A lover of the countryside, Shannon hits the road at 6:00am from southern Maryland. On an average day, it takes her a whopping 2.5 hours to get to the studio—now, that’s dedication. Shannon has been designing publications and print collateral for education and public health programs at Design Lab 360 for six years. Prior to that, she designed packaging for a toy company, where she developed an obsession for Mr. Potato Heads. Her lesser-known skills include knitting and operating a folk lift (seriously, she’s actually licensed).
What was your very first design project?
Ever? I think I was about six or seven years old when I created a book called Top Secret: Tricks to play on Dana (my sister); it included illustrations and maps. Professionally, it was a redesign of a women’s health newsletter called The Lark Letter.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from everywhere. It depends on the project, but I’ve gotten inspiration from driving, random conversations, even weird dreams.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn?
To speak and write Arabic.
What project are you most proud of?
Probably the Health Native Babies Project from a few years ago. It wasn’t the most ground-breaking design, but the project really spoke to the specific audience and addressed an important issue (reducing the instances of SIDS within Native American communities). I also really enjoyed working with the client. More recently, I’ve enjoyed working on the interactive PDFs. I think the functionality is pretty cool and I enjoyed teaching myself a new skill.
Who are your design idols?
The people who design the window displays and catalogues for Anthropologie. I also really like the Takashimaya NYC catalogues — but I heard that store closed I guess I like thoughtful catalogues.
How do you spend your weekends?
Catching up on laundry and TV shows, while spending time with my husband, baby boy, and our husky, Whitney. If we get a wild hair, we like to get Robeks smoothies and walk around the lake. I’ve also been getting into quilting…some recent fabric swatches are below.
What advice can you give to designers who want to use their talent for social good?
Volunteer! There are so many different directions you can go in, I think volunteering is the best way to focus your ambition, learn about yourself, and build your career in a way that meets your personal goals.
Shannon is always looking to expand her Mr. Potato Head collection. If you have a unique one, send her a Tweet (@snsmith99).