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The Creative Essentials of Liz Rinaldi, VP Design Director

What keeps Liz Rinaldi feeling inspired?

As VP Design Director for Arc Worldwide, Liz Rinaldi constantly seeks inspiration, applying what she finds to keep work fresh, both inside and beyond the agency.

In addition to her daily client work, Liz has played a major role in shaping the shared spaces of 35 W. Wacker. She led the design team for the newly constructed Mother’s Lounge, which serves the nearly 40 new mothers employed by Leo Burnett Group each year. Liz is also the brain behind the lush greenery and cozy, collaborative workspaces of the transformed 21st floor.

How does Liz keep the ideas coming for such impactful design projects? Cooking, boxing and sketching are just a few essentials for Liz’s creativity.


Boxing Gloves
I have a punching bag in my garage that I lovingly refer to as my “Therapist.” Starting my day with a good sweat a few times a week is essential to my overall happiness and my ability to focus, manage stress, and play nice with others. Plus, there’s nothing that makes me feel like a badass more than putting on a pair of boxing gloves and beating up that bag.

Travel has become a true addiction in my life, and I like to always have the next trip on the books. For me, travel is a cure for getting out of the creative rut. It’s a chance to step away, recharge, and get inspired by the beauty and wonders of the world. It brings me a great sense of compassion and gratitude, which we could all use a little more of.

Measuring Tape
As a lifelong student of architecture and design, the measuring tape is an absolute essential. While concepting a space allows the freedom to think big, having a keen awareness of dimension and human scale is critical to the design process. Floor plans, elevations, details – these are all the technical aspects of design that bring those big thinking concepts to reality.

Garlic is here for two reasons. One: I am a proud Italian woman and there is never a shortage of garlic (or wildly overt hand gesturing) in my life. And two: cooking is a lifelong passion of mine and offers me a creative outlet to explore new flavors, spices, and dishes at home. Mangia!

Coffee Mug
Lately I’ve been running on Dunkin’ in the office, but I’ll typically start my day with two shots of espresso at home, with a splash of frothed almond milk, sipped slowly and enjoyed thoroughly. Good coffee should not be rushed.

I love the feeling of opening a fresh new notebook, and I’m obsessed with these Pantone grid paper mini sketchbooks. So many fun colors to choose from, I usually have one tucked away in my bag at all times for those impromptu moments of inspiration, or making my to do list.

In the Retail Design Group, we love playing with new and innovative materials to help create our branded environments. Our materials library is like a playground of colors and textures. I get excited for beautifully designed materials to use in a project. They make me feel like a kid in a candy store.

My black spiral sketchbook comes with me everywhere. It’s full of random thought-starter sketches, scribbles and notes. I have real heart for hand sketching. So often, creatives jump to the computer to illustrate their concepts, but there’s something powerful and yet simple about a sketch that allows you to convey an idea without thinking through the details, and allowing the imagination of others to help fill in the blanks.

Sharpie Pens
Most creatives are pretty picky about their pens, and I’m no different. The Sharpie Pen is my go-to for writing and sketching. I have boxfuls of these bad boys, mostly black, but sometimes I’ll go wild and draw in color.

…Because everything is better with glitter.

July 18, 2018