Anna Crider Sharp is the Creative Director at Two Twelve Associates, a design firm in New York, as well as the Co-Chair of the New York Chapter of the Society of Environmental Graphic Design. She has been described as “one of the most determined, kind, talented, intelligent, incredible women.”
Q: You are the Creative Director at Two Twelve Associates, a design firm in New York. What about your work (or if not your work, other areas of your life) are you most proud of? What ranks as a great accomplishment?
ACS: As a little girl, I was incredibly shy. I have spent my entire adult life pushing myself out of my comfort zone. The day I graduated from college, I moved to NYC without a job to pursue my career. That moment of bravery has propelled me in a direction that I could never have imagined. I am now a Creative Director responsible for 20-30 concurrent projects collaborating with a team of four designers. Through my career I have had the privilege to work on projects such as The William J. Clinton Presidential Library, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, The World Trade Center, and The New York City Police Academy. I have worked incredibly hard to get to where I am. It is a lifelong journey to change innate fears. When I was a junior designer, I remember writing out scripts on pieces of paper before I made simple phone calls to clients. My first presentations were rehearsed in front of a mirror. Practice brings confidence. In my role as Creative Director, I not only lead a team of designers, but also make countless phone calls and presentations on a daily basis. As luck would have it, now it is only when I make a script for a presentation that I have a flare of nerves — for now.
Q: What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
ACS: Do not forget to take care of yourself.
Q: How do you shape your legacy?
ACS: There are no trade secrets. I am thrilled when I have the opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge with others if it can help them solve a challenge more efficiently and successfully.
I have also been blessed with extraordinary mentors throughout my career. Richard Poulin and Douglas Morris taught me the fundamentals of Environmental Graphic Design and too many business and life lessons to list. Ken Carbone and Leslie Smolan taught me the importance of artistry in design, building small paper models to allow your creativity to churn. David Gibson and Ann Harakawa continue to teach me the skills to solve incredibly complex wayfinding challenges, as well as the fundamentals of business and client management. It goes without saying that I am also indebted to the talented designers, clients, and fabricators that I have had the honor to collaborate with throughout my career.
I remember how excited I was the first time I learned how to read architectural plans and use a scale ruler. It was like unlocking a secret code and I was so excited. There are so many simple and complex lessons that I have learned from others, as well as by forging my way through challenges. To share my lessons-learned with others inspires me at the same moment that I am inspiring them.
Q: What is something you treasure dearly?
ACS: My family and loved ones that have supported me throughout my life both professionally and personally. I would be nowhere without them.