We're loving the work of RMIT's Ann Chen, who made it to our top 16 for 2016 (voted in by Motherbird's Jack Mussett). Ann has some great design crushes, interned at Swear Words, and she's a big fan of Youtube/Google/Lynda for everything you don't know, plus some nice words about what we do here at TDK. Thanks Ann!
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?
For me personally, working in retail companies such as Myer/David Jones really pushed me in the direction of design. When I was working there, I started to take notice of packaging design and was intrigued at how the presentation of a product could really influence the buying decision of a customer. It also made me appreciate branding identity and good design overall. Eventually, this led me to apply for the Diploma of Graphic Design at RMIT where I could say my love for design really bloomed. Being surrounded by talented students and teachers, each with unique design styles, really helped me appreciate design. I think being around creative people and bouncing back creative energy is really important if you want to fully submerge yourself & fall in love with design.
Who are your top five design crushes right now?
1. Foreign Policy – Love all their branding work & colour selections
2. Leif Podhajsky – Amazed by his art/design approach and range of techniques he uses
3. Pop & Pac – Innovative, practical, and clean-cut designs
4. Studio SP–GD – Love his layouts and overall aesthetic
5. Anagrama – Need I say more?
Whats your take on internships?
I think internships are a great way to give you an idea of how the design industry runs. It helps you understand the creative working environment, how to deal with clients, how to effectively communicate your ideas, and most importantly, gives you a taste of the pace that you should be working at. These are definitely things that you can’t really learn from school. At the moment, I have just finished my internship with a small start-up company and prior to that, I did a short internship with Swear Words. It gave me a great opportunity to understand the whole design process by being involved in some awesome projects.
What advice would you give students starting out?
I would advise students who are just starting out in design to keep persisting. When I first started my course, I knew absolutely nothing about the Adobe programs, let alone a Mac. In that first year of study, your creative ideas may not come out as fluidly as you wish. However, once you’ve grasped enough of the technical skills, you can easily convey your ideas on screen. Youtube/Google/Lynda have all been helpful learning tools of mine. Also, get inspired! Go on to websites like Designpiration/Pinterest and make that your home page so that you’ve always got cool fresh ideas in front of your eyes. Networking, going to design events, and being around fellow design students can also inspire you and it’s a great way to exchange knowledge and feed off each others creative zing.
Whats the big goal in the next five years?
I would love to go abroad and work there for a short time frame, just to see the different design approaches and working styles. However, I feel pretty privileged living in Melbourne as a designer as were pretty innovative and have quite a creative culture. So I would love to be able to settle into a cool Melbourne design studio!
What role do you think TDK plays in the design industry?
I think TDK plays a huge role for design students as it really helps you break into the design community. It’s a great creative platform and has all the resources a design student would need - job availabilities, events/meet-ups, good tips/reads, and of course inspiration! The design world (and local design community) is ever-changing and TDK is one of the few local resources out there that can help you keep in the loop with all of this. Personally, TDK has been a great way to get my work recognised (have received some freelance jobs through this exposure) and as a fresh grad, it has definitely given me a lot encouragement.
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