We had the good fortune of connecting with Angie Cibis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Angie, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
It was sudden – or at least, it seemed that way. One day I found myself driving to my lucrative but increasingly frustrating in-house design job, shocked that the idea of going solo suddenly felt RIGHT – a stark comparison to fifteen years of refusing to entertain such a risky idea. However, I’d increasingly felt antsy to get home to work on freelance projects, where I had greater autonomy to work with clients on a range of projects directly and a lot more efficiently. By that point, I’d built up an extensive skill set and a good reputation and found myself thinking, “if not now, when?”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Based on client feedback, what’s unique is my ability to design from “both sides of the brain,” bringing practicality and professionalism to the table just as much as creativity. I also have a BA in graphic design and a MA in psychology, which gives me extra insight into consumer behavior and even client/creative relationships. For example, it can be difficult to steer a client away from decisions that I know from experience are likely to derail a project, but ultimately I feel it’s a matter of integrity to try. And while I love when clients share examples and ideas, they don’t need a designer if they’ve already determined exactly how something should look. It’s like coming into a restaurant and handing the chef your recipe – at minimum, it’s going to be a little awkward. I think this sort of blurring of roles happens often in creative fields. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, but I do occasionally still find myself searching for a better way to say “I’ve been doing this for 20 years straight. Hear me out. Help me help you.”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I really love supporting local businesses which is incredibly easy in Los Angeles, even in a pandemic thanks to outdoor destinations and restaurants with delivery and takeout. A trip to Jar on Beverly is a necessity. Everything is delicious but the butterscotch pudding is mindblowing. I’ve tried to make it, failed miserably, and know now to leave it to the experts. Yuko Kitchen on Wilshire is a little gem for super fresh food and atmosphere (also with incredible desserts) and I’ve yet to taste chicken makhani that’s better than at Anarkali on Melrose. In terms of sightseeing, a day trip to Catalina Island is a great idea. It simultaneously feels very Southern California and a million miles away. Descanso Gardens is also a really beautiful destination any time of year. The Lilac Grove is my favorite spot. The Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar is really unforgettable – my husband and I actually combined their package allowing visitors one-on-one animal interaction with our elopement! Since concerts are one of my favorite things in life, I recommend seeing a show at The Greek or Hollywood Bowl once the opportunity presents itself. Splurgeworthy: a helicopter tour over Los Angeles. Even as a resident, there’s really nothing like seeing the coastline, Hollywood Hills, or downtown from above. Just make sure you turn off the time/date stamp on your camera before you take a thousand pictures. Don’t ask me how I know; let’s just say I’m glad I’m good at retouching photos. 😉
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I adore acclaimed designer Bonnie Siegler’s book “Dear Client: This Book Will Teach You How to Get What You Want from Creative People,” articulating and deconstructing some of the challenges common to client/creative partnerships and how to overcome them. More recently, she also wrote “Signs of Resistance: A Visual History of Protest in America” has spoken on the topic of visual activism and dissent. As someone with my own stack of homemade protest signs, I’m inspired by creatives who unapologetically use their talents for the greater good. I’ve done a lot of pro-bono work with progressive causes over the past few years which has been really fulfilling and fun. My favorite artist is Jenny Holzer.