Blog > Designity > Creative Director Highlight: Sitara D.

It's Time to Meet Creative Director, Sitara

June 16, 2023
·
9
min read

It takes a special person to create all the behind-the-scenes magic that’s needed to fulfill each and every project we do here at Designity.

But that’s what our Creative Directors do each and every day.

They have unrivaled expertise in design, marketing, and a variety of other fields. They’re the best in the business, the mediators between clients and creatives, and the superstars that keep projects on schedule and of the highest quality.

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Sitara D, one of those amazing CDs that is the backbone of Designity!

You’re in for a treat, because we’ve gotten the opportunity to sit down for a one-on-one interview to get to know Sitara a little better so we can bring you her inspiring journey!

From a little girl with a box of crayons to a much-sought-after Designity superstar, here is Sitara’s story!

Q. How did you get into design? What’s your origin story?

A. Well, one fun fact about me is that I was born in India, to German parents, and when I was three years old, moved to Germany. 

I’ve always been into art. My sister was more of a tomboy, and she was always frustrated with me because I would just play with my crayons and I would be busy and occupied for hours, just in my own little world, drawing!

When I was six years old, I remember my grandpa just loved one of the paintings I did, and he just made me feel like he was so impressed with my painting. That was always just a nice memory because he was a carpenter, and he was artsy too. 

I’ve always been very artsy, that’s just been my thing.

When I was a teenager, I got into interior design and would literally do blueprints of my bedroom and rearrange it! At some point I was thinking of architecture, however, it was too intense mathematically. But I knew I wanted to study something art-related with purpose.

 

I went to school in Germany, where it’s different than here. In Germany, the equivalent to high school is similar to A-level education and you get to choose majors the last two years, and the majors I chose were English and Art.

They didn’t offer that at my school, so I changed schools and ended up traveling 45 minutes just to get to the art school! 

I studied fine arts and all the different mediums we were exposed to, like acrylic paintings, but then I got into digital design and what I really appreciated about it was Control Z — you can undo things!

Some mediums are very unforgiving in the fine arts world and, obviously, you start to think about how you can actually make money with art. Fine arts is such a tough thing to get into, but I’ve always enjoyed the business side of things and sort of thinking about how can art be useful in the day-to-day world and so graphic design just naturally became the answer for me.

And when I learned that this field allowed me to combine my passion for art with new computer technology, it was like yeah, that’s it! That’s exactly what I was looking for!

Q. What brought you from Germany to California?

Sample of Sitara's work, a company brand guide.

After 13 years of school, I decided I need to give my brain a break, I need a year to travel.

In Germany, I was signed up to study digital design. So, even though it's free, I was on a waitlist, so I thought I would spend a year abroad, and I ended up being an exchange student in San Diego.

I came to San Diego as an “au pair,” which is like a live-in nanny, and you study part-time and you take care of kids part-time.

I was really blessed because my host family was amazing and very supportive. After that year was over, I didn’t want to leave. So, instead of studying in Germany, I ended up studying graphic design in San Diego.

My family thought I was crazy because in Germany I could have studied for free and here I paid out-of-state tuition!

Q. What was your first design job?

After I graduated, I entered the field as an assistant graphic designer and worked my way up from Senior Designer and then Print Shop Manager of a print shop.

The company I was working for specialized in packaging and print design and the industries we most catered to were the music industry and a little bit of film in LA, so we did a lot of CD packaging (back in the day!) and DVD packaging and even software packaging because nothing was cloud-based back then.

When I was assuming the role of print shop manager, I learned a lot about the print industry and the packaging industry. It was a lot of really valuable years of just sponging everything up and learning so much. 

Q. How did you get to Designity? What was your career path like?

After the print shop, I switched to the pet industry, and it was really interesting because I got to work with companies like PetsMart and Petco. My company would make products with private labels for them.

It was there that I learned more about branding, about having similar products but packaging and branding them differently for different target audiences and the “why?” behind everything.

And also, during that time period, I learned more about web design because I shared an office with a web designer, and I learned a lot from her.

Tragically, she was in a car accident, and it was literally from one day to another, I helped cover her work and learn more about digital and web applications. This time really forced me to become a more versatile creative and marketing professional. I even attended my first commercial shoot and got the opportunity to learn more about that as well.

From there, I got more and more interested in the digital medium and web design and coding and all that good stuff. Because I was more interested in that and marketing leadership, I switched to a company that specialized in eCommerce.

I jumped at an opportunity with a local tribal casino, Pechanga, which is huge here, it’s one of the biggest employers. I started as a Senior Graphic Designer then was promoted to Brand Manager.

It was really amazing because they went through an expansion, so I got to lead a team and grew even more into a leadership role in my career, mentoring people. They also expanded their property, they had everything from golf, spa, gaming, casino, over 14 restaurants, so I got to be a part of rebranding their whole brand.

