Blog - Cotton Belt Press · Jun 26, 2015

Designer Spotlight: Get to Know Steph Zangeneh

1. What is your ideal creative environment?

Mornings in my home office where it’s peaceful and full of things I love: my HUGE beat-up “boss” desk, my grandpa’s Stetson and the rocks and crystals he collected, my mom’s artwork, my dad’s old fishing creel, cameras, books, photos of people I love, plants and succulents. All these things inspire me.

2. What is your favorite stage of your design/creative process?

When everything starts to flow seamlessly and the design comes together. It can be as simple as the turn of a letter or swapping out a graphic. I also love getting to know my clients and learning about them and their unique businesses. I especially love doing photo shoots with my clients because I get to see them in their environment.

A recent environmental portrait that Steph took of one of my current dream clients - Kate Bowman of Kate & Jubilee. Steph will be launching her branding and website this month.

3. Least favorite stage?

Sending out the first round of proofs! Even if I think they're brilliant. No matter how much experience I gain I still sometimes get that deep down fear that they won't like what I’ve created. So I always get nervous before that initial presentation, but 95% of the time it turns out great. ;)

4. Tell us about your work-life

When I’m working I tend to be very focused. I work work work so it’s important for me to schedule breaks. I am most creative in the mornings so I work from about 8 to 11:30am straight. I like to take a nice long break in the middle of the day so sometimes I’ll walk to my gym or the library. I then come back and work some more until about 5:30pm at which point I shut everything down. Just in time to have a nice glass of wine with my husband Alex.

5. How do you like handling the business/housekeeping side of your creative business?

Let’s just say it’s not my favorite aspect of owning my own business! I have an accountant that does my taxes but I need to find a bookkeeper or learn to do it myself. I currently use Freshbooks for quotes, invoices, tracking expenses, and payments. It’s easy to use and looks professional, I love it!

6. Tell us about your family

I live with my husband Alex and our 20 year old cat Biggie in our simple ranch style house in CA. Alex has been a huge support on my entrepreneurial adventure. It hasn’t been easy for either one of us but I couldn’t have started this journey without him. I’m very close to my family, we are a tight unit. They're just a good bunch of people that I would want to hang out with even if we weren’t related. I think growing up in such a loving environment is where I get a lot of my inner strength from. I know that they're always there for me.

7. What is your “new thing” (can probably be gleaned from what you are pinning lately)

Right now I’m very much into minimalistic modern jewelry design. I’ve always wanted to learn how to work with metal and make jewelry. Who knows, maybe that will be my next adventure! Design-wise I’m starting to offer wedding packages to my list of services which I’m really excited about!

8. What’s on your playlist right now

AC/DC, Lucius, Jurassic 5, Boney M, Tom Waits and Enya!

9. Adobe Creative Suite, favorite product?

I started my career in publishing doing editorial work so InDesign was my go-to for everything. Nowadays I’m really digging Photoshop and playing with actions while editing photos.

10. What is inspiring you lately

Lately I’ve been inspired by other women in business, both online and in-person. I’ve been reaching out, joining creative entrepreneurial groups and meeting lots of interesting people. It’s been particularly great connecting with people in my area that I didn’t even know existed!

11. When you aren’t designing and doing your creative field what can you most likely be found doing?

I'm usually hanging out with my husband, Biggie, my friends and my family. We've had a lot of loss this past year so I’m acutely aware of how precious our time together is. I’m thankful for what I have right here, right now. Alex and I also ride vintage motorcycles so any chance we can get out and take a ride together is awesome!

12. How do you define your design style? Has it evolved over time? Lastly, what would you say to someone struggling to find their design style/voice?

My design style is always evolving and changing. Currently it’s very bold, rich and saturated. Before that it was clean, white and minimal. I love both esthetics equally and use them in my designs regularly.

The best thing you can do to find your own style and voice is to listen to your heart and trust your gut. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing. But who wants to be like everyone else?! Think about what truly resonates with you deep down - what speaks to you? That is where you will tap into your own uniqueness an that is what the world wants to connect with.

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