Member Spotlight: Steven
At Humans.net, we appreciate our community of skilled members! For our next Member Spotlight, we sat down with Steven Saragian, a graphic designer and an owner of a design service Fire in the Mind Design. Read about his approach to small business and advice for younger creatives staring on their jouney.
HUMANS: Please tell our community a bit more about yourself!
STEVEN: I run a design service, Fire in the Mind Design, with the current focus on graphic design for marketing material and long-form document layout. The great thing about this line of work is that I get to work with such a diverse range of people. I have done projects with people working on medical technology, drilling experts, artists, social application developers, digital marketers, book authors, people just starting their businesses and people working in the not-for-profit sector.
I started my creative career by doing digital photo restoration, but over time I transitioned more of my work into the graphic design. After working on a book a couple of years ago, I realized how much my work thrived from working with a lot of material. Working with a lot of text, charts, and infographics requires a lot of careful detail and discipline. This is something that probably carried over from all of the digital photo restoration work that I was doing early in my career.
HUMANS: How did you decide to pursue a career in design?
STEVEN: There was nothing particularly interesting that drew me into design work at first. I have a good eye for detail and the barriers to entry were relatively low, but I would not be stuck with a very long if those were the only reasons. It was the design process itself that really made me decide to pursue it as a career. The design process is a really interesting, nonlinear, process that starts with you getting as much information as you can about what you are designing and generating a lot of ideas. As you generate ideas and refine those ideas, you understand what you are doing more as you go. Until eventually, from all the possible ideas, you are left with one final product. It is true, even when I am working on projects with very obvious outcomes like book interiors. The design processes are not quite like anything else and that is why wanted to pursue design professionally.
HUMANS: Why did you go with starting your own small business instead of working for bigger brands?
STEVEN: I have considered working for bigger brands in the past, but in the end, I’ve never made the move. One of the things that keep me from making that move is that I enjoy working with clients too much to go into that corporate environment. As an independent small business, I get to work really closely with people and learn about what they do in a way that I would not be able to if I were part of a large firm or in-house design team. It also gives me the opportunity to work with people and a lot of different industries, so I am conceptually challenged in a way that I might not be if I were working on the same account all the time.
HUMANS: What‘s the source of your daily inspiration?
STEVEN: My most consistent source of inspiration comes from talking to other people. It can be difficult to meet with friends and colleagues when deadlines are coming up and you have a backlog of long-term projects. That being said, whatever I am running up against the creative block, it is usually their fresh takes on an idea that gives me new insights on how to approach a problem.
HUMANS: Can you remember an instance when your services or your creations have truly impacted the customer’s life?
STEVEN: To some extent, all the work that I do has some impact on the lives of my clients, but there is one in particular that stands out in my memory. This was during that period of time when my focus was moving away from digital photo restoration and towards graphic design for advertising. There was a mother whose son had been murdered in the weeks prior who contacted me in the hopes that I could design something to honour her son. I developed a composite photograph along with some particular text that she found meaningful. This was a fairly small project and perhaps not the most interesting in terms of the design process, but that project had an emotional weight that my later work has not rivalled.
HUMANS: What is the best advice you can give young designers and creatives starting on their journey?
STEVEN: It is really easy to cloister yourself and think that you have to do everything yourself as a great professional. There is this idea of the “Creative Genius” that haunts people’s imaginations and that they should know everything they need to know to make the project work. In my experience, that is the worst thing that someone can do if they work in the creative field. You should really try to surround yourself with people who you find it interesting and dynamic because those people will have a lot of influence on your creative process. Your clients will often know a great deal more about a particular subject matter then you will to learn how to draw information out of them early on in the project.
To learn more about Steven and his enterprises, visit his profile:
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