It was complex, like working for an agency because you have all these different target audiences, different sub-brands, so that was super exciting.

I really fell in love with logo design and brand development during that period of time. 

But, after we had been growing the team — we had literally just reconfigured the office to make more space for more team members — my team was growing, the company was growing, and then COVID happened. 

It was surreal. For years, it had been grow, grow, grow, to then, within a couple weeks, to a complete standstill. The hospitality industry was hit the hardest. Everybody was laid off.

So, I was laid off and, for me, it was a great opportunity to pause and think about what I really wanted and what I was really looking for. I believe in always evolving your skills, so I started a certificate program with UI/UX.

The user experience goes hand in hand with branding and because that’s a growing field, I started to study that with the downtime that came with COVID (along with baking sourdough bread!)

From there, I looked for a safe industry to get into and so I ended up working for the healthcare industry. I got a marketing job in that industry, but I think it was always sort of more like a stepping stone in a sense. I was grateful for the opportunity, but then they ended up wanting me to come back full-time into the office.

And I got a dog during COVID, and I can’t leave her, so that wasn’t going to work! I really do enjoy working from home so that was an opportunity for me to look for other jobs to continue working remotely.

So, Designity seemed like a great fit because I was looking for something remote, something cutting-edge, and something that would let me continue to dabble in different industries.

Q. What is your favorite kind of project to take on?

Another sample of Sitara's work for a brochure.

Brand development and logo design for sure.

I think a lot of customers don’t understand the value of laying the foundation for their company. A lot of time they try to skip through that, and it ends up creating issues later if they don’t take the time to lay that foundation.

Q. Any special reason?

There’s a reason I fell in love with logo design and brand development. 

I feel like even though my initial degree was in graphic design, I really always had the ability to not just look at art but look at art and its purpose.

Fine arts is making things look pretty, but graphic design? It’s giving everything a purpose. There’s a business objective and there’s a purpose behind your decisions, it’s about creating consistency and the psychology behind it. That’s always been really fascinating to me.

Two quotes I love are: 

"Creative without strategy is called “art.” Creative with strategy is called “advertising."

— Jef I. Richards

"Brand is the holistic sum of customers’ experiences, composed of visual, tonal and behavioral brand components, many of which are shaped by interaction design."

— Kate Kaplan

Q. What is your favorite part about working with Designity?

Sample of logo and branding work for Tenjin AI.

I believe it's such a rapidly growing field we’re working in, every year things change, and you just have to always keep up to date with the changes. That’s something I love about working for Designity is we’re always up on the latest trends, the latest software, the latest everything.

I’ve always been a big believer in that you have to continually evolve.

As a Creative Director, I like that I still get to keep that customer-facing side of things and I am also able to be creative myself and work with other creatives.

I also love that everyone here at Designity has unique names! Everywhere I used to go, I would stand out like a sore thumb with my name. But here, every other person has an interesting international background story like mine, so I feel a sense of belonging!

Q. What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Definitely spending time with my family and my dog! 

Also, I love yoga. Hot yoga, I don’t like cold yoga, it’s gotta be hot. And going to the spa, sauna, and the beach, spending time with family, and drinking black tea.

I’m definitely a foodie, so I do enjoy good food.

<div class="c-blog_comp-cta cc-component-2"><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-left"><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-left-wrap"><img src="https://global-uploads.webflow.com/61cdf3c5e0b8155f19e0105b/63695243d096983691046ac3_Potential-Creative.png" loading="lazy" alt="" class="c-blog_comp-cta-left-img"></div></div><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-right cc-dark"><div class="c-blog_comp-content"><div class="c-text-wrapper cc-mb-32"><div class="c-title-4 cc-bold"><strong>Like to work as a freelancer with consistent income?</strong></div></div><div class="c-text-wrapper"><div class="c-text-2">Designity's collaborative model is designed to give you all of the perks of being a freelancer without the income instability.<br></div></div></div><div class="c-blog_comp-wrapper"><a href="http://designity.com/creatives" target="_blank" class="c-button w-button"><strong>Join Our Creative Community</strong></a></div></div></div>

Q. Do you have any words of inspiration for future Creatives or Creatives wanting to become Creative Directors?

There’s a lot of pressure nowadays for Creatives to be versatile, and it’s good to be versatile, but be sure you become an expert in at least one or two areas on a deeper level. 

Aside from investing time into advancing your technical skill set, be sure to also dedicate time into soft skill training to improve your interpersonal, critical thinking, and communication skills. Most hiring managers are looking for candidates that offer a good mix of both.

Lastly, find your tribe, find your niche, and, if you work remotely, be sure to strive for a healthy work-life balance and establish boundaries that allow you to do your best work.

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About the author:
Sara Lopez
Sara is a Texas-based copywriter.
Interested in content collaboration? Email at press@designity.com
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