Stay loyal, humble and hungry.

For local graphic designer Joe Schaeffer, these are his words to live by, and he is doing so ambitiously through his work in Sioux Falls. As a designer for Lawrence & Schiller and as co-president of AIGA South Dakota, he’s loyal to his community, he’s humble in his work and he’s hungry to learn more. Meet Joe:

Name: Joe Schaeffer

How can people connect with you? 

Twitter: @joe_schaeffer
Facebook (personal): Joe Schaeffer
Instagram: joeschaef


Where do you live now?  Where do you call home?

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is where I live and where I call home.

Give us a behind-the-scenes look at your average day.

A typical day consists of going to work at Lawrence & Schiller from 8-5. Then I either head off to my part-time job at Banana Republic or head home to work on AIGA (professional association for design), freelance or personal work.

What projects are you currently working on, both in your career as well as hobbies or passions?

Right now, I’m working with a sports nutrition company on branding their products. I’m just finishing up an AIGA project working with a local food truck vendor on their branding.

What challenge in your life or work are you most interested in overcoming?

My life revolves around design. I can’t imagine doing anything else. My biggest challenge is figuring out what I want to do within the vast world of design. I try to take advantage of any design-related opportunity because it allows me to learn and explore territory I’ve never been.

If you could do any job, what would you do and why?

There are many different jobs I’d love to do. Thinking of just one specifically, I would enjoy creating environmental graphics and installations for brands. I’m fascinated by the emotional response an environment can elicit in relation to a brand’s perception.

What’s your desert island album/book/TV show/movie?

If I’m stranded on an island and I have one album, it’s MJ’s “Thriller.”

Since you live in one of the OTA states:

•    Why do you choose to live here? Because the people I love live here.

•    What is the most beneficial aspect of living in the region when it comes to your career? The conditions are right for exceptional growth, in anything really. If you want to build something for yourself and are willing to work your ass off, it’s possible. It’s a region of untapped potential.

•    What’s one thing you would change about the OTA region? Weather, specifically winter (aka the frozen tundra).

•    What’s one thing most people don’t know about the OTA region? People don’t know how much opportunity there is here.

Where do you think good ideas come from?


What’s one current trend you think will change the world?

I think sustainability is trending, not in the sense of a fad but as a progression.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Work your ass off and don’t forget the people helping shape the professional you want to become.

Who is the most creative person in your life, and why?

My brother, Steven. He is an actor soon to be living in New York. His improvisation is on a whole different level. I’m always inspired when I see all that he’s accomplished.

Who is the most connected person in your life, and what personal characteristics make him or her so well-connected?

My uncle, David. He’s genuine; a quality admired by all and to me one of the most important qualities in connecting with others.

Who is the most community-focused person in your life, and how do they impact their communities?


Hugh Weber. Have one conversation with him, and you’ll understand.

At what intersection do you live your life? (ex: creativity and community, humor and humanity, art and athletics)

Design and Community.

Who are the three people you need to have coffee with when you visit Sioux Falls?

People I enjoy having conversations with in Sioux Falls: Hugh Weber, Ivy Oland, Kellen Boice.

What’s the best way to put inspiration into action?

Serious play and dedication.

Who do you hope to leave a legacy for?

I hope to leave a legacy for future graphic designers and my children (if I have any).

Who’s one regional writer/artist/leader/ entrepreneur we should pay attention to?


Young Ae Kim. She is the Associate Professor of Graphic Design at University of South Dakota. She’s responsible for creating one of the best graphic design programs in the region. I’m grateful to have been her student and continue to learn from her. I’m proud to be able to call her a great friend.

What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken?

The greatest risk I’ve taken was making the decision to transfer universities my freshman year of college. I think it’s been the best decision I’ve made.

What’s your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?

One summer during college, I thought I had locked in an internship and didn’t bother having a backup plan. That internship fell through just before the start of summer and I was stuck trying to find a mediocre replacement. I learned to always think ahead and have a backup plan (plan A, B and C); you never know what can happen.