Member Spotlight is AIGA Pittsburgh’s monthly blog post to showcase a member. This is our chance to learn more about our members and for the community to learn more about each other.
1. Who are you?
My name is Rachel Arnold Sager and I’m a designer/illustrator working and living within the city of Pittsburgh. I enjoy learning new things and pushing my comfort zone. I drink decaf coffee and live and die by my To Do List. In my free time you’ll find me walking in the woods, devouring science documentaries, or exploring the city with my family.
2. What do you do for a living?
I currently own and operate Second Block, a design and illustration studio that focuses on document design, identity creation, infographics, and illustration. I also sell a line of colorful, gender-neutral art, apparel, and accessories for young children called 2468 Kids featuring my personal illustration work. Before my own company, I worked at an agency for 12 years.
3. Why did you get involved into the creative field?
I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by creatives my whole life. My mother dabbled in writing, music, painting, performing, and my dad is a creative problem-solver. I was always in some kind of art class, I sang in chorus, and I nearly pursued ballet as a major after high school. So I’ve always been involved with the arts. When I discovered that graphic design was a potential career, I had to pursue it. Design combines my love of visuals with my appreciation for clear communication. It’s a natural fit for me.
4. How do you find inspiration?
Instagram has exposed me to so many talented people around the world. There are so many amazing designers and illustrators working out there, and it’s a pleasure to see people grow and develop and play. Professional work is fun, but I really enjoy following other people’s personal projects since that usually allows for a bit more flexibility and experimentation. On the flip side, I also relish getting away from technology completely and getting outside. There’s always inspiration waiting for me when I’m outdoors.
5. What is your dream project?
Much of my professional work ends up being more restrained and corporate (which I love!), but I’ve been really thinking hard about something more free-flowing and wild – I’d love to do some fun, colorful textile design for children’s clothing and accessories. A children’s book would be really fun. I’d also LOVE to do a big loud mural in the next couple of years.
6. How do you get past creative blocks?
I get outdoors! Going for a walk is my favorite thing to do when I need any kind of recharge. Allowing my mind to wander while I stretch my legs and disconnect from the computer does wonders to give my mind the space it needs. A change of scenery offers perspective and I’m usually able to jump back into the work, fresh and ready to take off.
7. How and why did you get involved with AIGA?
I’ve met so many wonderful, interesting people through AIGA! The organization provides wonderful resources and programming for both students and veterans. And Pittsburgh is such a great community.
8. What is your favorite thing about Pittsburgh?
The people! The longer I live here, the more interconnected everyone seems. I’ve met so many people that are generous with their time, knowledge, and spirit. There is always room for improvement, but I made the conscious choice to stay here to build my livelihood and grow my family – I love it here.
9. What are your hobbies?
Since most of my work is done on the computer, I really enjoy working with my hands – painting, lettering, embroidery, sewing, home improvement, gardening. I’m really excited to try any kind of craft, even if I’m not very good at it. I’m always down for a science documentary, stargazing, or birdwatching… and I take a ballet class at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre whenever I can.
10. Advice to fellow creatives?
Expand beyond your comfort level! If it’s too difficult to do experimentation for client work, then stretch your boundaries doing personal projects. Serial personal projects have been integral to my development as an artist and creative – and have led to new work and enthusiasm for new passions.
Don’t be afraid to fail. We all miss the mark sometimes – those occasions are great opportunities to learn and are a part of everyone’s creative, professional, and personal development.
Listen… and be a good communicator. There can be a lot of noise in the course of any project; being able to convey and understand ideas clearly will help sort out some of the static and make everyone’s day so much better.
If interested in participating in the Member Spotlight or have any questions, reach out to our Membership Director, Laurel Strongosky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Become a member today!