sixteen years of design innovation

Shawn's work has spanned a wide breadth of industries over the last sixteen years, from Condé Nast to Google, Apple, and Airbnb. He has trained under legendary designers, like Milton Glaser and Stefan Sagmeister. He's also been a part of big business transformations like IBM's implementation of design-thinking at scale and Facebook's forays into the metaverse.

Shawn is an adjunct professor at the California College of Arts in the graduate Interaction Design program, where he teaches visual design in the Fall and his own class, Futureproof, on creative thinking and speculative design, in the Spring. He also developed a historical walking tour of San Francisco's lost queer nightlife scene, Unspeakable Vice, which examines the origins of queer identity and wonders how it might evolve next.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
specialization is for insects
special- ization is for insects.
—robert heinlein

Each Spring at California College of Arts, Shawn teaches a class on creative problem-solving and adaptability titled Futureproof. This course was inspired by childhood training with creative drills, which prepared him for a career in research and development. Over several months, students learn evidence-based techniques for improving elastic thinking and analyzing opportunities.  LEARN MORE →


From drunken gold miners to police-wrestling drag queens, the Barbary Coast was San Francisco’s original “gayborhood.” For nearly a century before the rainbow flag, it was where queer people forged the beginnings of an identity and political organization for equal rights. Tours are available through Airbnb experiences or by appointment.  BOOK NOW →

Craft. Conscience. Play.
Notes on a Design Practice.

In November 2014, an Amsterdam round-table meeting said of successful design practices: “It is better to listen to the landscape and its inhabitants, and include that information in the development of a project, but, in the end, you must follow your own ideas and fascinations to achieve powerful work.”

Ideas and fascinations have always been a driving force: from digital educational experience to motion graphics to experimental AR designs. I am a proud generalist who uses design to communicate, either through interfaces, video, print, presentations, or even walking tours.

In pursuing new opportunities, I evaluate against three core beliefs: craft, conscience, and play.

In craft, I find a commitment to skillful creation extremely satisfying: design systems that mathematically snap into place, animations that elegantly express ideas, and also local problem-solving that defies colonial design orthodoxy.

In conscience, I am eager to use my design powers for good. Part catharsis, part public service, it gives my work more meaning and adds challenge to creative expression. I was heavily influenced by the time I spent studying and working under Milton Glaser who, amidst big budget deadlines, always found time to use his rainbow color pencil to sketch posters for causes he believed in.

In play, I remind myself to slow down, to experiment, to be comfortable being idle, and to, as the Eames advised, invite “serious play” until ideas are absurd and then, at last, they work.

SSPROCKETT is a design practice driven by autonomous ideas and fascinations, and built around craft, conscience, and play.  nut

portrait photoportrait photo
Follow on