FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL DESIGNER
RUZOW GRAPHICS, WESTPORT CT / NEW YORK NY
Nancy Ruzow is passionate about design and supporting others. She has been a graphic designer for 41 years. Early on, she worked as an assistant art director in the advertising departments of Playboy and Progressive Grocer magazines. Since 1985 as Ruzow Graphics, she juggles her roles as partner and problem solver to her clients, whether it’s a new collaboration with a major football franchise or a long-term collaboration with the University of Oxford. Her work has brought many accolades, including more than 50, from GDUSA’s American Graphic Design Awards, Healthcare Marketing Awards, and others. As Accountability Leader and owner of Creatives Roundtable, she has expanded and reshaped this accountability company which offers virtual monthly support, accountability, and community for creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small creative firms. And as Co-Leader of Fly Female Founders, she has helped grow this group for female founders into a thriving educational non-profit for women in business. “When I founded my graphic design firm, I could never have imagined it would still be here decades later… and thriving. The secret to my success, and the one thing that’s never changed, is my philosophy of offering a personal touch to each and every one of my clients. I think that’s why most have been with me for years. I have become a trusted resource and I act as one of their own.” This is all possible because Nancy loves to juggle: client projects, helping creatives and women business owners, AIGA CT, cooking brisket and tostones, and bouncing her grandson, Soren.
Has the pandemic changed your workplace and your workflow? Do you expect to return to pre-pandemic ways of working or will any changes become the ‘new normal’?
My workflow has changed. I present more, over Zoom, make mini mockups, and videotape myself to explain to clients how a printed piece will flow and unfold. I spend more time with clients as they want to meet (online) more often. I believe we will return to meeting in person, but we will also maintain the more frequent Zoom meetings since it’s so much easier than hopping on a train to go into NYC.
What do you expect 2021 to hold for graphic designers and the design business? Have the challenges of 2020 changed the way you think about your job and career or the role of design?
With more inhouse designers being laid off, I expect more competition. That’s why I’ve taken my own brand ing up a notch, presenting as a small business rather than a “freelancer” and putting more emphasis on my status as a Certified WomanOwned Business. I feel responsible to make my beliefs known, and to play more of a role in civic and diversity/inclusion initiatives. It’s important for designers to speak up and use our visual skills for good.
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