Designing a Community: Why Creatives Need to Connect

Design can range from being subtle to downright bold and in your face. However it may be expressed, design is primarily about one thing — communication.

Shaina Rozen is the owner, content strategist and copywriter at Sidetone, and is a master communicator. In her role, she helps people figure out what to say, how to say it, and the best ways to connect with an audience.

She also practices what she preaches. For the past several years, she’s found one of the best ways to build connections is to take advantage of local opportunities like Phoenix Design Week. Events of this nature provide a chance to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones, and find new inspiration and ideas.

“One of the things Phoenix Design Week has always reinforced for me is the importance of collaboration,” said Shaina. “I started freelancing full time in 2013, so although I’m ‘on my own’ I still take a collaborative approach to every project, whether that involves working with a designer or developer, or involving the client more in the process rather than doing everything behind the scenes.”

That’s why Shaina prioritizes attending PHXDW each year — attendees get the opportunity to learn what’s new in design, see how techniques are being used in real life, and gain inspiration on new ways to approach their work. They also get to hear from some impressive names in the creative community and soak in their experience.

“I especially appreciate how Phoenix Design Week’s Method+Madness conference has expanded in recent years to talk more about related disciplines, such as development and content strategy, in addition to graphic design,” said Shaina.

In truth, we don’t do our best work when we’re hiding out in a silo.

Another aspect of Phoenix Design Week that has grown are mentorship opportunities. As the event enters its 9th year, designers who were only just starting their careers in 2008 are now in more senior positions. With the Valley’s latest crop of young, emerging design talent, both groups have the opportunity to learn from one another.

“After I spoke at Method+Madness, an ASU student asked if I would be open to talking more with her about working in the design field,” said Shaina. “We kept in touch throughout the rest of her time at ASU, and it’s been so rewarding to be her mentor and watch as she grows her career in design.”

Because that’s really what it’s all about: sharing, learning, and growing our amazing creative community.

To learn more about Phoenix Design Week, visit, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.