We had the good fortune of connecting with Olivia Mangiaracina and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olivia, why did you pursue a creative career?
I pursued a creative career because I honestly can’t imagine I’d be happy doing anything else. Sure, every project isn’t a dream project, but I get to create every day and I cannot imagine having a job that didn’t allow me to do that. Growing up I didn’t know there were creative options out there, so when I discovered graphic design and the ad industry, I immediately knew it was where I belonged. Design makes sense to me because it serves a purpose, there is a goal with everything I make. Art was always hard for me because I didn’t know where to start, it was almost too much freedom. I somehow strive off the parameters and restrictions that clients give me. Which seems counterintuitive, but it works. It’s like how when you have all the free time and you get nothing done, but when you’re crunched for time you try to do everything. Or maybe that’s just me. I also have a bit of ADD so being able to jump around between projects and use multiple mediums really helps me stay focused and not get bored or burnt out of one thing.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a graphic designer and it didn’t take me long to realize that my passion was for branding. That’s a pretty broad term I realize, but I love all the aspects of it. Logos and brand identity are my favorite things to design, and I’ve been lucky enough to work on a lot of new brands, rebrands, and brand extensions. I went to college and graduated fairly young, so I was able to start my career at barely 21. That definitely had its pros and cons, but ultimately I’m really grateful because it allowed me to have a different perspective on work. For a while, my job was my identity. While all my friends were still in college, I was becoming a bit of a workaholic. But I loved what I did, so it seemed fine. Once everyone joined the workforce with me and clocked out at 5 and wanted to actually hang out, I realized that I was sacrificing relationships for my job, and to me that wasn’t ok. I believe in working hard and hustling, but at the end of the day, the people in my life are the most important thing. This may seem like the wrong message to be putting out in an article about my career, but stay with me. When you have your priorities straight, things work out. I work harder at work so I can be fully present when I’m off. I try to set up my life so that I don’t have to say no to people because of my job. And it’s definitely not always easy, especially as a freelancer. But you have to learn to make healthy boundaries that work for you. I am lucky to have a career that is very fulfilling, but I know it can never replace my people.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I actually live a bit north of the city, so if I were to take someone around the area, I’d start at Valor Coffee in Alpharetta. It’s definitely OTP but you just can’t beat the vibes there. I live on the Chattahoochee River so we’d have to go tubing and hiking. I love the Riverwalk in Roswell, and Canton Street is a fun spot. Superica and Ceviche are musts as far as restaurants go, you can’t beat Mexican food. I’m an outdoorsy gal so I always go for a bike ride, there’s the Beltline, the Greenway, Silver Comet Trail. Virginia Highlands and Piedmont Park are also great places to chill.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many people have helped me on my creative career path. Sylvia Gaffney at The Creative Circus was a huge influence on me and I would not be the designer I am today if it wasn’t for her intensity and pushing me way farther than I ever thought I could go. Of course I have to shoutout my parents for supporting me even when they didn’t know what exactly I was doing (they honestly still might not).
I’ve worked with some incredible people that became more than just coworkers – Jesse Williams, Sandra Love, Ashley Schindler, Brianna & John Morris – to name a few.
And my sidekick and life partner, Dalex Miller. Stepping out into full time freelancing this year was scary and unpredictable, but he’s been the ultimate support system. I watch him hustle for his dreams every single day and it inspires me so much.