You’ve seen the incredibly helpful designs around the Union pinpointing you to the right classroom or meeting place (and let’s not forget the Naruto run guy by the bathrooms). Sharon is the talented designer behind this project as well as many others. She focuses her efforts on making systems that work to make the lives of others easier. We’d like to take a moment and introduce you to the designer who has the kindness and humility to match her overflowing talent.
What drew you to graphic design?
“For the longest time I never even knew that graphic design was a thing. I stumbled across a YouTube video of a Photoshop manipulation tutorial, and it was definitely not the tutorial for someone who never even saved a file in PS… I literally fought my way through the tutorial not knowing anything about the program, and somehow I completed it. I was really happy with what I created and enjoyed the challenge, so I started to watch tutorials regularly to learn more. Long story short, that tiny interest turned into a hobby, then a passion, and will soon be my career.”
What is your favorite thing about what you do?
“My favorite thing is that design thinking and making has me constantly learning something new. Sometimes it’s a new technique and most times it’s learning about a new field I didn’t even know existed. I like to really dive into the research phase and do my best to become a “mini-expert” on the subject I’m designing for. I find that the better my research is, the better my solution turns out. I think of research as the creative ammunition to my process and outcome.”
What are your strengths, in your own words?
“Design should exist for the betterment of people and our society. As a designer, you bring ideas into existence in our world, so to be a designer with little care for the world is a dangerous thing. My strength as a designer comes into play by being both an empathetic and systematic thinker. I create with the intent to serve others, and I have the systematic mindset to execute it as well.”
What is your favorite thing you’ve ever designed?
“My favorite project I designed is the UNT Union’s wayfinding system! This was actually my first project at Design Works, and before working here I had a little suspicion that I was a systematic thinker. I remember Steve asking me in my job interview what type of projects I’d like to work on, and I said “I think I’d be good at systematic projects..” I’m glad he trusted me and paired me with this project.
This project kept me in a weird limbo of being out of my comfort zone intellectually while being in my comfort zone intuitively…if that makes sense. I had never even heard of the term “wayfinding” before starting this project, so the first thing I did was go to the library and check out every book on wayfinding to teach myself as much as I could. As the months went on, the project helped confirm my little suspicion, and I realized I did have a knack for thinking/creating systematically.
I began this project in the Summer of 2018, and we were finally able to it come alive in the Spring of 2019.”
What staple songs are on your playlist?
“New Light by John Mayer
M.I.A. by Avenged Sevenfold
Semente by Snarky Puppy
Sweet Disposition by Temper Trap
and It Is Well by Bethel Music”
What’s your favorite color?
“My favorite color has like 5 different names (cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, lapis blue, YInMn blue, etc.). I’m not sure which one it is, but I know it when I see it! It’s also happens to be the most annoying color because you can’t really reproduce its vibrance through pigments, so its unlikely to find something that physically exists in that color.
…I also like yellow.”
What is your brain food?
“My brain food is a bowl of plain Cheerios with mini marshmallows and some spicy Indian mixture. (Separately, not at the same time. And yes, the snack is just called “mixture.”)”
What are your goals for the future?
“My goals for the future (the condensed version): to stay curious, never get too comfortable, stay humble when praised, be kinder to myself, and live more in the present.”
If you want to view more of Sharon’s work or simply are curious about the rest of her portfolio, you can see her website here! Go ahead and give Sharon a follow on Instagram to stay current on her new projects: @smathew98.