a bit about btd brand

the start of a brand + marketing agency

Sarah Steil and Lisa Reed joined forces and officially launched Be That Design LLC in 2013, after working together to provide graphic design and branding services to University of Minnesota clients through an in-house agency. Their love of typography, design, restaurants, and delightful customer service experiences shaped their partnership and the way in which they served clients both small and large.

Sarah and Lisa continue to run the day-to-day workings of BTD BRAND, including designing, meeting with clients, working with interns, volunteering, sharing recipes and recent restaurant excursions, and often laughing. Their commitment to sustaining a brand design agency with empathy and helpfulness towards clients’ sometimes difficult deadlines informs and improves an ever-present collaborative attitude. Making clients’ days easier, lighter, and more efficient is always top of mind.

who we are

Founder + Designer

Born with keen observational skills, immense focus, and a tendency to be highly sensitive to the needs of others, I spent much of my early free time exploring and interacting with countless “visually complex stuff” found in my nearby grandparents’ home just a few blocks away.

Since then, I’ve been collaborating with for-profit and non-profit companies of various sizes for the past 20+ years in the area of brand creation, assessment, and evolution. My work experience has included boutique brand, marketing, and design firms, including co-founding Be That Design LLC in 2012 after completing my Master’s of Fine Arts Degree in Interactive Design.

The reason I show up to work each day is to improve and refine the quality of communications for our education, manufacturing, professional services, and restaurant clients. Learning each day, our team becomes a more closely integrated part of our clients’ communications and marketing teams. Together, we collaborate, discuss, and launch the most effective and impactful brand communications possible while meeting client timing and budget parameters.

EDUCATION: B.A. Studio Art, University of Northern Iowa; M.A. Interactive Design, University of Minnesota

Partner + Designer

Being self-employed in the service industry for much of my childhood, I filled my days designing countless menus, creating seating charts, taking customer orders, providing crayons to the the kiddos, preparing and serving plastic food (sometimes hibachi-style), and attending to my ‘real’ and ‘stuffed’ customers’ every need. I’ve been creating immersive customer experiences since I can remember.

Each day, I enjoy the challenge of concepting, creating, and evaluating the potential impact of all types of visual communication for specific and diverse audiences. My educational background and work experience have become intertwined as we collaborate with clients to deliver design that inspires action, expands awareness, and educates.

I collaborate with clients to reach beyond what is comfortable, familiar, and safe to deliver surprising, affordable, and effective solutions. Working closely with clients, our understanding of their businesses, objectives, and needs is continually clarified so that we can create visually exciting, engaging, and focused graphic and interactive materials that meet and exceed client expectations.

EDUCATION: B.S. Graphic Design / Retail Merchandising, University of Minnesota; Minor: Business Management, Carlson School of Management

Creative + Engaging Copywriter 

With a background in film and communication, I received a BA in Studies in Cinema and Media Culture as well as in Communication Studies. And having worked most of my career extensively in media, I know it’s the words and stories we tell that shape who we know ourselves to be, how powerfully we show up in the world, and determine what we think is possible to create and imagine. This is why I believe the stories we tell matter and why I love capturing and sharing other’s unique stories. 

I’ve written copy, edited, and proofread for a variety of clients ranging from in-depth research pieces and creative social media posts, to lifestyle articles as well as technical copywriting and brand marketing — effectively connecting the audience with the brand and organization.

I am a multifaceted writer with my work crossing diverse genres. I thrive in the creative process and love the experience of being immersed in learning and problem solving. And through writing I endeavor to engage, connect, and inspire.

EDUCATION: University of Minnesota

Business Development Manager

Before landing at BTD Brand, I put my business administration, sales, and marketing majors to use in retail and commercial locations for Sherwin Williams. And in what turned into a 25-year career, my endless curiosity and customer-focused work ethic led me to work in a plethora of different fields including retail, commercial, industrial, and outside sales, as well as management. 

Now working in sales and business development for a brand, design, and marketing agency, I’m able to integrate my business acumen, sales expertise, and interpersonal communication skills to build meaningful relationships with clients, understanding their goals, needs, and concerns.

I look forward to the always-new connection with people — learning about what they do and discovering how we can help grow their business, develop their brand, and connect with their own customers.

EDUCATION: American Institute of Business

clients: past and present

our values


We hear you, for real. Your ideas and input fuel our ability to create an amazing, memorable brand and great marketing for you. To realize your vision we listen to your needs, address any possible hurdles, and work in tandem to deliver what you need.


Your tight budget, tricky project, or a last-minute request is at the top of our list. We know how to get great work done. Every project, big or small, gets our full creativity, ideas, and solutions so any problems along the way don’t stall, stunt, or stop our progress.


You need answers. Whether it’s a do-or-die emergency or a quick how-to question, we’re ready to help. Never wonder if it’s ok to call, email, or schedule a meeting because chances are if you are wondering about something, it’s time to ask.

BTD Brand is your go-to creative team to bring your marketing ideas to life with brand-aligned strategy, design & copywriting.

Contact Us About Your Brand or Project Needs

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