If you’re familiar with Lisa Engler’s work, you know it’s bursting with personality and humor. Watch our exclusive video interview to hear how Lisa approaches her creative work as a designer who loves relating to others, and walk away with some solid advice on building out a successful career in design.

Hi, I’m Lisa Engler. I’m a freelance illustrator and designer.

Why did you become a designer?

My favorite thing when I’ve visited new cities has always been to look for the old signage and the old architecture—the old ephemera from the 50s and 60s. I have a camera roll of like 300 pictures of random no parking signs.

One of the things that really clicked with me that I wanted to do that sort of stuff was thinking that I can create the sort of things that make other people have that same reaction when they see it, or they can laugh about it, or they can relate to it, or if they just straight up think it’s beautiful. That’s cool.

  1. Greetings from an Introvert!

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How do you stay creative when uninspired?

We got into this field because we were inspired by good design that we saw. Exposing myself to new design again and new architecture, and new signage, and new branding out in the world kind of reignites that in my mind. It doesn’t have to be like going to a totally new place. You can just go get lunch in a different neighborhood—go to a grocery store and look at the nice fancy packaging.

How can design influence change?

We have the skill sets to be able to create change. As designers, our skillset is really just perfectly tailored to be involved in political change and social change. It’s completely relevant. Even when it can feel like you’re just sitting in an office while the world is on fire.

As designers, our skillset is really perfectly tailored to be involved in political change and social change.

Favorite type of project…

I have the most fun when it’s supposed to be something a little bit witty or kind of funny or maybe a little bit of dark humor. Not every project you get an opportunity to really put heart and personality into it. And so I really love when those projects come along because I feel like when you’re able to focus more on the personality or the heart and the humor of the work, then that’s the thing that will help the work last and persist, and still resonate with people.

It can feel kind of daunting with so many other designers, not just in the world but even just here in the Bay Area. I’ve been very lucky to find a group of friends that is very low ego and non-competitive. Getting a project that’s unusual and you have no idea how to price for this, it’s great that I can group text my other illustrator friends and be like, “What would you do for this? Does this feel kind of in the right ballpark?” It feels good to have that small community where you feel like you’re helping each other.

Working in women-led design

I’ve really enjoyed, since I’ve been independent, getting to work with a lot of female-owned studios. It almost feels like a little mini-network where you see these female creative directors intentionally hiring female freelancers and working for female-driven companies.

I’ve worked on a lot of apps that have been for new moms or apps to connect women to each other—the sort of thing that I wasn’t really getting when I was working in large agencies with huge companies. It’s the sort of thing that I’ve only really gotten to dive into since I’ve been on my own, and working on a lot more like person-to-person.

How do you prepare for what’s next?

Keep a list, either written or mental, of all of the stuff that you can do to make your future self’s life easier. And I think that keeps me from freaking out or wanting to just give up on freelancing because no one hired me to do anything this week. There’s always a million things that you can do that is going to be beneficial to your future self. Whether it’s doing some personal work or updating your portfolio, or posting some stuff on Dribbble. Have things to keep yourself busy when the work isn’t coming in so that way you don’t get totally discouraged.


Your portfolio should look like the sort of work that you want to get hired for. Being able to create a portfolio of work that matches your own values will hopefully bring in more people who align with that.

It’s a long game—design is—which I think sounds discouraging if you’re just starting out. I remember being in college and we had a guest speaker that was like, “It will take you seven years to be successful.” And I was like, “Crap.”

The larger body of work you have, the more chances there are for a future client to come across something that resonates with them. It’s pretty regular for a client that I get now in 2019 to reference something that I did in 2015 as the thing that they want their project to look like. And I feel like that’s kind of rewarding.

Want to keep up with Lisa? Find her on Dribbble, Instagram, Twitter, and at

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networking at MarTech®, September 16-18 in Boston.

Join us to connect with a thriving community of 1,400 smart, engaged, passionate marketers eager to exchange ideas, experiences, and advice. You’ll meet prospective clients, partners — even future colleagues!

Check out all of the networking events in store:

Monday, September 16

Speed Networking – 4:15pm – 5:00pm. Meet and mingle with fellow attendees in bite-sized bursts. Speed networking is a great way to break the ice as you head into the conference. (Open to all pass holders.)

Opening Reception – 5:00pm – 7:00pm (sponsored by Workfront and OneTrust). Explore the Expo Hall and connect with 60 market-defining exhibitors while enjoying drinks and tasty hors d’oeuvres. (Open to all pass holders.)

Tuesday, September 17

Expo Hall Reception – 5:00pm – 6:00pm (sponsored by Magnolia). After a day full of learning, unwind with cocktails and appetizers in the Expo Hall. Meet even more exhibitors and forge lasting bonds with your martech community. Keynote speaker Charlene Li, author of The Disruption Mindset: Why Some Organizations Transform While Others Fail, will also host a book signing — first come, first served! (Open to all pass holders.)

Tuesday & Wednesday, September 17 & 18

Birds of a Feather Lunch Tables – 12:30pm – 2:00pm. Lunch breaks at MarTech serve up more than delicious, hot meals. We also offer valuable networking with our “Birds of a Feather” Networking Tables. These topic-driven tables elevate mealtime chat to useful, guided conversations with others who share your professional interests. You’ll receive a list of table topics when you register – spots fill up quickly, so don’t miss out! (Open to All Access pass holders only.)

Choreograph meetings with MarTech Connect. For the first time, we’re thrilled to offer you access to MarTech Connect, our new A.I.-powered networking tool. You’ll be matched with like-minded attendees and have the ability to set up as many one-on-one or three-party meetings as you like. It’s a great way to add a little more structure to your networking experience!

  • Facing industry-specific issues? Identify attendees who work in your market.
  • Want to grow your local network? Meet attendees who live in your metro area.
  • On the hunt for new clients? Schedule sit-downs with interested attendees.
  • Looking to hire new talent? Connect with attendees who are on the job search.

MarTech Connect lets you skip the small talk and meet the people you want to meet. You’ll save time, boost productivity, and make worthwhile connections. (Open to all pass holders – registered attendees will receive instructions the week of September 1.)

Register NOW & enjoy up to $300

Pick your ideal pass based on your goals and budget:

  • All Access: All conference sessions, keynotes, networking events, and amenities, including the Expo Hall, the official MarTech mobile app, our new MarTech Connect app, hot meals, WiFi, and more. Book now and save $150 off on-site rates!
  • All Access Workshop Combo (best value!): Add an expert-led workshop to your All Access pass for an immersive, intimate learning experience. Book now and save $300 off on-site rates!
  • Expo : Perfect if your goal is networking and meeting vendors. Unlimited access to the Expo Hall, full-length Solution Track sessions and Discover MarTech Theater presentations, downloadable speaker presentations, refreshments, free WiFi, the official MarTech mobile app, our new MarTech Connect app, a Session Sampler pass, and more. Book now and it’s… free!

MarTech delivers wonderful opportunities to meet and learn from those driving real transformation in their organizations. Register now and I’ll see you in Boston!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

MarTech® Conference, a vendor-agnostic marketing technology conference and trade show series produced by MarTech Today’s parent company, Third Door Media. The MarTech event grew out of Brinker’s blog,, which has chronicled the rise of marketing technology and its changing marketing strategy, management and culture since 2008. In addition to his work on MarTech, Scott serves as the VP platform ecosystem at HubSpot. Previously, he was the co-founder and CTO of ion interactive.