Creative Encounter // Sarita Mann

We are super excited to be launching this new part of our blog - Creative Encounter - where we talk to creatives of all types, both locally and afar. This is something we are passionate about and is one of the main driving forces behind starting this blog. In addition to our love for exploring, sourcing and sharing creative inspiration, we are passionate about sharing experiences with other creatives and hearing about what makes them tick. It is always so exciting to talk to individuals who live an inspired life and absolutely love what they do! To see someone talk about their passion is truly inspiring. Today we talk to the lovely Sarita Mann, a graphic designer and illustrator based in Vancouver. She's talented, full of gusto and loves a good bike ride as much as the next guy (or girl).

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1. Tell us a little bit about what you do and what you love the most about being a designer?
My name is Sarita Mann and I am the owner and creator of Sarita Mann Design Studio - a mobile studio that packs into my backpack perfect for the on-the-go creator. I design paper goods, mostly greeting cards but this year I’m coming out with all new product. I get to draw and dream up new ideas all day everyday! Crayola doodles for life!

I am a dreamer. Collector of friends and good humans. Supporter of community and collaboration. Stationer. Illustrator. A self-taught graphic designer based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Lover of paper, puppies, bike rides, cars and motorcycles. I have a background in Architecture, Fine Arts and Bio Sciences. Yes, I’ve been in school forever.

What I love most about being a designer is that I get to put my own spin on things and showcase my point of view. I’ve designed a playful line of greeting cards which capture a youthful spirit with a simple aesthetic, true to my personal design philosophy nurtured from my Architecture and Fine Art studies. The best part is I am my own boss! I make all the rules and break them when I feel they aren’t serving me or my brand anymore. Playing entrepreneur and designer sometimes clashes but I’m learning to balance with a great support network of other creatives and business owners.

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2. What inspires you and your work?
I’m inspired by my friends and other people's success. I feel success isn’t a competition and sharing is caring. You’ll hear me say this often if you follow me online. I love meeting talented makers and designers to discuss their projects, new and old, or possible collaborations. I hope to keep the ‘community’ aspect alive in my work as I did with my Kickstarter campaign, Send Sarita To The Stationery Show In NYC.

For the sake of semantics, my work is inspired by all things designed. To clarify, I have mad respect for the fashion industry, colour trends for the year and I have to say I absolutely admire the vintage classic car and motorcycle culture. There is a lovely story behind the labour of love for every single restored vehicle. Growing up with two younger brothers, it’s no surprise that I have a soft spot for cars and motos. You’ll quickly notice these two obsessions in my illustrations.

And as cliche as it sounds I’m also inspired by my everyday surroundings, sometimes seeing a kid playing with a bubble gun means sparking a sweet new card idea.

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Photography by Rebecca McColgan

3. What does a typical day look like?
That’s hard to say because it’s different everyday, however, I start my day with a fresh to-do list or one I drafted the night before. I try to sneak in a highlight or two of my day to gram or tweet about. It’s important for me to engage with my online community to keep the momentum rolling and share my experiences. That way, I am a reflection of my work.

I feel that as an entrepreneur not only am I working all hours but I’m juggling all aspects of my business, everything from designing, social media, etc. I’ve already started to receive summer internship requests and while I’m not yet able to hire an intern I’m hopeful for the day when my little design venture is sustainable enough to do so. A random day off usually serves me well. I might make a date with a friend or just wander in the city to escape the computer screen and collect new ideas.

Somedays I’m focused purely on designing and responding to emails so I’m 100% plugged into my laptop. Scheduling a break to go for a bike ride or even just sit outside in the sun keeps me disciplined and focused. Other days you’ll find me working on product shots or processing orders. I even sneak in a fun photo session with a friend should the opportunity arise, the latest being my Kickstarter goal series I did with my photographer friend John Bello. That was a fun day.

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4. When I'm not designing I am…
Going on a gallery hop with my friends (I can’t wait to get back at it after the NSS Show. The show prep took over my life!), checking out new restaurants and cafes, riding my bike around town or hosting events and parties like a samosa-making party, or a movie mob. The latest one was Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and man was that a fun time to see everyone come out. We filled up an entire row with like-minded designers, creatives and local business owners from Vancouver.

5. Describe your creative space
I feel lucky that my creative space is ever-changing. Most days I work from home jamming to a playlist, anything from rock, hip hop to slow jam. Basically whatever can set the mood and keep me plugged into my work. I tend to work on Adobe Illustrator for 3-7 hrs straight concentrating on a few designs at any given time.

Sometimes I like to change it up and you can often find me at a local cafe or a park bench with a sketchbook, my trusty Macbook Pro and maybe dSLR camera. My personal favourite though is walking around town with a friend brainstorming about new design ideas, upcoming events and possible collaborations. Most recently I’ve been working with my friend Cory to keep one another in check with our current projects. We have meetings every so often and hash out problems we are having with our work and share contacts over a coffee or a meal.

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6. Right now I am most excited about…
Right now I am most excited about my Kickstarter campaign. If you are familiar with Kickstarter you know that it is an all-or-nothing crowd-funding campaign. After the initial few days of campaigning, I decided that I was going to exhibit at the show regardless of achieving my goal of raising $18,000. Of course it would be so rewarding to achieve my target goal but I’ve worked so hard dreaming up my booth design I really just need to go do my thing at The National Stationery Show this May 18-21! My crate along with all the fix-ins are on their way to NYC and will arrive this Friday. We get 2 days to install and 4 days to exhibit our work followed by a day to take it all down and pack up. It’s a huge deal and as a first time exhibitor I’m looking forward to networking with new clients and peers alike and showcase my designs in my custom-made booth.

I’m totally biased, but I have to say my campaign video is probably my favourite collaborative project thus far. Mike Babiarz did an amazing job filming/editing to reflect my character, personality, brand as well as my core values and it was fun art directing with him.

So show Sarita some love - 4 days to go!

Photography by John Bello and Sarita Mann Design Studio