David Shearer has been influential in disseminating design and design education to the public for over two decades. Trained as an architect at the University of Minnesota, Shearer formed Geometrie: A Gallery of 20th Century Design in Minneapolis in 1984. After moving to New York in 1990 to run Modern Age Galleries, Shearer focused on contemporary design, which ultimately led to the formation of Totem Design Group in 1994. Totem, an acronym for "The Objects That Evoke Meaning,” has been critically acclaimed for the series of exhibitions, publications, seminars, and design education initiatives that Shearer presented. In 2004, Shearer was hired as Executive Director of Exhibitions International (EI), a non-profit organization that organized exhibitions and educational programming about architecture, design, and the decorative arts for museums around the world. In 2006 EI ceased operation and Shearer continued working as an independent curator and educator. In 2008 after relocating to Southern California, Shearer established OBJCT Gallery, a public venue focused on the intersection of art and design.
Shearer has been widely published in the field of design as well as featured and interviewed on both television and in many international publications. He has produced several documentaries and publications about architecture and design.