Three Questions For: Arrate Zavala

AIGA SB is shining a spotlight on our membership in 2014 with our “Three Questions” series. Today’s superstar is Arrate Zavala, art director at BBM&D Strategic Branding in Ventura.

Arrate Zavala1) What’s your best advice for maintaining healthy, long-term working relationships with clients?
Listen. Listening and taking notes before committing to anything seems to work for me. I need to step away as a designer and see where the client is coming from. Thinking neutral is sometimes difficult to do, but it helps.

Sometimes I may not agree with certain changes the client requests so I always show them two options. The first option is doing my best job on what I think will work, and the second is doing everything exactly as they requested. Regardless of what they choose, I’m happy that I did my best, but about 90% of the time the client chooses my option. It’s a learning curve, but the more you can educate or tactfully guide the client through the process, the more they’ll trust you with their brand.

2) After designing all day at work, how do you find time or inspiration to create for fun?
I’m a very visual person so I tend to scan my surroundings and something always catches my eye. I may be standing in line at Starbucks, but in the meantime I’m looking for any novelty item at their shop. I take a memory note so when I have time I search it online and see how it carries their brand. After a while I tend to see trend consistencies within stores, such as: color, patterns, type, etc.

I also tend to look for new magazines or books when I get a chance. Sometimes the same publications tend to be predictable. Looking at first editions or upcoming publications give me a fresh perspective to things. To my surprise, nowadays I’m using more social media to inspire me. I’m currently obsessed with Pinterest. I love it. It’s a great tool to network with other designers. I’m usually on this every night before I go to bed, so it’s easy, convenient and fun.

3) Do you have a favorite design or project that you feel best represents your creativity?
No, I think if I did, I would probably be bored by now! Each of my designs have been part of expressing my creativity, but they have been molded to fit within their respective unique projects, so it’s difficult to objectively choose one over the others. I like the challenge of making my creativity work within guidelines. Having too much freedom will never allow me to complete a project, because I tend to be a perfectionist.


Imagery created by Arrate and BBM&D for Mavericks Gym and Sports Club in Ventura.

By Keir DuBois
Published April 1, 2014
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