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I’m super excited to take on this new challenge as Managing Director for

For those of you not familiar with Designed, it’s a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on bringing design education and mentorship to all.

This is really close to my heart for many reasons. Growing up in Spain, the closest option to become a web designer was to get into Graphic Design. But that didn’t only disappoint my family (“artists don’t make money!”) but also the professors’ since they considered that my drawing skills were so bad (they still are), that I would never make a living as…

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Intro: the problem with Design Leadership

For better and for worse, large design teams started happening only recently. A few years back, only advertising agencies had an abundance of designers led by art and creative directors. However, with the boom of the digital world, rare is the organization that doesn’t leverage design in one way or another, setting up teams that are getting bigger and bigger.

This is very difficult, though. We are all just learning to create great online experiences, to become better at our craft. All of a sudden some of us are thrown into the Design Leader role (in any title variation such…

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I need to start this with honesty:

I hate design conferences.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m pretty much against all design conferences, meet-ups, and events alike.

I hate bullshit, and auto-proclaimed “experts”. I really hate sitting somewhere to hear someone purely talking about themselves, without a context, without providing the audience any learning but their own life story — which can be sometimes interesting, but 90% of the times, it’s just not. I hate when the topic sounds like something groundbreaking and then the speaker just talks about Design 101. …

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Burnouts suck.

Your energy is gone. Your motivation is gone. And changes are your self-confidence is gone with them too.

Burnouts are the outcome of a long period of time giving 120% and receiving way less in return. You don’t feel appreciated, you don’t feel like anything makes a difference and, eventually, you give up. Worst of all? The feeling of failure that comes with it.

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If you’re here you’re probably new in the field. Or, like me, you might be mentoring new people in the field that are confused. Or maybe you keep hearing people talk about those concepts and it seems like they are referring to different things.

Welcome to the digital world!

We are all pretty much figuring this thing out and while we are at it, us, the experts, are the ones confusing everyone else around.

So let’s take a minute and clarify these concepts one by one, showing also how they overlap with each other — to keep it a bit confusing!

Graphic Design

A lot of people…

Sara Vilas

Managing Director at

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