What led you to design?
I started emulating drawings of comic books when I saw a classmate in primary 6 (12 years old) draw his comics out of intuition. I was amazed by that ability and felt like it was a magical power to translate what you have in mind into an image by hand. I draw religiously for a few years before getting distracted with other interest during my teenage years. When it was time to choose a college to go to, my sister told my mom that the obvious choice for me was to go to an art school. Initially, I wanted to be an animator and registered for the animation course. Upon attending a few months of foundation classes, I realised I wasn't as good as a drawer as I thought I am. I switched to graphic design and advertising for my second year and was hooked at the process of image manipulation to express a message.
Where do you go to get inspired?
I try not to get inspired by internet-visual sources these days. I am trying to break away from design trends and seek deeper meaning in my work, especially personal projects. It could be something I read or a conversation I had with a good friend. I will then first structure it through writing to gain clarity. If it's a design project, I'll then go online and search for images that speak to the idea and build a simple mood-board. I also try not to seek inspiration within the same industry that I am working on. It's always more interesting to see if we can mix and match essence from one sector to another.
What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?
I think the recent design pieces and marketing from Microsoft is quite a refreshing take. AIAIAI overall brand essence is also pretty interesting and a treat to the eyes. I am also starting to see a lot more local brands in China, striking their mark that can compete globally.
What do you want to do next, and what are the challenges?
I want to be more conscious about who and what I will be working with. I believe that when you are work with a brand or product that you can align yourself to, it releases more energy and passion towards the work and benefits all parties. The biggest challenge would be intertwining your work and life and making it coexist harmoniously. I believe in balance in all aspects of life, just like breathing, when you breathe in eventually you got to let out the air.
Any advice for ambitious young designers?
Be inspired by failure stories as much as success stories. Many success we see today on the surface has been many years in the making. Be curious enough to look at the behind-the-scenes and learn from that. Most importantly, nothing teaches you most than doing the work. Make a conscious effort to know when to stop absorbing inspiration and start making things.