We had the good fortune of connecting with Sam Minneti and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sam, is there something you believe many others might not?
There’s a sort of adage in the creative industry that you have to “pay your dues.” That could mean a number of things—burning the candle at both ends, taking on clients that don’t appreciate you or don’t pay you what you’re worth, working for a creative director that yells at and demeans you, or never taking a vacation. I think we adopted this spirit of masochism from the archetype of the “starving artist.” As if suffering for our art is somehow a badge of honor. But romanticizing suffering as the gateway to true creativity is total crap. Working in this industry is a privilege. It’s a gift and an honor to be able to take a client’s vision and create a story that touches hearts and minds through design and copywriting. It is also not mandatory to make a living in this industry by dishonoring your self-worth and your own boundaries, either. You are precisely in charge of how others treat you, be it your clients, your creative director, or yourself. We are not suffering in the shadows of our immense burden of creativity—because creativity is not a burden, it’s a blessing. And I believe it’s time our industry start treating it as such.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started my career in the creative industry as the Marketing Coordinator at Pikes Peak Region Attractions while finishing my degree in Strategic and Organizational Communications at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs. It was this first job—promoting the top 25 tourist attractions in the Pikes Peak region—that made me fall in love with the art of storytelling. At Design Rangers, I now have the privilege of telling the stories of over 30 brands every year—from animal shelters to food pantries and tourist attractions to construction companies. I believe we are all hardwired for connection, and that stories are one of the most intimate ways to draw connections with each other and the world around us. Stories are how we make sense of the world—from cave drawings to modern-day metaphors. In the same way that people share stories to relate to one another, brands can also wield the power of storytelling. And when marketing is done with empathy and humanity, those brands are connected to consumers who become advocates through a shared belief. This is what gets me excited to go to work every day: the chance to be entrusted with a brand’s most authentic story and then help them make a connection through purposeful design. As storytellers, I believe it’s our responsibility to do work that makes a difference for people who make a difference.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Colorado Springs is slowly emerging from the shadows of Denver, and I am so here for it. I’m a firm believer that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side—especially if you’re watering your own lawn. And this community is full of creatives, movers and shakers, doers and givers, builders and changers who are shaping the culture of Colorado Springs. If I had just one week to show my best friend exactly what Colorado Springs is all about, I’d hit up: – Lunch at T-Byrds Tacos & Tequila—You haven’t lived until you have their fresh-out-of-the-fryer chips and homemade queso. I’m a sort of self-proclaimed queso connoisseur and I promise you—this is the one. – Dinner at Shuga’s—A party in your mouth is their spicy Brazilian coconut shrimp soup paired with the adult juicebox cocktail. – Hike through Garden of the Gods—I hope I never lose the sense of awe and wonder I feel when hiking through the cathedral spires. It’s no hidden gem, but Garden of the Gods makes me feel as if I’m a world away from civilization and smack dab in the middle of my own, personal walkabout. – Take in a show at Lulu’s Downstairs—You know those spots that just make you feel, like, 12% cooler just by walking in? That’s Lulu’s Downstairs. The vinyl red chairs and eclectic, mid-mod wallpaper gives serious Wes Anderson vibes.
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?
When I began my career at Design Rangers, I was “just a project manager.” And I chose my words carefully in that phrase. I believed that even though I was an important member of this team and kept our projects on track, my opinion as it related to creativity was worthless. I did not go to art school and I did not have a degree in design, and so I should stay squarely in my lane of project management. That belief was then reinforced by others, which sealed the deal on my career in project management. Or so I thought. Chris and Jenny Schell, co-owners of Design Rangers, valued my perspective and my insight—frequently asking for my feedback in the same way they would a fellow designer. They gave me permission to have ideas and opinions that diverged from the group, and even from their own perspectives. And they fostered my interests in content strategy, copywriting and art direction—allowing me to try, and fail, and try again. They’ve put their faith and trust in me to steward Design Rangers’ brand through my role as art director to our design team and copywriter and content strategist to our clients. In March of 2020, which seems like a lifetime away, our team won the coveted Best of Show in the Colorado Springs Advertising Federations ADDY Awards for a campaign I art directed and copywrote. Without Chris and Jenny’s unwavering belief in me, I’m not sure I would have ever given myself permission to be creative. Now, I try my best to write (imaginary) permission slips to anyone who believes they’re not creative. You do not have to be a Creative to be creative—our community does not own the trademark on creativity. Every time you solve a problem or find a unique solution, you are creative.