East: Q&A with Lisa Sherman of Comella Design Group

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Lisa Sherman is a designer at Comella Design Group, based in Bethesda, Maryland.Their self-promotional wrapping paper (above) is awinner in the East section of Print‘s 2009 Regional Design Annual.

Print: What’s your favorite thing about being a designer in Washington, D.C.?

Lisa Sherman: The D.C. area is full of nonprofit organizations. It’sfulfilling to be able to do work that is for a good cause and can helpothers improve their quality of life. Additionally, D.C. allows us tohave a wide variety of clients, ranging from nonprofit organizations toan upscale salon and spa.

On the other hand, it can sometimes be challenging to have nonprofitorganizations as clients because they often have limited financialresources available for design services. We also find that withnonprofits we are designing a lot of reports, which can be challengingbecause a serious report does not leave a lot of room to stretchcreativity or push boundaries.

How has the economy changed your design business? Has it affected thedesigners in your area, and if so, how?

Comella Design Group has been in business in the Washington area forover twenty-four years. This is definitely the most challenging timewe’ve seen in this industry. We feel that there is a double hithappening—not only is the country in a serious recession, but theindustry and the future of print work as we’ve known it is goingthrough tremendous changes. Some of our printers are in real trouble—it’s tough to see. We still do a lot of print but more and more we areasked to design e-newletters, email blasts and blogs. Clients arepulling back on print costs – they want to find cheaper methods ofprinting or they are moving to online alternatives. Some clients arealso putting projects on hold, especially projects that may havestarted before the economy took a turn for the worse. It will beinteresting to see how this all shakes down.