An American Entrepreneurial Story.

This American Entrepreneurial story is summed up with strong leadership, a solid vision, a willingness to adjust, and an amazing team that shared the vision. In addition, a relentless determination to push the boundaries through innovation.

The journey started from humble beginnings and ends giving back to the next generation. We are so grateful to all those who have trusted us to do what we do best, be creative!

AS FOR SDA… 2017 Is the final step of our amazing journey, thank you and farewell.


1986 - 1987
PROLOGUE: A Rebel Company Is Born

Young and full of ambitious ideas, 19 year old Dave Sutherland founded the company, originally known as Live Lights. The culture of the company that first year was one of a rebel group who shared the ideals of this unusual companies founder. With the founder being the only one full time, those who joined up during the early stages were a truly rare breed, forged from the stuff of legends, but that is a story for another time.

Live Lights, like other great rebel startups of the time, operated out of a garage located in Southern California. Dave secured a small $30,000 loan and equipped the company with an innovative lighting system. A new type of lighting design company was born and from day one would challenged the status quo.

1988 - 1991
ACT 1: The Journey Begins

No longer a teenager, Dave made a strategic pivot, embraced his professional side and pushed into the live corporate production market. He established the companies first contact in that market with a Technical Producer from a leading Arizona based production company. This move would be the beginning of a journey into a very elite group of companies and professionals who delivered pure excellence.

The companies size and scope began to explode and a full time team was built. The company had earned a stellar reputation for professionalism and excellence, all the while maintaining its unique entrepreneurial culture. Live Lights was well known for unapologetically pushing innovation at every turn and would go on to influence the industry in many ways.

1992 - 2005
ACT 2: Grow Through Innovation

Live Lights innovative approach caught the eye of a consumer electronics company. They presented an opportunity that would require the company to expand its services to include full production. While an expansion of this magnitude presented tremendous business opportunities, it would take solid leadership to insure the culture and focus of the company would be preserved.

In the end a new expanded path was forged and every aspect of the company from administrative to operations was retooled for maximum efficiency. The transition had been successfully implemented and the focus and culture was preserved. Live Lights was forever changed and would boldly move on to embrace all areas of production for corporate meetings and exhibits.

2006 - 2014
ACT 3: Embrace Full Potential

Live lights broke the mold once again, reinventing itself through an innovative design approach, something the company referred to as Spatial Design. To better reflect this innovative approach, the company was rebranded as Sutherland Design Agency.

After decades of success, the creative force behind the company was beginning to look to new horizons. It was the summer of 2012 during the design phase of a project for the same client that pushed the company forward two decades earlier, that a move was made to make this the last official project. January 2013 saw its successful conclusion and by mid 2014 all smaller design commitments had also been fulfilled. Sutherland Design Agency had embraced its full potential.

2015 - 2017
EPILOGUE: Inspire The Next Generation

With all professional projects now part of the companies legacy, one last thing remained, help inspire the next generation of designers. This final goal would be realized through a special educational brand which allowed high school homeschool students rare access to Sutherland Design Agency methods and processes.

To help fund this endeavor, Sutherland Design Agency also provided limited consulting services to select corporate clients. The final part of this American Entrepreneurial Story was complete. The hope is that someone will be inspired through this story and be the next great design force to innovate new and beautiful things.


Image of logos from Sutherland Design Agency projects.

The representation of the above logos does not constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship, or recommendation thereof by their respective companies. These logos are used for representation of some of the projects Sutherland Design Agency or any of its subsidiaries have been apart of.