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Interview with Sara Mansour

Home > Designer Interviews > Sara Mansour

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Sara Mansour (SM) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Sara Mansour by clicking here.

Interview with Sara Mansour at Wednesday 23rd of April 2014

FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
SM: I graduated with a BA in graphic design at Dar Al Hekma University, with a honor of first degree for outstanding academic achievement. Art and design is what I am, and all I know. Since I was a toddler, I was told that my first form of action was grabbing a pencil and scribbling on every surface I could find. Since then, I have found my niche in life.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
SM: I am currently associated with Drive Dentsu a marketing and communication network servicing the MENA region. As part of the Dentsu Global Network. Working with clients such as: Lexus, Toyota, Bridgestone, & Jumeirah.

FS: What is "design" for you?
SM: I believe that design and the arts are the clearest form of communication. As Frederick R. Weisman once said: "I don't think there is anything that communicates better than art. It is quicker than language and clearer than philosophy”.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
SM: Illustration & branding.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
SM: “Drive-by Shooting: April Greiman Digital Photography”. For the last 20 years, April Greiman has been taking pictures filled with motion while sitting inside a moving car; and from that she created a magnificently moving video called ‘Drive-by Shooting’ (the imagery presented in the video were also exhibited in several galleries). Her purpose behind the images was to display the qualities of digital photography by revealing new kinds of form, composition, space, and time. As described in her ideology, “I now use digital cameras, not just as a source of imagery but as a gateway to yet another dynamic process hidden within the dna of the computer. Natural energy is transformed into images via the camera lens, these images are then transformed into pixels – into a parallel landscape of transformative digital energy. Grass becomes fur, solids become transparent, light becomes volume, an instant becomes an object of extended study. Material objects dematerialize into semi-transparent blurs in which foreground and background lose their former identity. In contrast, immaterial qualities of pure light and color take on unexpected substance and become ‘objects’ in their own right — streaks and washes of color develop an almost painterly presence equal to

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
SM: Tush Fush 2, a new addition to the original Tush Fush caricature book. This book displays the works and biographies of 8 Arab illustrators.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
SM: Adobe Illustrator.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
SM: At noon (during work hours) and at midnight (alone time for personal illustrations).

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
SM: Research and concept generation.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
SM: A certain thrill and self-fulfillment.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
SM: Excitement and gratefulness.

FS: What makes a design successful?
SM: Solid concepts and aesthetically appealing visuals (based on the target audience).

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
SM: Is it the right design for the brand and its target audience.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
SM: To also work with clients that giveback to society and the environment, such as ALJ- Abdul Latif Jameel Co. Ltd and SEDCO.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
SM: Last exhibition was held in 2013, Vision Senior Year Graphic Design Exhibition at Dar Al Hekma College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Hopefully, my next exhibition will be held at Broletto di Como, Como, Italy for the The A’ Design Awards exhibition of winning designs.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
SM: Reading books, watching movies, going through design websites and blogs, attending exhibitions, and meeting new people and most importantly designers.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
SM: Even though I am mostly known for my illustrative style of portraits, collaging, and rough sketching, my professional work has a life of its own. I strive to create diverse work through research and concept generation by solidifying the end result that encircles the myriad fields of graphic design, hoping to achieve my sense of purpose of becoming a well-rounded graphic designer.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
SM: I live in Saudi Arabia. As a Saudi living in Saudi Arabia, my cultural heritage greatly affected my design style from the preferred choice of language to the sense of humor that is incorporated in my personal designs. But of course, at this day and age no one can’t deny the influence of globalization and pop culture.

FS: How do you work with companies?
SM: I work in a company called DriveDentsu as a graphic designer.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
SM: Based on their portfolio. As the presented work of the designer should speak on his/her behalf.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
SM: 1.Read the brief. 2.Understand the client and brand. 3. Research (target audience, existing products) 4. Write notes 5. Create basic sketches. EXTRA STEP (6. Discuss with design team) 7. Produce 3 options. 8. Create a presentation. 9. Write a strong rational on all 3 directions. 10. Meet or send to client.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
SM: Adobe illustrator, pencil, sketchbook, Wacom tablet (sometimes), MacBook Pro.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
SM: I wake up everyday at 8 in the morning, take a 50-minute ride to work. As soon as I arrive, I turn on my computer and let it load while drinking a cup of tea. Work until 1 pm, go out for lunch with my colleagues (or work if there are any tight deadlines). Comeback at 3 and continue work. At 6:30-7 pm I go home and spend some quality time with my family until 10:30-11 pm. From then on I finally have some alone time to either watch missed shows, continue reading a book, or create personal illustrations that I usually end up posting on my instagram account.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
SM: Research, research, research! Work hard and believe in yourself.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
SM: Research, concept generation, and knowing your target audience.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
SM: By attaining the priorities first, and also maintaining a time based schedule of course.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
SM: It depends on the client, the brief, and the requirements.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
SM: Do you have to be a good illustrator to become a graphic designer?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
SM: During my internship as a student. Working on a project that took more of an artistic venture that our usual corporate design root. Creating multiple branding applications of Souk Okaz 6, an annual poetic and political platform where Arabs gather in the city of Taif.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
SM: Previous clients: Souk Okaz, Khotwa Magazine, Branding Garnish Restaurant, Tosh Fosh Caricature Book, Mohammed Monassar Alesa, Saudi Aramco. Current clients: Lexus, Toyota, Daihatsu, SEDCO, Virgin Megastore, Money Gram, ALJ- Abdul Latif Jameel Co. Ltd. Dar Al Tamleek, Barakat Jewellery.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
SM: I usually enjoy working on various types of designs to help me learn more and keep me motivated.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
SM: To gain as much work experience as possible before getting into a masters programme.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
SM: Varies depending on the project.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
SM: Working with Abdul Latif Jameel Auto Equipment Co. in launching a new mobility brand in Saudi Arabia. The launch will be a corporate social responsibility initiative under Abdul Latif Jameel targeting the handicapped. Utilizing the most prominent social media channels as a platform to inspire handicapped citizens by sharing their life stories and accomplishments, creating their own community filled with support and a sense of belonging. To inspire other handicapped individuals and their families to be optimistic and supportive. Also, giving perspective and inspiration to non-handicapped citizens who lost sense of purpose, giving them the ultimate motivation boost.

FS: How can people contact you?
SM: Through email: info@saramans.net


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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