Alisa Blanter: A Conversation With Proverb’s New Senior Art Director

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Chalk up a coup for Proverb with the recent hire of Alisa Blanter. A graphic designer by trade, Alisa comes to the agency fresh off a nine-year run with Nickelodeon’s internal branding team. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have her onboard.

She sat down with Proverb Senior Strategist John Lockwood to chat about her background and goals, her thoughts on good design, and most importantly, the pizza and bagel situation here in Boston.

JL: You worked with Proverb founder Daren Bascome back when he first set out on his own. What was that like?
AB: It was very long ago. I won’t even say how long — it might have been at the turn of the century. I was pretty clueless back then. I remember a project we did for an art opening, which was fun, but I think my only contribution was resizing a postcard design. I mean, at that point in my career, I just couldn’t come up with things quickly and on my own — that takes a long time, and it takes confidence and experience that I just didn’t have yet.

And now you do!
Well, I moved to New York and did a bunch of different stuff. Advertising, print branding, fashion branding. I had to build up to working on exciting projects, and I paid my dues. Then I started working on the property design team at Nick.

You ended up working at Nickelodeon for nine years. That’s a long time in this industry.
It is.

Why’d you stay?
I think I stayed there because the people I was working with were talented, and I was motivated to work hard to be on their level. Also the brands were fun and silly, you could really be creative and there was a lot of freedom to explore and try things that wouldn’t be appropriate for more conservative clients.

What do you think we, as an agency, can learn from that experience?
I definitely want to push it creatively. Not settle or say, well, time’s up, I guess it’s good enough. I want things to look awesome, to do great work.

It’s important to care about the work. It sounds obvious — 
But it’s not! I’ve met quite a few apathetic designers in my day. I have a hard time letting it go when I think something doesn’t look right or something could be improved.

So what got you excited about Proverb this time around?
Well, I knew that Daren was great. He and I really clicked back when I was an intern. I admire him, and I like what he’s built, like the vibe of this place. I’m excited to contribute to the aesthetic level of the work. It’s something I talked about with Daren before I came onboard: the need to elevate the work even higher. I want to help Proverb be the best.

What do you love about good design?
I think design can make the world feel brighter. I admire when someone’s taken the time to think something through. I think it’s important to support thoughtful design, whether it’s graphics, furniture or everyday objects. Everything should be “high quality.”

What drew you to design when you were younger?
Well, my mom’s a designer and my dad’s an engineer.

Good combo.
Exactly. So when I said I wanted to go to art school and become a designer, that was that. I just did it.

Pick our next client.
I love doing food branding. A restaurant or a food brand. Maybe a jam.

Boston is a tad different from Brooklyn. What are you missing most?
Pizza and bagels.

Pizza and bagels!
Yep. Boston has a pizza and bagel problem.

And what are you jazzed about?
Well, basically everything is a little better. Our car insurance went down $1,800. My husband went to the DMV and it took twenty minutes. In New York it took four hours and everyone was extremely frustrated. So, all that kind of stuff is just easier here. It’s refreshing. It makes us feel human again.

Last question: what’s your Truth Made Simple?
As Thomas Edison said, “there’s a way to do it better — find it.”