CREATIVE DIRECTOR/FOUNDER, MERMAID, INC., NEW YORK NY
Sharon Lloyd McLaughlin grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Her childhood was filled with the wonder of the bayou and its wildlife inhabitants, a wonder that informs her sensibility still. Sharon’s insatiable appetite for the beautiful and the new led her to the Graphic Design program at LSU, where she fell in love with typography and the power of imagery. After finishing school, she moved to New York City with a one-way ticket and a collection of her favorite fonts. Sharon immediately found work as a staff designer, happily immersing herself in the energy and diversity of life in the city, and developing a fascination with architecture. This led her to work on real estate campaigns, with their beauty shots of soaring buildings, their finely detailed drawings, and their energetic culture. Having achieved success as a brand strategist, Sharon struck out on her own in 2001 and formed her company Mermaid, Inc. A recipient of over 200 awards since its founding, Mermaid creates branding, design, and marketing concepts for a broad range of clients. Sharon leverages her network of copywriters, photographers, web developers, and other creatives to build award-winning campaigns that are loved by clients and designers alike.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Be curious. Being a graphic designer is much more than just design, so: Learn to code. Immerse yourself in paper stocks. Study photography and take your own photographs. The more you know, the more expressive you can be. Oh, and learn to write an invoice!
HOW DOES WHERE YOU WERE BORN, GREW UP OR LIVE NOW EFFECT YOUR DESIGN SENSIBILITY OR STYLE?
I grew up on the bayous of Louisiana and moved to the canyons of New York City. This is reflected in the way I see the world, which is in turn reflected in my design work. Two environments, two influences – the tension between them creates an energy that drives me and my work forward.
Green, any hue
Paris Pro by Moshik Nadav
TwistedSifter.com, Trendland.com, NewYorkTimes.com
FAVORITE TV SHOW?
Face Off, Battlestar Galactica
Dune series by Frank Herbert
FAVORITE MUSICIANS OR BANDS?
2 Cellos and Florence + the Machine
FAVORITE FINE ARTISTS?
Gustav Klimt, Sandro Botticelli, Ansel Adams
GREATEST STRENGTH AS A DESIGNER?
No off switch
TALENT YOU WISHED YOU POSSESSED?
IF YOU WERE NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
Scuba Dive master
A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?