Working in Clark County: Lori Reed, graphic designer

By Kay Richardson, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 
Working in Clark County is a brief profile of interesting Clark County business owners or a worker in the public, private or nonprofit sector. Send ideas to Kay Richardson: kay.richardson@columbian.com; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.

California transplant Lori Reed arrived in Washougal in 2011 assuming she would market her graphic design skills across the river. But not only has Southwest Washington become her home base, she’s discovered that it has become her primary client base, as well. “I figured if there wasn’t enough work to sustain my business, I could always expand to the Portland market,” she said. “But it’s been five years now and I continue to be surprised that I haven’t had to do that! I am proud to be able to work with those who seek to hire locally.”

Name: Lori Ann Reed

Occupation: Graphic designer

Residence city: Washougal

Business name: Reed Creative, 360-210-4004, reedcreative.com

Age: 46

Educational/professional background: Bachelor’s degree in fine arts visual communication, with additional focus in art history and photography.

How — and when — you got started in your business: Eighteen years ago, my husband was assigned to the USNS Mercy (one of the Navy’s two hospital ships) in Point Loma, Calif. I began interviewing for design jobs in that area and was told on more than one occasion that the salary may not be great, but that I’d “get paid in sunshine.” While sunshine is a lovely benefit of southern California, it didn’t make the most economical sense to me (besides, my landlord at the time didn’t accept sunshine as payment for rent). I had always hoped to one day start my own business, so I decided there was no better time than then.

Since then, I have moved my business base to other places we have lived including Sun Valley, Idaho; San Francisco, New Orleans and New York.

In 2011, we relocated here, expanding my business to include Clark County clients, while continuing to successfully work remotely for clients across the country.

Personal/business philosophy: Be creative. Be compelling. Be collaborative.

Most rewarding part of job: Solving a client’s business challenge in a unique, creative, timely manner they didn’t expect.

Most challenging part of job: While design solutions indeed need to be creative and visually pleasing, it is equally important that the solutions effectively solve a client’s business need. However, I have heard many times that a business was disappointed with a contractor’s work because he or she, while creative, was not in tune with their business goals. This is a challenge I have been working to overcome by sharing with the local business community how to be sure to hire the right creative for their job.

One thing you’d like people to know about your work: The difference between art and design. Design is a visual expression that follows a defined process with the main goal to solve a business problem, rather than create a work of self-expression.

Your favorite travel destination and type: I am fortunate to have clients in New York, San Francisco and New Orleans and travel to each city for business and pleasure a couple times a year. But a short trip to the Gorge by car to hit a trail whenever the opportunity presents itself is one of my favorites. Longer trips involve accompanying my husband on the container ship he captains, which calls on some of my favorite U.S. ports: San Francisco, Long Beach and Honolulu.

Best feature of my Clark County community: Originally from New York, I was surprised by how welcoming and genuinely nice everyone was when I first relocated here (and to this day). It makes living and working in this community so unbelievably pleasant.

What would make your community a better place: Continued economic prosperity. I have loved witnessing the growth and revitalization of our area, seeing the shop fronts filling up in downtown Camas and now in Washougal, and the businesses and nonprofits and citizens working together to make sure it continues.

Favorite restaurant/pub/coffee shop/store: Our Bar in downtown Washougal for morning meetings or a short bite.

On a Friday or Saturday evening, I head to Birch Street Uptown Lounge in downtown Camas. I go to La Bottega in Vancouver for either a client lunch or a romantic dinner with my husband.

Hobbies: My interests tend to lean toward the active … running a trail, rowing on a river or the lake.

Most enjoyable book/play/movie/arts event in past 12 months: I am a voracious reader. Professionally, I love How magazine for reading what’s going on in my industry. I really enjoyed reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed and then watching the movie.

One word to describe yourself: Creative.

Person you’d most like to meet: Chef Susan Spicer. She is a successful female chef in New Orleans, whose artistry and culinary talent are always inspirational — both taste and visual.