creative director role?
A: Yeah, it really was. I did that for about four to five years, and we did four magazines a year. It was pretty much a full-time job. I never thought that I would become a creative director, but it was just one of those things that was sort of like the next step for me.
I surprised myself in that role because as an introvert, I never thought that I could handle talking to that many people in one day. There are still things that I can learn, but as a creative director, I really love it.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a creative director?
A: I especially love working with Designity. I like working with baby designers and newbies. I find posting a quick little tip kind of makes my day. Especially when it’s something that I learned the hard way. Sharing that tidbit might save someone twenty or thirty minutes trying to figure it out for themselves.
I really love teaching more than anything. You realize that I have been doing this for twenty-some-odd years, a really long time. You kind of pick up a thing or two along the way, and if I can share what I’ve learned over the years in this field, maybe I can help someone.
Also, I really love that someone else has to find the clients. But also, this model that we’ve got. It allows us to meet so many people outside of where we live which I think is really cool. It’s just a great way to work with lots of different clients, too. A lot of different industries, doing a lot of different things.
Q: Do you have a favorite industry that you like working in?
A: Well, I personally would love to do more non-profit stuff. I also work with All Voting is Local; they work in eight states making sure that people have access to the ballot. That’s kind of my other little thing. It’s like using my powers for good. I’ve worked for the ACLU of Georgia and the Hemophilia Group of Georgia, just small groups that need design and they can’t afford to pay for a lot.
As long as I can support myself by working at Designity, I can dedicate that extra energy where it’s needed the most.
Q: What industry loves you?
A: Ironically, super intense corporate companies love me for some reason. You know, that super clean, super corporate style? Yeah, I don’t know what it is! I guess I excel at that, you know, that sort of nice, corporate look that’s not boring but it’s clean, a little edgy but not too much.
I can typeset a 180-page financial section of an annual report like nobody else. Like, I am in the top 1% of the people who can do that. It’s a weird skill to have, for sure!
Q: What is your favorite type of project?
A: I really like doing videos. I like animating and making something out of nothing. In the early 2000s when Flash was really big, I loved playing with that because it was a little bit of both. You know, animation and being able to make this come alive, you know. So, I have a lot of fun with animations and with videos.
I also love designing book covers. I would love to do more illustrations and find a client who isn’t afraid to be unique or step out of the box. Embrace the weird. If I can make doodles come to life, being able to work on a project like that would be awesome.
Q: What is the most quirky thing about you?
A: I hate this question! If I could really do anything in the world, I would do art in the comic book world. There is a skill where you take someone’s drawing, and you ink it! I would love to do that.
Unfortunately, my hand is somewhat broken (not literally) because I spent so many hours during the lockdown back in 2020 doing this, like hours a day. I would love to work in comics.
Q: If you could give advice to the ten-year-old version of yourself, what would it be?
A: You are different, and it is okay. It’s not in your head. You are definitely different. It will be FINE.