Knowing where to allocate my time and being economical with my effort. That means identifying which crucial points of a project I should invest in and which I can afford to sacrifice. Working hard doesn’t guarantee good results — working smart might at least give you a few more hours of sleep! There’s a culture of endurance in art school, of camping out in studios and drinking too much caffeine. Looking back, was it really necessary? Maybe I didn’t need to spend all that time making a typeface for a project that would have garnered the same effect with an existing typeface. Maybe I should have spent more time on typesetting, instead of reinventing the mechanics of book-binding. I wish I knew how to think big-picture, take a break, sleep, call my mom.
I used to make really elaborate Powerpoint presentations for middle school class projects. Now, I make really elaborate presentation decks but in InDesign!
Jokingly aside, I do think in many ways I’m still doing what I did when I was 13, and I still have the same love and passion for design. But I do have a broader scope of what design might be and how it may manifest. I used to think design was a two-dimensional thing, limited to a rectangular aspect ratio. Now I know many things require design thinking—be it a book, a billboard, an arrangement of things in space. The term ‘graphic design’ wasn’t even coined until the 1920s, so it’s exciting to think about what design may encompass in the future, and what I would be making then.
Making friends with people not in the arts. I think only surrounding yourself with people that think like you, creates a sheltered environment where you’re not pushed to think about how the rest of the world might access and relate to your work—I tend to send work to my mom, if she gets it, then my teachers will. You might also learn a thing or two from what they’re doing/studying that you find interesting—looking outwardly from art & design is always refreshing.
I like New York because design is celebrated unlike any city I’ve lived in. But I’m also fascinated by New York as a city itself. Perhaps having grown up in a hyper-dense city like Hong Kong, I’ve always been drawn to the complex nature of cities, its inhabitants and its imperfect systems. I would love to work with people and organizations working in the civic engagement/public sector, whether it’s about public space, transport systems, communities, etc. I don’t have a background in architecture or urban planning, so I think of design as a way to dip my feet in these more technical subjects I’m interested in.
I really don’t know. Being someone who graduated less than a year ago, it’s only natural not knowing what’s out there. However, I do know that in 5 years, I want to be more eloquent in articulating my ideas, and more confident in speaking about my work.
Tend to your succulents and personal side projects!