Meeting… Sara Pena, Designer at The New York Times

Meeting… Sara Pena, Designer at The New York Times

Illustration by Claire Merchlinsky

“Meeting…” is an ongoing series from NYT Open that features New York Times employees from different corners of the company. In this installment, we meet Sara Pena, a designer.

What is your name?
Sara Pena

What are your pronouns?
She/Her

What is your job?
Designer

What does that mean?
I’m a designer on the Commerce team, which means I work with Times Journeys, The School of The New York Times, The New York Times Store and The New York Times Wine Club on different marketing projects.

How long have you been at The Times?
I’ve been at The Times for two and a half years.

Most Times employees are working remotely right now. Where are you working from these days?
I’ve primarily been working from a house near the Jersey Shore.

How do you start your day?
Typically I wake up around 7 a.m., check the news, play with my dog, Pocco, and then I will go for a run, do yoga or go on a bike ride. I’ve been trying to get a few minutes of meditation in before I have breakfast and begin checking emails.

What is something you’ve worked on recently?
I’m currently working on a dog book with the Store that features a combination of Times articles, photos and original illustrations dating back to the 1800s.

Tell us about a project you’ve worked on at The Times that you’re especially proud of.
When I started on the Commerce team, I primarily worked with Times Journeys to redesign a lot of the marketing materials. The biggest redesign project was for the 100-page catalog we send out each year to showcase our trips, experts and photography. Last year, we decided to reimagine its layout and ended up with three smaller booklets that streamlined our content, incorporated multiple illustrations and a foldout of a map of the world highlighting a number of our trips. With the smaller sizes, we were not only able to decrease costs but increase mailing numbers by more than double to expand our reach.

What was your first job?
I worked in a frozen yogurt and smoothie shop, then I left to assist in a custom framing gallery.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’m a Phish fan!

What is your secret to career success?
I’ve always tried to stay motivated and positive even if things don’t go my way. I’m also a big believer in using the resources I’ve had and keeping my connections going — you never know who knows whom in the design world.

What is your superpower?
My attention to detail.

What are you inspired by?
I love printmaking and am especially inspired by letterpress. Anything bold or graphic makes me want to get back into the studio life.

Name one thing you’re excited about right now.
I’m going to be spending a few days in Montauk soon, and I can’t wait to bike ride around and explore!

What is your best advice for someone starting to work in your field?
Keep in touch with people from your past: a classmate, a teacher, a mentor, a former coworker or boss. They’re all great contacts to have, and you never know when you’ll need a reference for something.


Meeting… Sara Pena, Designer at The New York Times was originally published in NYT Open on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: New York Times

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