Last year, Apirat Infahsaeng designed a series of T-shirts that remarked on the metaphysical conundrum of “feeling lonely in the universe.” The shirts comment on that solitude and the related proposition that “celestial forces are the only things bringing people together.” These aren’t merely observations about an existential state of mind; they are statements about contemporary graphic design itself.
Infahsaeng’s philosophical intensity expresses itself in frenetic work that has many layers of imagery and message. “I like the idea of multiple reads,” he says, adding, “I feel like if I don’t do as much as I can, I’m either short-changing myself or the people who are looking at the work I’m doing.” His maximalist approach applies to his schedule, too. In addition to working full-time as a senior designer at Ogilvy & Mather’s Brand Integration Group (BIG), where he has worked on projects for American Express, Warner Bros., and Perrier, he juggles freelance assignments and self-initiated projects: cut-paper collages, posters, and T-shirts.
Infahsaeng grew up in Connecticut, where his parents, both from Thailand, made their home after meeting in the United States. Artistry runs in the family: His father is a painter and sculptor, and his grandfather created murals for Buddhist temples in Thailand. Although Infahsaeng says he isn’t conscious of a Thai influence on his work, his father found the curves and flourishes of the lettering Infahsaeng drew for New York magazine’s 2008 Fall Preview to be reminiscent of Thai architecture.
Infahsaeng studied design at the University of Connecticut, but the school’s training—heavy on a formal approach—didn’t resonate with him as much as the creative process exemplified at BIG. There, the design process involves extensive visual brainstorming, something the young designer finds immensely satisfying. “That thinking, it works better for me—just making infinite amounts of form, definitely appeals to me.”