Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

MEET LEA ORSINI: A SOULFUL GRAPHIC DESIGNER WITH A LOVE FOR ILLUSTRATIONS

This is InnovatorsBox’s “IB Backstage series, where in celebration of InnovatorsBox’s 6th year anniversary that’s coming up in November 2021, we are highlighting the stories of our incredible team members.

Lea Orsini loves to inspire others through her creative illustrations. A graphic designer in and out, she has been a part of various projects helping bring color and voice through her design work.

I first met the talented designer through my friend at Fire Dash Media where she was working on pockets of different projects for InnovatorsBox.

We loved working together so much that she has now been working with us more closely and helps add extra touch of joy and color to our visual communication. Meet Lea who brings life to our social media and learn how she makes graphics with purpose. 

In my Q&A with Lea, we cover various topics from how creativity is significant to what she does, what she enjoys and where she turns to find inspirations, to some tips she has to share and trends she’s witnessed in this space.

Monica:  How would you describe yourself in three words?

Lea:  Confident, Independent, Perfectionist

Monica:  Why is creativity important to you?

Lea:  The meaning and importance of creativity has changed and evolved throughout my life. As a kid, I was constantly told how creative I was because I liked to draw and paint. So, I understood creativity to mean, quite literally, creating something. And since that came so easily for me (and because I always had time to create as a kid), I took it for granted. Now, however, I find myself falling into a routine that doesn’t allow enough time as an adult for this version of creativity. I’m forced to find other ways to be creative, and that gives creativity such a higher value in my life.

Today, creativity is an outlet that allows me to channel my ideas and put my mark on everyday tasks. When you need to do the same thing over and over, that little wiggle room that allows you to try something new or improve upon is where I find myself really exploring creativity. And I couldn’t get through my day without those opportunities to bring out my creative self. 

Monica:  What was your favorite project, experience, or memory working at InnovatorsBox?

Lea:  Outside of InnovatorsBox, I am a full-time graphic designer. While that is still a highly creative job, I originally went to school to be an illustrator, and often miss both, the freedom and challenges, of illustration – which is communicating an idea through a visual, without any help of words.

When I was assigned to create the illustrations for your Forbes articles posts, it was such an enjoyable moment to get to do it again. Typically, I use analog media instead of digital – ink, pencils, watercolor on paper – so it was an extra challenge to create the fun, colorful images digitally. 

Trends about work:

Monica:  Why did you want to do graphic design?

Lea:  Graphic design is the perfect job for someone who needs a creative outlet but equally values rules and organization. It’s the perfect marriage between logic and creativity. 

The practical side of me also wanted a good paying job that allowed me to work in an office. After graduating with a degree in illustration, I quickly realized that illustrators are often working from home and working independently. While I like to do that occasionally, I am a very social person and love to be around people. Graphic design, at a broad level, was a great way to achieve both.

Building your own sense of beauty is a very important step, then it will become easier to find out what your style is gradually. 

Monica:  What is one skill that you found to be key in being a great designer?

Lea:  I’m not sure that being a perfectionist is a skill, but it certainly helps in design! Perhaps the word I’m looking for is detail oriented. My job is to obsess over fonts, alignment, and composition – and to make sure that when I step back and look at the big picture, it all flows perfectly and communicates the message in the order it’s supposed to. 

Monica:  Where do you find creative inspiration for your work? 

Lea:  Everything that we see every day – from the label on our tube of toothpaste to the morning news headlines, to the logo on our iced coffee – was created by a graphic designer. I’m so lucky to be inspired daily, and I don’t even have to go out of my way to look for it!

When I come across an interesting font pairing, a well laid-out magazine spread, or even a colorful coupon, I save it in a folder for when I need ideas.

Monica:  What trends are you seeing in graphic design that you are excited about and worried about?

Lea:  I see a lot more interest in design in general. Over the past 10 years, there have been a plethora of free programs to come out that are accessible to anyone with a computer.

Take Canva for example that allows anyone to design their own graphics with zero experience. When I was in high school, if you couldn’t do it in Microsoft Paint or Powerpoint, you couldn’t do it at all. Now, it’s so inspiring to see all the creative designs that people produce through these free and intuitive online platforms.

However, this also leaves a lot of room for mistakes. While you can fiddle with design elements and are able to pair things together – but you’re not professional designer, you risk turning the message into wrong visuals.

From miscommunicating the message by conveying the wrong mood, using wrong fonts (like the pretty cursive ones that are trendy but often unreadable!) or mismatched fonts/alignments- all lead to giving your project an overall unprofessional appearance.

Getting to know Lea

Monica:  Who are creatives that inspire you?

Lea:  Chefs truly inspire me! Eating is such a creative experience and there is so much that goes into crafting an amazing meal. Besides the obvious taste, the chef has the flexibility and responsibility to explore texture, ingredients, flavor combinations, and so much more. It’s so complex! 

I think I’m drawn to cooking because it’s like graphic design in the sense that it combines both sides of your brain – the artistic and the logical. Cooking is both science and art. 

Monica:  What is a book that you couldn’t stop reading?

Lea:  One is Ubik by Philip K. Dick and the other is Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (series) by Stieg Larsson. Both books are sensational and I recommend them to everyone who loves a good read.

Monica:  What are you listening to lately – music or/and podcasts?

Lea:  Lyrics is what draws me in – so I will listen to just about any genre of music if the lyrics tell a good story. Because of this, I often find myself listening to country music.

Everybody likes to put down or dismiss this genre, saying the modern popularized songs are all about ‘trucks and beer’ – but nobody ever mentions the wonderful songs that delightfully tell stories. I also love this genre because, more often than not, the country music is about appreciating what you have instead of complaining about what’s missing. 

Graphic Design is the perfect marriage between logic and creativity. 

Monica:  What are you watching lately that you really enjoyed? Why?

Lea:  I refuse to watch shows and movies that don’t have happy endings. I only watch tv occasionally to relax and unwind, so I don’t want to spend that time on anything but happy outcomes! Like many others, I cannot say enough great things about Schitts Creek!

Monica:  What is your favorite way to decompress? Why?

Lea:  Painting my nails has always been my way of hitting ‘reset’ and taking time for myself. When I’m done painting, I’m forced to sit calmly and wait for the paint to dry. I use that time to sit back with a glass of wine and just relax.

Monica:  If someone is visiting New Jersey for the first time, where would you recommend they go, eat, or do? 

Lea:  I feel like New Jersey gets such a bad rap – the traffic, the taxes, etc. – but people don’t realize that NJ is among the few places in the country where you are smack in the middle of absolutely everything!

You have access to food of every culture, it has all kinds of shopping outlets, homes for every kind of lifestyle, offers you unlimited entertainment, has a variety of transportation, and more… all of that often only 20 minutes away! The beach and the city (NYC) are just a short drive too.

Those who are new to New Jersey should go to the shore to walk the boardwalk, try some funnel cake, and do people-watching. Then, drive back up to Bergen County and get yourself a bagel!

Monica:  If you could travel anywhere and do anything, where would you go and what would you want to do? 

Lea:  I’d travel to Europe and Asia and study cooking under chefs of diverse cultures. French, Spanish and Japanese cuisine would be my top picks. In reality though, I’m not much of a traveler – I love to be near home. So instead, I plan to take these cooking classes locally when I retire one day. 

Thank you, Lea for being absolutely amazing person and for giving our visual communication so much beauty, purpose, and meaning. It’s a pleasure to have you in the team and we look forward to working together with you in many more projects in the days to come!

To connect with Lea:

Website Leaorsini.com 

Instagram @_leeea19

About the Author

Picture of Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit