Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts

Posted by Lauren in January 2024

Meet the artist behind EarlyDog’s website and visual designs!

We’re excited to share our interview with Ray Dak Lam, whose playful artistic approach brings together individual shapes and components into stunning cohesive graphics.

At the risk of getting too philosophical for a Friday, we here at EarlyDog like to think that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We feel Ray’s work perfectly encapsulates that ideology.

We’ve enjoyed working with him so much, we wanted to shine a spotlight on his creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit. Check out our interview below, and more of his work here:

What made you decide to become a graphic designer?

I’ve been creative for as long as I can remember. During grade school I’ve always carried around a binder full of my drawings to see if anyone wanted to swap snacks or toys for my work. I eventually discovered graphic design in high school when I took a Design Studies course. It was also during high school I started doing commissioned work for acquaintances, friends, and family.

What’s your favorite way to start designing a new project or where do you source your inspiration?

I’m constantly collecting design and art related ephemera, posters, and books. I also have a digital scrapbook of cool things I find online that I constantly update. I’m constantly sketching ideas in my sketchbook too, so I kind of have an “idea bank” that I can dig through when I’m starting new projects.

What do you see as your core strength as a designer?

I think it would be my ability to blend the separate disciplines of illustration and design together. I love coming up with illustrative solutions to traditional design problems, which requires both artistic skills and creative thinking to come together to communicate abstract concepts simply and effectively.

If you wrote an advertisement for your work, what would the tagline be?

Simple, direct, and playful.

Besides working with clients, what else is driving you at the moment?

Ever since the pandemic hit, I’ve had some extra time at home which I’ve used towards exploring a personal project called “Shape Studies.” It was initially an idea to help exercise my creative abilities through explorations with shape and colour. It’s still an ongoing project for me and I hope to turn some of the work into a poster series in the future.

I also love doing work that explores my identity as an Asian Canadian artist. I recently completed a community fundraiser project for our local Chinatown and I created a piece that captures my Chinatown memories and experiences into a single illustrated piece.


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