We can hardly believe it’s been nearly a year since Krongporn (Mint) Thongongarj was last in the studio. Already working in the big leagues at Johnson & Johnson and continuing to work on her 2018 thesis venture, we were curious to hear her fresh perspective on the industry and post-grad life.
What are you up to professionally?
I’m a graphic designer on brand design team, which is mainly responsible for feminine and baby care products. Along with my main career, I also am doing illustration for magazines and online media.
What are some of your recent, favorite, most challenging, or most interesting projects?
My favorite project is still Translasian, my thesis venture at the program. Translasian is a series of products and workshops that assist international students from East Asia to overcome their culture barrier and adapt to New York with confidence and comfort.
Now, I’m developing “Let’s Phrase it” cards game with SVA Groundfloor and hopefully it will be useful for incoming students. It is a matching cards game that aims to help new comer to understand popular idioms, New York slang, millennial slang and what people really mean when they say it. The challenge of this project is how to make this gamified experience fun but also educating. I am in process of developing game function and how to make it easy for user to understand.
Another favorite from my recent works is an illustration I did for A Day magazine in Thailand. I got to develop and learn how to communicate my idea better and also be able to display my own illustration style.
We love learning what inspires our students and alums. For Mint, inspiration stems from other creative people.
How do you stay inspired?
Well, what works for me is to stay inspired by people both in the design industry and who I surrounded myself with. People always amaze me with their passion and specialties. I always keep my eyes and ears open to see what others people are up to. Also, I regularly go to design lectures to see others’ creative processes and experiences throughout their career. Almost every time, I pick up some good practices to use either for work or personal. It really motivates me to learn and to try new things that is outside my comfort zone.
Besides my full-time job, I regularly find personal projects to do on the side. It’s either taking classes to learn new skills or giving myself challenges to create something regularly within a deadline.
Which designers do you admire most nowadays?
There are so many amazing designers that I admire in each specific field. I love Anna Kulachek’s graphic design, Franchesco Franchii’s infographic works, Matt Willey’s editorial design, Jean Jullien’s illustrations, Mitch Paone‘s kinetic type, Katy Wang’s animation and the list go on.
Finally, we hoped to learn what insights Mint could offer now that she’s had some time to reflect on the program. For future students, this perspective can be invaluable.
What advice would you give incoming students?
My advice for the incoming students is to be persistent, and definitely never compare yourself to others. The only person you want to be better than is yourself yesterday. It’s totally normal if the work you do doesn’t come out as you expected, the most important thing is to keep trying.
The Gap by Ira Glass is really good source of motivation for anybody who is in doubt.
What is your favorite part of the MFA Design program?
My favorite part of the program was to be able to surrounded myself with so many talents. Not only the faculty and guest speakers, but also my classmates. It is so inspiring to see each person’s way of thinking, design process, and their superpowers.
Did our program’s multidisciplinary approach help you?
The program’s multidisciplinary approach helped me to not only explore what I like to do, but also expanded my design skills and prepared me for the industry. The program helped me to think of design as a whole system, more about problem solving than simply making something visually pleasing.
What impact has SVA MFA Design had on your career?
We have a pretty good alumni connections. I got a job from our Facebook group while I was in school and worked closely with one of the Alumni from class of 2016, Rachel Costantino. Now, I am at Johnson & Johnson and got to work briefly with Sarah Foley from class of 2007.
MFADers are everywhere!
If you could choose a thesis topic today, what would you pick?