Cafe Notes is a recurring series featuring interviews with Cafe Notes + Company collaborators, personal stories + coffee shop musings.
I've known Sarah Ringer for about a year now, and working together for this collection of cards was fantastic. She is thoughtful, creative and her design aesthetic is fresh and young. We were able to meet up at Bump 'n Grind for a cup of coffee and a chat about writing, design and coffee shop preferences!
How do you take your coffee?
Black with a few drops of maple syrup.
Do you have a go-to coffee shop that you like to visit?
Recently I visited this one place called Artifact Coffee. It’s in this really old building where they revamped the inside and it has stone walls, cool wooden tables and a small set of people working there. They have small portions of food, but they have this one PBJ+Fluff sandwich that is the best thing ever. That sandwich is amazing. But what I look for in a cafe is atmosphere and a really small cove or nook you can go into and get away from all the craziness.
What do you think of letter writing and sending cards as a form of communication?
I think it’s great. I think that writing your emotions and feelings onto a card, it’s relieving.
It's kind of like writing in a journal, releasing your feelings onto paper, but you're letting someone else know your emotions and I think that's really inspiring
In what way are you most comfortable making and maintaining connections with people?
I’m really bad at it, I’ll just say that. I’m really bad at keeping up with friends because, you know, it’s work keeping up with everyone! But I would say calling is important, going out for coffee, going to an event together. I like that more than getting on the phone, because that way you can gauge each other’s emotions much better than on phone. I need to be better at it [we all do, don't feel bad!] I also think it’s hard for me because I’m an introvert, haha.
If you could send a card to anyone who would it be and why?
I would send it to my grandmother even though she lives 10 minutes away I know she would appreciate it greatly. I would say we are a family that holds onto cards for awhile. During any big holidays, my mom tapes all the cards we received on a door that way we can always take a glance at the heartfelt messages.
When was the last time you received a card?
My birthday. Like I said, my whole family - they’re card people. And they want me to hold on to them forever, but I never do. Not unless they are really important and have a really good message in them. I absolutely love receiving them, I just don’t know what to do with them. My mom puts Christmas ones up on the wall, but I just need to find a new venue once I’ve received one. They are definitely more meaningful than getting an email, which is why cards are still around, there is just the challenge of what to do with it afterwards.
How do you feel technology has influenced the way we communicate with each other?
I feel like it’s good and it’s also bad. The younger people these days, it’s kind of made them resort to just getting on the phone and texting or calling rather than actually meeting in person. But on the other hand you can talk to anyone across the world, so it goes both ways. It’s bad but it’s also good.
So when did you become interested in becoming a graphic designer?
It’s going to sound like Kristen’s story a bit. Originally I took a class outside of the normal curriculum in high school and learned bakery and pastry chef skills. I was set on that direction because I loved cooking. I started to get kind of bored with that so I went into fashion. The school I was looking at, and ended up going to, covered fashion merchandise, but didn’t teach actual hands-on sewing. It did, however, offer design classes so I decided to try graphic design. I wasn’t totally full in, but luckily I got into it and that’s how I got started!
Is there a project that you've worked on that has resonated with you?
A project that really sticks out to me and that I learned a lot from, was a project I worked on with Matthew. It was my first website and I learned layout, the proper text sizes, how to place images and all the rest that goes into it. That whole learning experience made me realize one day I want to go into web design and designing applications because there are so many possibilities and so many interactions; you can really affect people’s view and feelings. You can have fun playing around with it too: the different colors and photos, there is just so much you can do! Plus, it was great learning from Matthew who has a lot of experience in that department and he gave me clear direction so it was fun. It was just a really great experience.
As a graphic designer you spend a lot of time working with technology, do you find it important to unplug?
YES. Big caps yes. I think it’s very important to unwind. If you don’t work is all you do and you fully focus on that and nothing else. When I need to get away I hike and get outdoors.
Hiking lets you get away from everything because there is no service so no phone and no computers. When you're hiking you just don't think of anything, you just go. I think that's a great way of freeing your mind completely.
Is making a career out of a creative profession difficult?
I don’t find it hard. I feel like there are a lot of different avenues you can take as a graphic designer. And there are a lot of options on how you want to apply your degree: in house, agencies, etc. It’s just really competitive. You have to have a really big skill set and be really be impressive. And there is pressure to be constantly adding to your skill set, but personally I think it’s good to always be learning.
Do you have specific environments, places or people that you go to for inspiration?
Open spaces. Open spaces with windows where a lot of light comes through. I also love coffee shops: I kind of hide in a nook and zone out with a nice cup of coffee. Otherwise, a nice big desk and all my materials around me. It’s not likely that this perfect set up will actually happen, but that’s my dream. I would definitely say getting out of doors is an inspiration on it’s own too. Also, there is this designer, Aaron Draplin, he’s got a really cool website where he has all these logos and posters that he’s done and it’s a different kind of thing that you haven’t seen before so it’s nice to go there for a fresh outlook.