August 23, 2022 | Bryan Wanzer

Design Careers: Sara Cantor guides students through careers in design and social impact

Sara Cantor is a designer, co-founder and executive director of a social impact design firm and a self-described “pissed-off optimist”.

We humanize career exploration by featuring real humans doing real things. Our mentors provide candid advice on how they got started and the steps to get there.


When Sara learned that you could be an adult who designed toys for a living, she was sold. She went to college for mechanical engineering with the dream of being a toy designer. However, she did poorly in engineering classes and finally realized that there was a difference between design and engineering. 

Sara went to graduate school for human-centered design and found her niche in design research: learning about people’s needs in order to come up with solutions that would improve their lives. After spending seven years in the corporate world doing design consulting, Sara felt dissatisfied with her impact. Rather than improving people’s lives, she was mostly helping clients make more money off of people’s insecurities. So Sara started Greater Good Studio, a social design firm, to work exclusively with nonprofits and other organizations who are building a more equitable society and has led the studio for over 10 years.

“Quitting is not failing. Quitting is just changing your mind because of new information. I truly wish that someone had told me that a long time ago.”

Sara Cantor, Social Impact Designer and find your grind mentor

Sara describes herself as a pissed-off optimist. She’s angry about the injustice in the work and the systems of oppression that keep our society from reaching its full potential. But she is also a designer that is eternally optimistic that together we can create a better way. Her work at Greater Good Studio has done work all over the country, partnering with nonprofits, foundations and local communities to bring positive change to the world. While doing work that has a direct impact on others, Sara and her studio are also focused on helping folks access more inclusive and equitable design practices.

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