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Designer of the Month: Shie Sison


Meet Shie Sison, our June Designer of the Month!  



SISON DESIGNS are now available to shop on the Fashion Formula website.



Read on to find out all about her design processes and her advice for new designers.




What is your studio name and where are you located?

While doing full-time mom and wife duties, I am also a full-pledged designer and illustrator. I have a little studio that goes by the name SISON DESIGNS that is currently located in Doha, Qatar.


Where did you study (if you did)? 

I went to the University of the Philippines - Diliman and graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. 


What first sparked your interest in print design?

Since I was a little girl, I have always looked up to my mom who has a great sense of art, fashion and style. Her choices in fabric design and home accessories have given me a big deal of inspiration towards my passion for surface pattern design now. On the other hand, my dad who is very much into giving beautiful greeting cards to each and everyone in the family for each occasion, also paved the way for my great love for it and as such, inspired me to create handmade greeting cards since my childhood days. Fast forward to now, I am grateful and humbled to be doing designs for one of the biggest brands of greeting cards worldwide.

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Describe your design process


I gather a mood board of images and color palettes to jumpstart the inspiration I need. This, for me, is the most fundamental step towards the next stages.


I normally start by creating a rough draft on my iPad or scratch paper. I will then do a pencil-sketch of the elements on a watercolor paper and then paint the elements using watercolor and/or other type of art media (metallic paint, white ink, etc.). Sometimes I will just paint the elements straight away onto watercolor paper.


I scan all the elements (300 DPI) and bring them all together in various design applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Procreate on iPad etc.


Each submission usually comes with a revision, usually just a minor one. I would readily work on the necessary changes right away so my turnaround time would be much quicker than expected.


 Describe your style in 5 words

 Contemporary, colorful, delicate watercolor style 



What is your favourite medium to work in and why?

Definitely watercolor as I feel that its versatility challenges me or better yet, inspires me to try and experiment with various rendering styles with it. I also work with other art media such as gouache and digital with a mix of fine liner pens and colored pencils.


What is your favourite part of the design process?

I actually have 2 favorite parts of the whole design process.

First is the painting of the elements, playing with colors and experimenting with various media. This is when I get to be wild and free with the kind of painting style I want to apply.

Second is the last stage, which is the design approval, product mock-ups/samples to see the finished product. For me, it’s when all the love and effort for my work has paid off. 





Who do you design for? Who is your muse?

I design for clients, art directors and creative directors who appreciate the work that I do, love my style and are passionate in sharing the same vision as myself.

My muse is my husband, our daughter, my mom, my dad, my 2 brothers, my in-laws, our relatives and our dearest friends who inspire me to become a better version of myself as a designer.


What / who are your major influences?

My parents have been two of my greatest influences from birth because of their love for print design and all things fancy. Another major influence is my older brother who was my first teacher in color blending at the age of 5. His teachings became one of the fundamental tools I needed to fuel my passion in art and design.

I was encouraged to create a social media account by some schoolmates in Manila and dear friends in Doha who saw some of my sketches and doodles a few years back.

With my husband and daughter’s great support in helping me balance my day-to-day life as a full-time mom/wife and designer, a few years later everything just fell into place.


Favourite music when designing

I love listening to Taylor Swift. Her music is just so awesome; it soothes my mind while working. I also love listening to modern jazz, R&B and pop, depending on my mood and style of painting.


Best exhibition/museum/research trip/inspirational place

In 2017, my brother and his family took us to NASA Space Center Houston and it was one of the best trips I have been on. Being there brought me to a totally different level, both emotionally and mentally. It was such an important experience wherein science drove my creativity to different heights - that anything and everything is indeed possible. In the same year, I also visited the Doha Firestation Gallery, which displayed some of Picasso’s paintings for almost a month. It was such a surreal, firsthand experience to see the artworks of a very famous artist and one that I look up to.

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What has been your career highlight so far?

I am humbly grateful so far that I have been given the opportunity to design for one of the biggest brands in the gift and card industry worldwide. I am also currently involved in creating designs for some local retail brands in the Philippines and I am also blessed to be learning and working with an art agent now. On the side, I am doing some calligraphy works for some of the well-renowned luxury brands in Doha.


What are you working on at the moment?

Right now, I am doing custom artworks for some clients as well as prepping up seasonal designs for next month’s art submissions.


What do you hope to accomplish in the future?

I pray that I just keep on doing what I do but I do hope to be able to create my own design collection and eventually formalize my own brand and meet more awesome clients, art directors and creative directors in the retail and print industry.


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What is your biggest challenge you have faced as a designer?

Time management is by far the greatest challenge I have faced. As a full-time mom and wife, balancing personal responsibilities and design work have been a constant work in progress. I am just so grateful to my family for assisting me with my chores at home and always understanding my work schedule, especially when there are very tight deadlines to be met.


Do you have any tips for new designers starting out?

We all start as new designers. Yet, even after years of designing have passed, I still consider myself a new designer now. In my mind, I always think that this creative journey of mine will constantly be a never-ending learning process. It does keep getting better financially but the creative aspect will never stop.

I still do research on many aspects of the business part of my work and I still experiment on ways to better my skills in painting. I also constantly reading other artist and designer blogs and I just never stop believing that there is still more that I have to explore. It’s the thirst for learning and upgrading your skills that will drive you to horizons you never thought you would imagine. There will be lots of questions of why’s, how come’s, and what if’s along the way. You will even experience different kinds of trials and even failures - but never quit. You might find yourself hoarding on different art materials which some or most of them you may not really use at all and that’s okay. What matters is you like what you are doing - you love it and you want it. Focus your mind on your craft and your goal. In addition, having a wonderfully crafted social media feed will be an instant portfolio for you to showcase your work to different people in your industry.


To all new designers out there, I cheer for you! Let’s keep our passion for art and design alive and aflame.


SISON DESIGNS are now available to shop on the Fashion Formula website.




Tags: new designer, designer of the month, sison, sison designs, print, botanical, floral, seasonal, xmas, christmas, weather, blog


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