In the lead up to DA’s 10th birthday celebrations in March 2019, A Brush With Design asks 10 designers who have been involved with DA at various times to nostalgically recount their first memory of encountering design. In this fourth iteration we spoke with designer Shaun Lee.
I didn’t learn about graphic design until I was 19. I was bored and drawing all over my biochemistry notes. A career in design looked like a way to make money from doing something I enjoyed but also a clearer way to make a difference in the world than becoming a genetic engineer. It took me much longer to understand what design was (and I am still learning what good design is). I recently explained it in a lecture to some marine biology students like this.
Design has its similarities and differences with the scientific method.
One of the main things design allows me to do (as someone who is trying to make a difference) is really own the problem. Right from rewriting the brief to re-assessing the performance of the piece in market. You don’t get to do that using the scientific method which is better suited to understanding stuff than making stuff. But both ways of doing stuff are a lot better than natural selection which has made some incredible stuff (including us) but it’s horrifically slow!
I have been obsessed with design ever since I changed my career path. By defining design as an approach I have been medium agnostic which has made for a interesting and profitable career. Making a difference has become a significant and rewarding focus.