I want to tell my younger self that it’s okay to not be the top one amongst my peers. To always embrace failure but learn, grow, and get inspiration from it and to absorb knowledge through this process. It’s also okay to be introverted (I’m still introverted now), but allow your work to speak for your skills, and learn more tricks for Adobe software!
I started doodling as a little kid. Before I came to ArtCenter College of Design, I was trained as a traditional fine artist who focuses on drawing and painting techniques in an art high school in Beijing, China. In summer 2014, I joined a pre-college summer program in SVA and majored in illustration. One of my instructors at that time, Sakura Maku, suggested that I try out graphic design since she saw a lot of graphic moves in my work. I was always drawn to new experiences and adventures, so hell yeah!—I applied for the graphic design major even though I wasn’t sure what graphic design is. In my first year of college, I’ve considered switching my major back to illustration, to what I’m familiar with and comfortable with because graphic design is freaking hard! I had no idea how to use a grid system or how to create a decent composition. I struggled a lot, but then I told myself that I could never be a better person if I just stayed in my comfort zone.
Later in my college, I interned at Game Seven Marketing in New York, and Apple in Cupertino. A small studio versus a big company, it’s hard to tell which one I prefer—I gained different and valuable experiences from both. I worked closely with the team members at Game Seven. The feedbacks were fast and straightforward, but I still have the freedom to handle the projects with different approaches. During my intern at Apple’s marketing and communication team, I jumped between projects that asked for distinct skill sets. I was so impressed by the amount of research for one project and the experience of going through hundreds of image databases trained my eyes and helped me grow my ability for art direction. When it got close to the launching stage, it’s essential to work efficiently to get the best execution. There was also a project that required my skills in illustration and my drawing/painting background allowed me to enjoy the process of creating. All of these professional experiences gave me a better understanding of working in the industry and I can’t wait to be a contributor to the real world.
Now I’m a grown-up graphic designer who’s into print/editorial design as well as creating brand identity systems and I’ll be graduating in May. What a long journey! There’s still a long way to go and a lot more space for me to grow. I think I’m ready for the adventure.
Be humble and always have an open ear to opinions. Always be curious, no matter how old you are. Always find your own voice and don’t be lost around all the inspirations online. Lastly, enjoy the process, even if it’s painful. The results may not be to your liking but you will always gain something more along the way.
One of my most favorite things about LA is the bookstores. I’m always surrounded by art and design which inspires me and creates an environment for me to fully immerse myself in my work. There are several art&design bookstores that I always love to go to in LA: Arcana, Hennessey + Ingalls, Skylight Books, ARTBOOK at Hauser & Wirth, Family Books, TASCHEN, etc.
I respect so many studios/companies in this industry, some currently in my mind are Collins, Apple, Design Studio, IN-FO.CO, Wkshps, M/M (Paris), Spin… …
That’s a tough one. A question I’d never like to be asked for an interview. I actually don’t know since I’m bad in planning things. But in the future, I’d like to work at different places around the world. I see local cultures and landscapes as my main inspiration.
Learn more, take adventures, have fun.