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Design is for Real People,
People we Know, People we Love.
— THAW -


  • Brand Identity & Strategy 
  • Media & Content Strategy
  • Package Design
  • Website & Mobile
  • UX & UI Design
  • Environmental Graphics
  • Signage & Way-finding
  • Event Design
  • Exhibition Design
  • Installation
  • Concept Development
  • Art Direction
  • Campaigns
  • Publication Design
  • Print Production


Thaw is the creative partnership of Young Ae Kim and Joe Schaeffer. We strive to create work that allows us to connect with others and provides transformation to local & international communities, and ourselves. 

Young Ae Kim is a designer, art director, and professor from Seoul, Korea. She began her career as an industrial designer, having worked at some of the largest electronic companies in the world such as Samsung and LG. Later, she shifted her focus to graphic design and received her M.F.A. from Savannah College of Art & Design. Young Ae taught as an associate professor at the University of South Dakota for 10 years and currently teaches at South Dakota State University.

Joe Schaeffer is a designer, art director, and instructor from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He studied graphic design under Young Ae Kim at the University of South Dakota where he earned his B.F.A.. Joe worked in advertising for 3 years before starting his work as an independent designer. He has had the opportunity to work with clients such as Sanford Health and the University of South Dakota. 



Thaw believes innovation starts with people, human-centered design products and services that empower communities, cities, and even countries. We look for a novel solution that is effective, efficient, sustainable, and enduring.

The Brighter Possibility Happens when you are taking risks, experimenting, and having fun.
— THAW -