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I'm Cruz Lien, a graphic designer from Orange County, CA who lives and breathes design. I am a Taurus with a mellow side haha. I hold a design degree from California State University Long Beach with a Marketing minor and view design from a creative director's vantage point rather than an of a graphic designer.
I have over five years of experience working as an in-house designer and run my apparel/lifestyle brand Sintra7. Sintra7 is inspired by my time spent on the road in Thailand and Europe. Sintra7 creates apparel for the road less travelled and emphasizes a think less / feel more motto.
Graphic Design to me is a gateway to someone's vision, and I enjoy the creative process that comes with bringing a client's vision to life. I aim to visually represent the strengths of individuals and companies with a unique approach and angle.
I enjoy working with a creative team in the US setting and have also worked with clients from Europe, India, Asia, and Canada. Through my travels, I have been able to adapt cultures and see into their perspective allowing my design aesthetic to adapt to create for cultures from many different locations.
Would you like to complete our full Editorial interview or skip straight to uploading your photos? (12 more interview questions).
Our readers would love to get to know you more Cruz. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you?
I feel I am an ambivert. It's a phrase I came across a couple of months back when out a networking event. An ambivert likes to hangout with friends but also likes their alone time to cultivate their inner visions. I think we are all ambiverts in a way.
Cruz, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Designer?
I want to be remembered and leave what I create behind. I am passionate about promoting freedom for a life you don't have to live. With all the avenues in today's world, we can be whatever we want to be. I feel branding allows for open space, a blank canvas to help individuals succeed and create their vision.
Who is your inspiration in life Cruz? How do you keep inspired?
I feel inspiration is all over if we just take a look around. My grandpa, or Papa as we all called him, was and still is my greatest inspiration. I make weekly goals, and I constantly look for knowledge or wisdom from books. Writers like Ralph Emerson and Alan Watts come to mind.
We all make mistakes Cruz; we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Designer, you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
This is very true; we are all human. I've made many mistakes, but feel they aren't true mistakes if you learn and grow from them. One of my first clients as a freelance brand designer happened with a woman starting a yoga-cycling studio. I approached the job with an open mind but overwhelmed the client with some of the ideas I had presented since they were off-topic. It ended up confusing the client, and the vision for the job was unclear from then on. I learned to alter my approach and listen intently to the client always.
Cruz , when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Designer, how do you go about prioritizing your clients’ needs?
As a Branding specialist, I approach having a large number of clients as if they are my only client when I am working on their specific requests/projects. I allow a certain amount of time for that client than I switch gears and direct my focus to the next client. Each client gets my best work in this way, and I keep a constant tracking list of my clients and the level their project is at throughout the process.
Please tell us, Cruz, about a time you had to be very strategic to meet all your top priorities as a Designer?
When I first started posting jobs on Fiverr, an online design platform for buyers/sellers, I was pleasantly surprised to have clients respond right away. I said yes to all clients and realized I had a large number of clients, so time management needed to be on point to complete the projects. I approached it like a server in a restaurant which has six tables and wants every table to have a great dining experience. I took my steps with each client and communicated with them intensely to respond to their feedback and get a quick turn-around. That was a very creative flow time!
Cruz, please give us an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
I recall a time while working as an in-house designer at a marketing firm in Long Beach, CA. The project manager had a certain design look and felt she wanted to be applied to all clients. A new client, health and wellness centre, needed a new logo and I realized the style they were looking for was outside of the project manager's vision. I met with her and explained my new logo concepts and that they would convey wellness and peace. I told her after researching that this new company was interested in conveying those aspects as part of their branding. The project manager trusted me, and we ended up with a satisfied client.
Cruz, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Designer. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want with share to everyone. What is it and why?
Great Question. The proudest moment for me so far was when I launched my apparel company Sintra7 since it is my first company and I enjoy sharing that story and vision with everyone. Sintra7 is a part of me and represents me, so I am very proud of its beginnings.
Cruz, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
For me, the greatest gift is to be able to bring creativity to something that originally didn't have it. As a branding specialist, our job is to creatively change the way a company or client is represented. I think creativity is a part of each day, just depends on how everyone looks at their moments.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Designer?
Follow your passions and do your best to put yourself in your client's shoes. And most importantly, have fun with it because that's what it is all about.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Yes, I am always open to collaborations. Graphic design, Apparel design, and anything creative I would be open to discussing.