Meet Sondra Zalewski.
Sondra Zalewski started her company designz while freelancing for several small design studios. The idea was to gain project diversity, and creative control, while allowing more time to raise a family. (Note to self: raising kids will suck ALL the time from your life… but, it’s totally worth it.)
designz provides services to start-up companies, sole proprietorships, and small corporations. The work includes everything from an initial company logo to a capability brochure, website or trade show banner. The flexibility of a suburban home office and the ability to bring on extra creatives or techies as needed allows designz to handle various sized projects. This is the studio’s strength—work can be tailored to a client’s needs. Sondra believes that every business deserves a professional voice no matter their budget.
And now, the 12 Questions:
1. What kind of kid were you?
Very engaged and creative. I was always drawing, especially making cards for relatives. While I was somewhat shy in public, I was putting on performances at home and generally being quite outspoken.
2. What influences have shaped you?
I had debilitating back problems from car accidents years ago that involved lots of physical therapy. It forced me to slow down and take stock in the important things in life. Creative types get passionate and tenacious about their work which often leads to a workaholic lifestyle. Someone once told me, “Moderation is the excess.” In other words, trying to do a bit of everything is just as challenging, and often more rewarding, than doing too much of one thing. I strive for that in my life.
My creative influences came mostly in college while working at the RIT Cary Library. I had the pleasure of organizing ephemera from great type masters such as Hermann Zapf. I was also fortunate to attend a lecture by Paul Rand a few years before his death. I’ve always been fascinated by the way he “signed” his design pieces. Our society tends to think if you create ads you’re no longer an artist.
3. Ever done anything really dumb?
How much time do you have?
4. How’d you learn to do what you do?
I took art and design classes starting in high school. Then I studied graphic design as an undergrad at Rochester Institute of Technology followed by a masters of science there in print media. With the speed of technology, there is still much to learn today.
5. What are you working on now?
A new logo for a local library that has expanded into a new space.
6. Walk us through a typical day at work.
Email catch-up and sorting while I wake up followed by a few productive work hours mid-day. This is interrupted by my kids arriving home from school and typically requiring my role switch to a taxi cab driver. I get back to work again in the evening as I tend to be a creative night owl.
7. Who do you love?
My supportive husband and two children who keep me focused on the truly important things in life.
8. What are you passionate about?
Social equality in the world. I take this philosophy into my job by trying to give non-profits the same high level of work as corporations.
9. What are you proudest of?
My kids and the unique individuals they have become. They both have artistic talent and I like to think, at the very least, that part came from me.
10. Describe a great night out.
Delicious meal at a boisterous restaurant followed by a live band.
11. So what’s next for you?
While I really enjoy my design work, I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book and feel it’s time to get that underway.
12. What will your epitaph say?
Hopefully something funny.