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Inspiring Conversations with Lisa Sirbaugh of Lisa Sirbaugh Creative

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Sirbaugh. 

Hi Lisa, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
My love for design began in my hometown of Toronto, Canada. During high school, I interned at a print shop, which luckily for me, turned into a real job while I went to college. After graduating with honors from George Brown College’s graphic design program I landed a junior design position at a publication design firm. After a few years of working hard and putting in the time, I moved my way up. Around that time, I started freelancing as a side-gig to diversify the scope of work and clientele in my portfolio. In 2004 I moved to the U.S. and continued as an art director in publication design before making the move to a studio that offered more opportunities and a wider spectrum of design work. 

My passion for strategic branding and conceptual design drove me to launch Lisa Sirbaugh Creative in 2015. I wanted to collaborate one-on-one with clients, and develop thoughtful, strategic solutions that are the best fit for their businesses and brands. It was important for me to have ownership over the creative in order to make the quality of work, and the process behind it, the priority. Since launching, I’ve had the pleasure of working with incredible people across a multitude of industries, from regional and national, to international brands—including food and beverage, health and beauty, home and garden, real estate, arts and entertainment, finance and investment, government, institutional, and non-profit organizations. I value the trust that they put in Lisa Sirbaugh Creative with their brands and I’m incredibly proud of the work that we’ve developed together. 

Being involved in my community through volunteerism and pro-bono work has been important to me throughout my life. I’ve been actively involved with the American Advertising Federation (AAF) in numerous capacities, including serving on the board of directors at the local level and as a co-chair of the American Advertising Awards for AAF District Two, Advertising Club of New York, and AAF-Greater Frederick. I’ve also had the honor to be a part of various public service initiatives for incredible non-profits and national military service aid programs. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I was incredibly fortunate when I started my business. With the support of family, friends, peers, and perhaps a little word-of-mouth, I hit the ground running, having secured a handful of clients right from day one. Along the way my client base and partnerships have grown, for which I’m grateful—each of them are truly incredible to work with. 

With that said, there have of course been challenges. One that I faced was the ‘business side’ of business. Before launching my own studio—aside from my freelance gig—I worked for someone else my entire career. While I was at those firms I only ever had to worry about the creative side of the business. If I was going to launch my own studio and make it successful, I had to dive into the business side and all that it entails. As any sole proprietor will tell you, “You have to manage it all.” I had to learn to balance creative direction and graphic design with all the other positions: project manager, studio manager, social media director, webmaster, bookkeeper, sponsorship director, new and continued business development management—the list goes on and on. Each had to run like a well-oiled machine, but when I started, some of those tasks didn’t come first-hand to me. Fortunately, I was determined and eager to learn the skills needed to make those areas run smoothly and successfully. No doubt, there has been some trial and error along the way—all of which has helped the studio, and myself, to improve and grow. I continue to research and develop new strategies on how to run things better, more efficiently, and how to best time manage it all. 

What continues to be my biggest challenge is the work-life balancing act. Just like all entrepreneurs, I invest countless hours into my business, the quality of work developed in the studio, and in turn, my clients. Shutting down mentally and physically to recharge the batteries, making time for family and friends, and going on those much-needed vacations, is so important—for the business and for one’s self. And just like all entrepreneurs, it’s easier said than done, but I’m working on it. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Lisa Sirbaugh Creative is a multi-disciplinary branding and graphic design studio based in historic downtown Frederick, Maryland. I provide a spectrum of creative services, from full-scope branding, rebranding, logo, and visual identity suite design, to a wide variety of print, digital, and packaging design. As a strategic partner to my clients, the focus is on elevating and empowering their businesses by framing their brands for success. It all begins with thoughtful strategy, purposeful creativity, and exceptional craft. 

Our community plays host to many talented creative agencies, firms, and studios, each unique in their own right. One aspect that differentiates us, is the people behind the company name—the creatives behind the work. The same holds true for Lisa Sirbaugh Creative. I’m the sole creative director, designer, and strategic partner for each and every one of my clients. Our one-on-one collaborative partnership not only ensures clarity of business objectives and brand alignment, but it also keeps project development targeted to established goals. I’m also diligent about the amount of work that I take on at any given time. In order to maintain a high level of quality work and achieve client goals, it’s essential to commit the necessary time to the creative process and execute meticulously. 

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