Image credit: Kriston Chen
Professional, detail-oriented and precise is just a few ways to describe New York-based graphic designer and illustrator Shagari Guity. Born in Honduras, Shagari honed his skills at Parsons The New School for Design (formerly Parsons School of Design) and has gone on to created logos, media kits, invitations and more for companies such VIBE Magazine, one of the nation’s foremost urban publications boasting a readership of 1,900,000 (Source: 2003 Spring MRI), his own brand Shagari Guity Design and a little site called The Gentleman’s Daily.
Working primarily with Print Design, his work is an eclectic mash-up of colorful, edgy, 1950s and 1960s typography yet it maintains an elegant approach especially with corporate identity campaigns. Gearing up to launch his sports apparel company, we caught up with the jet setter to discuss all things design, food and life.
What is your design aesthetic?
Colorful, bold, exciting and urban. It has character with a sense of edginess. It’s like Basquait meets Oscar de la Renta.
What made you become interested in design?
Drawing is my number one passion and has been since the age of seven so I knew when I entered Parsons The New School for Design that a concentration in design or illustration well suited my desires. I obtained a B.F.A. in Communication Design, which has allowed me to utilize graphic design skills as well as love of typography, especially when creating commercial art, ad promos and corporate identity packages.
What are your influences? Inspirations?
My influences vary from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Oscar de la Renta to Jay-Z to my mentor Julian Alexander to David LaChapelle, just to name a few. I am inspired the most by food, people, style, the weather, dancehall, Spanish ballads and Sagmeister.
Describe your process when working on a project?
Typically it involves 1)meeting with the client which includes estimation of services, project timeline and a face-to-face, 2) submitting 2-3 design concepts, 3) after selection of concept (s), there is a revision, 4) final design is created and 5) completion of project. My goal is always ensure that the client is happy and that I listen carefully to what is being asked of me.
What was your first professional project?
While in high school I designed a logo that would eventually be placed on a March of Dimes t-shirt for a national campaign that was launched. Later, after college, my first project was designing a business card for an experimental hip-hop producer.
If you were to have a dinner party, which seven people would you invite?
Andy Warhol, Julia Childs, Anthony Bourdin, Celia Cruz, Jay-Z, Hype Williams and Courtney Sloane.
What is your dream project?
Now since I am transitioning into sports apparel design, I would love to produce a fashion show, with internationally recognized footballers wearing the designs, held in a huge stadium. It would be totally unexpected and different from anything I have ever done before.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Paraguay. It has to be one of the most relaxing places I have ever visited. The vibe is very relaxed and the people are so beautiful and inviting. Though there are no beaches, a multitude of other activities such as night life and food, makes up for the lack of.
What is your favorite drink?
I don’t drink alcohol, coffee or tea so my drink of my choice is a combination of celery, beets, carrots, apples and a booster with orange juice as the base.
What is your favorite meal?
Tripe. It is an acquired taste but if prepared properly it is delicious!
What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?
Meditate. While at Parsons, I failed to realize that between trying to juggle an extremely heavy course load and several jobs at once, that a lot decisions were made and not always for the best. At times, it became severely daunting but life is full of those experiences we all must partake in.
What is the best design product ever?
One word: iPod! It is one of the most remarkable gadgets created. The functionality embodies a level of perfection; from music storage to the ability to save files to viewing designs and much more.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I want to shift to something more tangible and create a form of design that people can grasp such as toys, furniture and electronic items. Also I am working on a high-end apparel line so expect to see that in a store near you!
What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
-Do your homework which includes the business side of the industry. There is more to design than design.
-Try to perfect your craft!
-Find your own identity!
-Keep current on all trends
What would you like your legacy to be?
Someone who never gave up on life or my dreams, always focused and dedicated and managed to achieve the impossible and personified the word “resilience.”
For more information about Shagari, visit: