The Design Business Show 152: Environmentally Sustainable Branding with Suzzanne Gamboa

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | August 12, 2021
Check out episode 152 of The Design Business Show with Suzzanne Gamboa to learn all about sustainable design!

Suzzanne Gamboa is the Co-Founder & Creative Director at Siembra Studios, a studio for changemakers and social impact brands. She helps small business owners build sustainable brands focusing on leadership, community & planet preservation.

Prior to becoming a business owner, Suzzanne worked in the government and nonprofit sector. She focused on environmental and sustainability education in communities ranging from the Texas-Mexico Border to Chengdu, China.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

Suzzanne’s Start to Sustainability and Branding

  • How Suzzanne and I met a few month ago inside a Marketing Crash led by Erika Lyremark and Nicole Edwards and how we had a conversation about sustainable design, which is why I asked Suzzanne to come on the show
  • When Suzzanne was working for the office of sustainability in local government to fulfill an internship requirement for her graduate program in environmental management, she was tasked to create a flyer, which led to a team training on how to use Illustrator, typography and colors that were within the government organization
  • Suzzanne was inspired by the way the community responded to good design and says it felt like a really powerful way to get a message across which left her wanting to pursue similar work
  • Between the time that Suzzanne’s internship ended and the time she decided to take the leap as an entrepreneur, she didn’t find anything creatively fulfilling, but had graphic design as a skill and had connections in the wedding industry so she started as a wedding stationer
  • How Suzzanne quickly realized being a wedding stationer wasn’t the fulfilling career she wanted, and how she saw another designer teaching about branding, so she took her course which is how she landed on branding
  • For Suzzanne’s first clients, she did calligraphy on place cards for a friend’s wedding, then she designed her sister-in-law’s wedding invitations
  • When Suzzanne started branding, her first client came from the wedding industry and after that she closed the stationery side of her business and continued with branding until she opened up her studio, Siembra Studios with her co-founder, who is a copywriter

Siembra Studios + Where to Start With Sustainability

  • Early into Suzzanne’s branding career, she noticed a lot of clients wanting copy done in conjunction with the branding, so she and her now co-founder of Siembra Studios started a partnership which developed further into creating the studio
  • Suzzanne explains how they have a 50/50 partnership and explains that her partner is involved in anything communications related and that on the other side she does the creative direction, strategy and design
  • The story of how Suzzanne and her partner officially started their studio last year, right before the pandemic
  • How Suzzanne and her partner also do work outside of the studio and what kind of clients come through the studio
  • The different services Suzzanne offers through the studio and the process they go through with clients
  • If you’re a designer who wants to add sustainability to their brand cores but doesn’t know where to get started, Suzzanne suggests a group called Climate Designers as a good resource
  • One thing that is unique about Siembra Studios is that they integrate the planet piece into their work and Suzzanne explains how they do that, for example they’ll look at how a product impacts the environment
  • Suzzanne tell us that they try to offer better solutions to clients when it comes to environmental impact and says it’s important to be transparent in the way that you’re marketing your product
  • Suzzanne explains that greenwashing is marketing something as sustainable when it’s really not and she gives an example
  • How Suzzanne never knew is was a possibility to mix her two skill sets, branding and knowledge about environmental sustainability but is so happy she gets to in her business and she explains where she got the idea to combine the two
  • When it comes to what’s next, Suzzanne says for her personal brand she will be focusing more on the strategy and implementation of things and says she also offers VIP design days which will also be part of her future more
  • Suzzanne walks us through the process she goes through with clients and gives examples of how she thinks about environmental sustainability with different clients
  • Discover more about Siembra Studios at www. siembra, on Instagram or LinkedIn and connect with Suzzane at suzzane


Links mentioned:

Siembra Studios

Climate Designers 

Siembra Studios on Instagram 

Siembra Studios on LinkedIn

Suzzanne’s Website


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