Danielle McWaters
Creative Director / Graphic Designer / Founder of Designsake Studio

danielle-mcwaters.jpg

Danielle McWaters

Creative Director / Graphic Designer / Founder of Designsake Studio

San Francisco, CA

www.designsakestudio.com
Instagram @designsakestudio
Pinterest
Facebook.com/designsakestudio

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I’m a believer of design and its ability to create new connections and lasting impressions.

I am a creative director, graphic designer, and founder of Designsake Studio, a full-service design and branding studio, based in San Francisco. We believe that good design should be simple, purposeful, and authentic. Everything we do is for the sake of good design. Our clients come to us to elevate their brand by developing strategies & solutions to transform big ideas into stand out design.

 

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

I started my creative career 9 years ago as a photographer, then transitioned into graphic design where I have since been working with big and small companies on branding, packaging, and global advertising campaigns. In 2014, I left my position at Benefit Cosmetics after almost 6 years, and started Designsake Studio. I haven’t looked back since!

 

FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?

I can't say I spend too much time thinking about what others lack, but with regards to me, I'm a hustler. I live and breathe design all day everyday. Not because I have to, but because I get to. Each day, every client, and every brand is different, and that’s what makes me tick. The client’s needs, my expertise, paired with the talents on my team means there is nothing I won't take a stab at, problem solve, or challenge myself to learn. I never want to stop growing as a designer and as a person.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

I am working on a variety of projects at the moment! They’re really exciting. I recently launched a new website for a womenswear and clean beauty brand called Fjordlife based out of Toronto. I've also been working with Sufferfest Beer Company on their brand identity and product packaging. Lastly, I have been partnering with Topshop in London on some fun beauty projects. Depending on the type of project, I work with about 6-7 clients at any given time. 

 

WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?

To be honest I don't think I have a specific style. My overall design philosophy is: practice safe design, use a concept.

 

WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?

Packaging. It lead me to my passion for graphic design.

In my opinion, you can’t beat the experience of a well-designed package. I have always loved packaging design because of its tactile nature. When I buy a new package, maybe it’s a chocolate bar or a new beauty product, the anticipation of discovering what’s inside never gets old to me. Also, the tangible experience delivered by packaging creates an undeniable emotional connection between the consumer and the brand, resulting in better brand recall.

 

WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

Marking my expenses in Quickbooks. I know the importance of having my business’ back-end be healthy so I can continue to do this amazing work.  Also, not having enough hours in a day is always frustrating. There’s so much I want to do!

 

IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HOUR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

Hands down I would hire a Production Assistant. I could alway use another set of hands to help with mockups, sourcing materials, managing price quotes, etc.

 

LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

There will always people who want to see you fail. Shove them aside. Be kind. Work hard. Stay humble. Smile often. Speak Up. Keep honest. And never stop. 

 

IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

I am currently looking to take Designsake Studio to the next level and I would love to bring in someone to help create a roadmap to assist me in achieving our 2, 5 and 10 year goals. 

 

WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

All of the above: branding, packaging, and art direction projects in the beauty, fashion, food, and travel industries.
 
Some of my design bucket list projects include:
- Partnering with Amanda Jane Jones to art direct an issue of Define Magazine
- Design Bahen & Co chocolate packaging
- Any project that allows me to travel and/or live abroad 

 

WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT?

My ideal clients are those who embrace the creative process, are open to collaboration, show passion for their brand, and trust me to do my job. I invest a lot of time and energy into my clients because I genuinely want them to succeed! 

 

WHAT IS YOUR RATE? 

That’s a great question but truly every project is different. Whether it’s a brand identity or packaging project, the scope will vary. My process starts with a call to discuss the goals of the project, timeline, etc., and from there create a custom proposal based on the specific needs of the client.

 

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

Drop me a note: danielle@designsakestudio.com

 

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

Travel. Eat. Read. And stay curious.

 


This member profile was originally published in May 2016.