May 27, 2008

May 25, 2008

Design for the World

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Social responsibility + design.

Fire Drill

Going Up
Originally uploaded by shaire productions
This photo was taken while I was doing a photowalk, where I just take a camera and go exploring in the city. There's never a dull moment. In this shot, the firefighters practiced climbing the ladder and hitting the rooftop. . .

May 22, 2008

Cultural Editors

I bought the book Design Your Self by Karim Rashid (fashion and furniture designer) the other day. Some of the things he mentions in the book is pretty common sense stuff (about how to live your life through balance), but there are a few interesting points. He mentions designers as being "cultural editors" and that there are three types of beings: "those who create culture, those who consume culture, and those who don't give a damn about culture."

I do agree that designers can have enormous cultural power to create fads and change the scope of culture. Look at the impact design has had on Apple--from the functional design of the iPod to the silhouette ads (influenced by the 1900 Victorian cuts). From aesthetics to mass consumerism, design not only affects our visual palette, but how we live and the bottom line. Japanese products are indicative of the design culture and the American market of product design has been catching on. Aesthetics sell.

To say that it's only designers who have this power of "cultural editor" may be a bit presumptuous. Society is made up by many different types of people, and everyone can make a ripple in their own way--from academics to artists and everyone else in-between. Passion is what makes people "cultural editors," not necessarily what your line of work is. That passion affects so many things: your outlook on life affects your relationships, demeanor, and the actions you take. I've heard people say that 'work is who you are', but I know plenty of people who can't work in their field that they're passionate about due to external circumstances, or are transitioning into what they love to do. If you have an external passion aside from work, that can provide happiness and a sense of balance.

May 20, 2008


I designed this birthday card for my buddy, Drew, who happens to be a huge fan of Guinness. Corny, but it was a really fun personal project.

May 17, 2008

Blogging Adventures

Hey hey. Thanks for stopping by. This is my very first blog (aka. Public CyberDiary). Let me start off by telling you a bit of myself. My name's Sherrie Thai. I'm the art director of my venture, Shaire Productions, where I produce graphic design and illustration for clients. I also hold down a full-time job as a designer, but in true freelance mentality, I never believed in putting all your eggs in one basket, so I still keep side projects going (it could also be the workaholic in me too). My background is in the fine arts (drawings, glass etchings, lettering, photography and book arts)--self-taught, but have always kept it separate from the commercial design, and it eventually fell on the back-burner. For many years, I've only focused on the commercial aspect of design--mainly for survival--but now, my outlook has become more introspective. The fine arts mentality of "do what you will" has been peeking through more steadily and has fueled me to straddle both commercialism and fine arts expressionism. I've been searching for alternative creative outlets; this blog is one method.

Another is my website. I've been so busy for the last 10 years working away on client projects that I've never had a chance to work on my personal site. Right now, I only have a free site through Coroflot. . . but with more time available, I've decided to concentrate specifically on my website, and although it leaves less time for other things, it's been very fulfilling . . . so stay tuned for an interactive book portfolio in the coming months!

There has been encouraging news within the last couple of weeks that I just can't contain. I was involved with the design of an online eldercare site (AGIS) which has received an Honorary Nomination for a Webby Award this year. Whoohoo! The same day, I received word that one of my photos would be part of a California Tour Guide. I've always enjoyed taking photos, but never thought it would be published. Check it out: Schmap California Events

One of the most encouraging news was a mention in a design tutorial and an inclusion of my sketchbooks. Role of Sketching in the Design Process by Sean Hodge is a discussion on the importance of conceptualizing through sketching. I was honored to have discovered my inclusion in the article, as I wholeheartedly agree with the importance of sketching during the design process. Unfortunately, I've noticed a decline with some designers when it comes to developing ideas on paper. It's not all about having the best and cleanest drawings as it is about working through and developing your ideas. I have tried going straight to the computer to knock stuff out, but I'd have a creative block and struggle with the work for hours. I started changing my routine and spent some time sketching out ideas and noticed I was able to cut down on the production time. Art is about experimentation and experience; conceptualizing at the start helps to organize thoughts in a more linear fashion. I suppose I may be a purist in upholding the design process.

Anyway, hope to update this blog with something new each week. . .