Designer Spotlight: Simon Lam


Where do you work, and what is your title?
Art Director at 2e Creative

How long have you been in the design industry?
7 years

How did you end up in your field?
My mom is a self-taught seamstress and my sister is a fashion designer, so it was almost natural that I turned to a creative field of sort. I went to architecture school in Venezuela and got my degree, but never practiced my new career as I transitioned to the US. I came to St. Louis in 2006 to attend Maryville University’s graphic design program, obtained my BFA two and a half years later, and here I am now.

Tell us about one of your most memorable projects.
At 2e, all of our work has that special feeling attached to it because we work with several companies and organizations in the healthcare field. But one project sticks out for me personally: a rebrand we completed for the language interpreters at LAMP. Last year, the Language Access Metro Project (LAMP) came to us asking for some help with their brand. LAMP started as a non-profit organization that offered translation services to non-English-speaking medical patients. But over the years, they have expanded their services to cover academic, legal, corporate and government areas, and they needed a new brand that conveyed the breadth of their services. Being an immigrant myself, I immediately felt a connection with them because I know first-hand how much value and relief they offer to their clients. Technical language is difficult in and of itself, so you can imagine how overwhelming and scary it can be for immigrants that don’t speak much English to deal with highly specific content. During this project, Eduardo and Beatriz (the clients) were extremely helpful in providing all the information and insights we needed, and more importantly, they trusted us 100 percent, which made our relationship and our creative that much stronger. In the end, we created a brand that showcased their diverse strengths, and both LAMP and 2e couldn’t be any happier with the results. We are currently working with them to update their website so it highlights the new brand, and I’m very excited to see it come to life.

What is your favorite place in St. Louis to find inspiration?
First place that comes to my mind is Art Hill in Forest Park, which is not necessary a source of inspiration (although it can easily be) but more so a place for me to clear my head whenever I’m stuck. There’s something about that amazing view of the city along with the people watching that I find really relaxing. I actually have been finding a lot of inspiration on Instagram lately; there’s so much creativity living in that space.

Who is your design hero?
Aaron Draplin for his ability to see the basic meaning of shapes and make them work beautifully together. Stefan Sagmeister for his innovative typographic approaches. Quim Marin and Lotta Nieminem for their sophisticated and minimalistic vision…And a bunch of great illustrators and letterers out there that are just killing it #IWannaBeLikeThem

Do you have favorite music for fueling your creativity?
It depends on my mood. My music taste is all over the place, so it’s just easier to share my Spotify Profile.

Tell us about a design-related book, essay, film, video or other form of media that’s important to you.
One clip that comes to mind is Ira Glass’ The Gap where he talks about taste. I mean, we all go through that self-doubt phase and I think it is healthy to do so as long as you know why. Never be a conformist with your work and passion; always question yourself to become better.

How important is it to know what other designers are doing in your industry?
Influences come from everywhere, and that includes your peers.

What advice do you have for an up-and-coming designer?

  • See the bigger picture. Don’t focus on just one aspect of a solution, but study and approach it from all possible angles.
  • Don’t be scared to reach out to people in the design community and ask questions. Once in a while, you just have to be annoying and bother people.
  • Create great friendships with your coworkers
  • All-caps condensed sans serif is always the best choice #realtalk.
  • Get professionally printed business cards — the first impression is everything.
  • Research and find inspiration, but make sure you make it your own.
  • It’s important to have a personal style, but make sure you can adapt said style to fit different clientele and industries.
  • Do a lot of personal side projects, free or paid.
  • And of course, keep supporting AIGA!

Design in St. Louis is ƒµ©#ing underrated.

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