A collage of photos of Sarina Ehrgott.

Sarina V. Ehrgott: Seven Years of Beautifying and Branding CCE

Branding is more than colors and fonts. It’s about the underlying strategy of reaching the right audience at the right time.

Building upon those ideas, designing the More Than A Flag campaign was about more than colors and symbols. Adopting a new flag was about the process of inviting public designs, and public feedback, working with teachers, students, voters, professional artists, and politicians. 

Those are just a few of the things we’ve learned from Sarina over the past seven years. She’s brought an artist’s eye to every project she’s worked on for the department, drawing upon her experience as an artist, art director, designer, and marketer to help us promote programs that reach Utahns. “She’s so talented,” says Jill Love, who hired Sarina and empowered her to develop an in-department design agency.

Jill adds: “Sarina was instrumental in shaping the culture and look and feel of CCE. Her beautiful talent and vision was a part of everything we did as a department. Her patience was endless, her diplomacy a true gift and skill — never, ever did I see an ounce of frustration.”

Kat Potter says: “As a Potter, at first I was disappointed to learn that Sarina identifies as a Slytherin. But I was able to acknowledge all the positive Slytherin characteristics — determination, cleverness, resourcefulness, confidence. And yes, that is the Sarina I know. If she sets her mind to something, she always finds a way to follow through and make it happen.”

Donna Law: “Not enough time. … Six weeks was not enough time to know Sarina, her talents, her passions, her energy. However, it has been enough time to recognize her contribution to the branding and strategic marketing excellence she brought to CCE during her time with us. Thank you for your lasting impact on our work and reputation.”

Sarina could do it all, and she did. For example, she led the department’s name change and rebrand. She launched new division and department websites, designed CCE’s strategic plan, and launched “MUSE,” a statewide magazine.

Her skill was evident in her work as the design diplomat on the More Than A Flag public engagement initiative, whether she was whipping together a public-facing website or presenting design iterations to the Utah State Flag Task Force. At that meeting, she made tangible the many, many drafts that ultimately created a public design.

You can’t talk about Sarina’s work without mentioning her humor. After all, she loves Meow Wolf. (Jill Love: “While I love Sarina, I have never understood her Meow Wolf fascination.”)

She once gave me a calendar called: Dogs Pooping in Beautiful Places.

david Wicai

Jennifer Ortiz: “Working with Sarina has been a true delight and one of the joys of working at CCE. Her eye for design, marketing, and big picture thinking makes her an excellent person to work alongside, but it’s her sense of humor and swagger that makes her an even better person to simply know and call a friend. Sarina broke down marketing and brand concepts for us, never made us feel dumb in the process and made sure she brought us all along in the journey. I am forever grateful for her graciousness and thoughtful approach to her work.” 

She modeled the skill of being a manager who leads by serving — and being a badass to boot!


Kerry Shaw: “Sarina, you taught me management, interpersonal and design skills that I will take with me for the rest of my life. You’ve helped me imagine what it looks like for a manager to lead by serving: Making sure the people you’re responsible for have what they need, have a clear vision, have both inspiration and accountability, have a defender and someone to take the hits when necessary. Essentially, [making sure they] have everything they need to flourish and do their job well. Thank you for modeling this — and being badass to boot! Thank you for helping me grow as a designer and employee. Thank you for helping me see things from different angles and take particular steps in light of the bigger picture.”

Todd Anderson: Sarina “is genuinely my favorite boss I’ve ever had. She always pushed me to not settle for just alright but instead to strive for excellence. I would strive for a punch in the arm of approval. She supported my growth and development as an artist, she had my back and inspired me to want to improve. And if that wasn’t enough, we made each other laugh with our inappropriate jokes, confided in each other about our various nerdy interests, and also induced starvation very early in the day with our talk about food first thing in the morning. I’m excited for her next adventure and wish her all the best. They’re lucky to have her.”

Working with Sarina, I learned that design is about creating a medium that serves a purpose, answers the right question, and understands who is on the receiving end and what they value.

claudia loayza

Heidi Tak: “As so many experienced, the COVID working times were rough. I was so grateful when I began working more directly with Sarina first on Thrive125 and then the DHA to CCE department rebrand. She brought energy and life to my days through these projects and we had a lot of fun! I have fond memories of that time and am so proud of the work we produced!”

Natalie Petersen: “We have really appreciated Sarina’s professionalism, approachability, and vision. She is very good at developing strategies, including helping others see the big picture and how the different parts of project fit together. She has helped our staff understand the importance of consistent branding and has led her team in supporting our division needs in many ways. Her design work is beautiful and effective. We’ll miss her talent, experience, and fun personality. We wish her the best with her next adventure.”

Jenny Duff: “In the short time that I’ve been lucky enough to work with Sarina, I can see that she is a talented designer and artist, strong leader, and an excellent mentor. She does so much, wears so many hats, and stays super cool and collected all the while. She has encouraged me to think differently about my work and strive to reach greater heights. I’m excited to see what new and incredible things she accomplishes on her journey.”

Maegan Castleton: “Throughout my career with CCE, Sarina struck a balance between teaching and directing. She would let me know right away if a footer was off-brand, or that the margins are incorrect, but she would always encourage new ideas. I never felt I was told what to do, instead I was taught how to look for the answer. We worked closely together on the Magnify Utah branding, and I’ll always treasure the time we took looking at fonts and letters. If I told my parents about the correct way the letter ‘R’ should look, they would tune me out but Sarina not only made the experience a huge learning opportunity, she made the experience fun, too. I am a stronger designer, and a strong leader because of Sarina!”

She has an ability to distill seemingly disjointed creative ideas into perfect visuals.

josh loftin

Josh Loftin: “At some point during our 4+ years of creative collaboration, Sarina and I developed a joint presentation titled ‘Rabbit Holes.’ Essentially, the presentation focused on the importance of content that encouraged people to explore a website beyond what initially brought them there — in other words, send them chasing down rabbit holes. Sarina came up with the concept and designed the slides, professionally as always, while ably incorporating imagery for my last-minute stories of a flying baby and artisan toast.

“The presentation worked for the same reason most of the projects I did with Sarina worked: She had an ability to distill seemingly disjointed creative ideas into perfect visuals. While she could always complement the words I wrote, more often her design work inspired the words and shaped the narrative. This held true for everything from legislative presentations to MUSE magazine to the Arts & Artifacts campaign. 

“Since leaving the department a couple of years ago, I have not found a person who could challenge me creatively while also taking my incoherent brainstorms and turning them into art. Anybody who doubts the value of having a real-life, skilled designer at your side needs only to spend a few days working with a designer like Sarina to understand the value. The Bountiful Arts Center is lucky to have her.

As proof of a professional designer’s value, I actually went to one of Sarina’s tools — Canva — and asked the AI ‘Magic Design’ to create a postcard wishing her good luck in her next adventure. The result (attached) is a near-perfect representation of why all of us who traffic in language need a travelling companion who thinks in images.”

Goodbye for now, although we intend to keep you close.