What Is A Day Like In The Life Of A Design Director?
Hello, friends! I’m Meredith Cancilla, Founder and Design Director of Quixotic Design Co., a remote design agency centered around building female-owned brands. I work with almost all of our clients remotely (with a few lovely Sacramento locals that I have the pleasure of meeting in person) to design custom brand, package and web design solutions. From consultation call to finished deliverable, I work one-on-one with clients to build their dream brands.
My focus is on great design, brand strategy, and supporting women-owned businesses. I believe design can do more than just look good – it can truly maximize your brand’s potential. When I work with brands, I like to look at the business as a whole so I can understand their mission. Good design doesn’t work without a great concept, and the concept comes from knowing and understanding the client on a deeper level.
I work with a small team (couldn’t do this without them!) and manage all of our client projects, social content, communication, marketing and business/admin tasks (there’s probably more that I’m forgetting, but small-business owner brain is REAL).
My journey in this business is ever-evolving, and my role continues to change over the years, but I’m truly enjoying every second of it (OK, maybe not the admin stuff, haha). I’m learning as we go, and feel privileged to work with so many incredible women-owned businesses along the way.
Want to see what a day is like in the life of a Design Director? Keep reading!
7:00 a.m. – Wake up, drink a huge glass of water, feed the kitty and immediately shove that little pod into the Nespresso machine and wait patiently. I try to get up semi-early so I have time to read a book (right now I’m reading “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng) with my coffee before jumping into the workday.
8:15 a.m. – Normally, my husband and I would head to the gym for a quick workout (I’m addicted to the Sweat app) right about now, but since we’re staying home for a while, we’ve been implementing some at-home workouts like Tabata circuits.
9:15 a.m. – Cue second espresso of the day! Hop in the shower, perhaps bring coffee in said shower (I swear it’s not that weird), and get ready for the day.
9:30 a.m. – Sit down with breakfast (usually oatmeal or avocado toast) and dive deep into that email inbox so I can respond to anything urgent.
10:00 a.m. – Check my calendar for today’s schedule, brief my assistant on anything we must tackle today, and make a list of top priorities for the day. I organize all of my project due dates in Wunderlist, an app that acts as a virtual to-do list that reminds you of important dates and even has little checkboxes for you to click when you finish a task (soooo satisfying).
10:30 a.m. – Client meetings begin. I take consultations, design reviews and design briefings from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This way, I have plenty of allotted time to focus on design projects, delegating tasks, and working on internal tasks for the business.
11:45 a.m. – Design work begins. At the moment, I’m working on a website redesign for Bossy Cosmetics, which includes around 10 pages that need to be outlined, designed, revised, and sent off for development.
1:45 p.m. – Eat lunch. I typically make something quick like a smoothie or soup and take a 30-minute break to read or watch home decor YouTube videos.
2:15 p.m. – Develop a logo suite (every logo file type in every color space) and brand identity guide (the all-encompassing document that walks a client through how to use their new brand assets like a pro) for It’s Peachy. This is by far the most time-consuming part of the brand identity process. I spend so much time perfecting the logo suite and brand identity guide so that clients use their brand pieces appropriately – which in turn, makes their business look more professional and makes our work look great. ;)
4:15 p.m. – Last client call of the day. On these consultation calls, we go over (in detail) our process for working remotely with clients (from proposal/contract to hand-off of finished deliverables) and hear all about the client’s business.
4:45 p.m. – Review the social media schedule that our lovely Kendall has planned for the next couple of weeks. Add comments to Trello for any revisions to feed posts, stories, blog posts, email blasts, etc.
5:30 p.m. – Ideate for a new brand identity due Friday. This is the stage where I take my notes from the design briefing call (where we go over preferences for all types of typography, color palettes, layouts and illustration styles) and sketch every idea I have (very, very roughly) in my small black notebook. This helps me get a concept on paper so I can assess what I want to take into the next step of the process: drafting the logos in Adobe Illustrator and illustrating emblems in Procreate.
6:45 p.m. – Sign off for the day and leave my laptop in my home office so I’m not tempted to hop back on. Start planning dinner (my husband and I like to do opposite tasks, so when I cook, he does dishes, etc.) and put on a good podcast while I cook (really into Jenna Kutcher right now – so many great tips for small businesses and entrepreneurs).
7:30 p.m. – Hubby gets home (sometimes if he’s early, he’ll insist we dance in the kitchen while dinner is finishing up), we sit down for dinner and talk about the good/bad parts of our days.
8:30 p.m. – Watch a few episodes of 30 Rock for a good and very necessary laugh
10:00 p.m. – Brush teeth, start million-step skincare routine, grab a book or crossword, and hop into bed
10:30 p.m. – Bedtime!
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