What Matters to Sarah Ratinetz

Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph.

Sarah Ratinetz loves working with new and heritage brands needing a fresh creative vision. Being on set is her happy place, but you’ll also find her joyfully working on a design challenge behind a giant monitor. As an award-winning creative director at the global collective Forsman and Bodenfors, based in New York City, Sarah leads with a craft-driven approach to solving complex business problems for startups to Fortune 500s. She gains constant inspiration from New York’s ever-changing creative landscape.

What is the thing you like doing most in the world?

Collaborating and developing ideas with other creatives. When everything clicks the camaraderie and the alchemical effect is like nothing else.

What is the first memory you have of being creative?

I began drawing at a really young age. I was extremely shy growing up, and drawing always felt like an activity where I could quietly express myself.

I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator and author. My first “book” was a hardcover notebook with strawberries on the cover. My writing style was very Junie B. Jones, but my illustration style was inspired by the Amelia’s Notebook series.

If anyone remembers the Amelia’s Notebook series, the illustrations were personal and intricate little studies of Amelia’s life. I worshiped how effortless they were.

What is your biggest regret?

I’m grateful to say I have no big regrets. I’m a total overthinker and not afraid to ask for advice. I try to be as deliberate with my choices as possible. I also believe that there’s power in the idea of the right choice for right now. You made the choice you did with all of the information you had.

However, I do regret not seeing Sufjan Stevens play in New York City in 2005. I bought a single ticket my sophomore year of high school but had to give it away when I realized the show fell the night before a test. I think about missing that show more than I should, almost 20 years later.

How have you gotten over heartbreak?

I have the most incredible support system who is always there to catch me. I’ve also learned over the years that if something is meant to be, it will be. If I keep putting one foot in front of the other, what’s meant for me will eventually arrive.

What makes you cry?

Thinking about my mom and how much I miss her. She passed away a few years ago.

How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?

Like many creatives I am quite hard on myself, so it’s typically on to the next one. I do believe it’s important to celebrate the wins, no matter how big or small. This could come in the form of a text to my family or a Teams message to a colleague with one too many exclamation points and emojis.

Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?

The idea of an afterlife is a comforting one. I like to imagine all of the people I love who have passed spending time together, maybe on a beach somewhere. And there’s orange sherbert.

What do you hate most about yourself?
How sensitive I can be! It has always felt like a roadblock. It’s always felt like I experience my feelings extra hard. Things have always stuck to me more, and contained more meaning than they should.

On the flipside, I’ve always known it’s one of my superpowers. It’s afforded me amazing relationships with my family, friends, and colleagues. It’s allowed me to understand people on a deeper level. It’s made me better at the things that are important to me.

What do you love most about yourself?
My ability to laugh and find inspiration in the smallest things.

What is your absolute favorite meal?
Pizza made by my husband in his portable pizza oven. Even if there’s a giant hole in the middle of the dough and one side is a little burnt, it’s still the best pizza I’ve ever had.

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