Original Interview: January 2016

Jess Xuan

Jess Xuan crushes on Aussies Tin & Ed and Garbett (as do we!) and made it into our top 16 for 2016, voted in by Simon Hipgrave. We adore her fresh graphics, sexy type and personal project Mesh Archive. Read on for the best Ira Glass quote!

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
I have a distinct memory of being in Year 8 in high school and writing down ‘Graphic Designer’ as what I wanted to be when I was older. I’m not sure if I even knew what that meant back then, but I liked looking at clever logos, packaging and advertising on different websites and blogs (plus I really liked drawing). I did visual communications in my later high school years and ended up doing a Graphic Design course at Monash.

Who are your top five design crushes right now?
Studio io, Graphic Thought Facility, Sara Andreasson, Tin & Ed and Garbett.

Jess Xuan The Design Kids
Jess Xuan The Design Kids

Any passion projects you would like to share?
I’m currently working with a fellow Melbourne designer Veronica Tran and a few writers from overseas on an online collective called Mesh Archive. It’s a digital archive that aims to explore intersectional dialogue and interactivity about identity and the digital spaces we inhabit. It’s taken a bit longer than expected but we’re hoping to launch soon! And always looking for more content ☺.

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?
Design’s getting pretty digital these days (although I think it’s been established that print isn’t dead?) and I think it’s important to stay up to date with what’s happening in terms of web development and new technologies you can utilise in areas where design meets the digital landscape. I’m considering doing a further IT course to get into the development side of design but I guess the backup plan is following some feeds, doing more in-depth reading and lots of googling.

Jess Xuan The Design Kids
Jess Xuan The Design Kids

What advice would you give students starting out?
I like this quote by Ira Glass: “For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” …And also listen to your tutors because they’re usually good at things and will help you find jobs if you’re nice to them when you graduate.

Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?
I’m doing some freelance work for a couple months and then I’m going to see if I can skip town and head overseas to find a job in London. Hopefully there’ll be some animals that need holding and some new TV shows that need bingeing. It’s a pretty vague plan but here’s hoping.

Website: jessxuan.com
Instagram: @jesskxuan

Jess Xuan The Design Kids
Jess Xuan The Design Kids
Jess Xuan The Design Kids