Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week, we talk to Ridha Sekhri, creator and co-founder of Twelve and Twenty Eight, a thoughtful and personalized graphic design company that treats your business with the same care and passion as if it were their own. Strong dedication to her values, a meaningful connection to people, and an unending search for creative inspiration are what sets Ridha apart when creating brand designs with Twelve and Twenty Eight’s clients-turned-friends.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
Hello! My name is Ridha and I am a self-taught graphic designer thriving in the windy city Chicago. Having a degree in Computer Science never satisfied me as I could never visualize myself hiding behind lines of code but rather behind captivating visual designs and bespoke brands. After a short stint in the corporate world, here I am 5 years into this field of graphic design, making the world a more creative place in my own little ways.
2. What about graphic design attracted you to it?
The fact that I get to express myself through visuals. Build art around a concept. The idea of establishing a connection with the audience through thoughtful and creative problem solving was and still is so enticing!
3. Before Twelve and Twenty Eight, you did freelance graphic design. Describe your experience as a freelance graphic designer.
Freelancing was a good way to start this journey. My priority back then was to take up a variety of graphic design work, different gigs with different clients – small startups, big corporations, independent business owners and the likes so as to build a portfolio, a platform to showcase my skills and hone them. Along the way, doing random work I have found my niche which is branding for unique small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. This journey has been an asset, rooting me to my mission which is to work not just for but together with my clients to build their brands with love.
4. What inspires and fuels your creativity?
Talking to fellow creatives, reaching out to them and asking them questions. Being curious, having an urge to learn from the best, and expanding my horizons fuels me. Other than that, looking at the amazing work being done by these much-accomplished designers is a real morale booster.
5. You volunteer with Start Small Think Big, how did you find this organization and what do you like about it?
My experience was amazing! Through Start Small Think Big, I got an opportunity to help individuals who have business ideas but do not have the means to make it happen. I used my design skills to help out 3 unique business owners with branding and identity designs and bringing their visions to life. This organization is doing a great job in creating a setup for qualifying individuals to get financial, legal, marketing, and advertising assistance.
6. How important is design and branding to a new business?
Extremely important! There is a lack of awareness about how important it is to have proper branding for a new business. Branding is not just a good looking logo, it is much beyond that. It is a language that visually sets a tone for your business, the work you do, connect with the audience you want to target, and more importantly how you want your business to come across. Careful initial evaluation of the above is what I make sure that I do so that all the eventual designs for the brand are cohesive and speak for the brand in unison.
7. Who is a boss lady who inspires you and why?
My close friend and coincidentally my client Smita Kishore, co-founder of Simply Smita – handmade, organic and socially conscious skincare products. She is such an inspiration in my life! Her business is so rooted in positive intent through consciously sourced, organic ingredients and a commitment to the environment, sustainability, fair-trade, and service. A rare find!
Just for fun:
What is your favorite activity to do when you want to relax and destress? Creating cool typography designs, reading a gripping fiction novel or catching up on my favorite shows.
Favorite dish: Something that has spinach and cheese! Chocolate dessert without a doubt!
Last song you listened to: Dancing With a Stranger by Sam Smith and Normani
Best memory from Panjab University: The time when I first met my best friend who is now an irreplaceable part of my life.
If you could learn any skill, what would it be? I would love to learn to care less about what the world thinks and be immune. Wishful thinking!