On the high level, I like a book to reflect that the designer got a great taste and can execute the idea with their skill set. A strong portfolio usually includes a variety of work in different medium. It’s good if the designer can solve the problem in a wide range of format, i.e. from logo design to system design, from traditional print to digital space, from poster to book, from static to motion. Small details are really important because every decision behind the detail should have a purpose. This is also including typeface choice, color choice, layout design, composition, negative space, consistency, etc. Lastly, don’t forget about kerning, because the basic must be done right.
I have been working on an on-going project called 100 Happiness which I just did an exhibition. 100 Happiness is a series of daily drawings exploring the search for happiness. Using Instagram as my canvas to display the works, it emphasizes today’s need for instant gratification. I want to use these works as a medium to arouse emotions in audiences, to connect with people, and to raise questions about true happiness in this information-polluted era.
Happiness co-exists with unhappiness; they are interrelated and interdependent, like Yin and Yang. Therefore, these works depict a series of unhappy faces juxtaposed with happy faces. I like to include the unhappy face in this series not only to create tension and contrast but also to remind others that life can be miserable sometimes. It would be delusional if the works just showcased happy faces. We will definitely overlook true happiness if we do not embrace the opposite side of it. You need to go through the unhappy moments in your life to really unearth the meaning of happiness
I don’t think a designer should have a style, but an illustrator can develop their own style. I am a designer but also love doing illustration and icon design. From my experience, it was all come naturally when I start designing it and drawing them. I didn’t try to develop a style. I think everyone has a unique background, different experience, and their own preference. This is what makes up a style for you because it comes within you. If you want to develop a style, I believe you can study them and play around when designing.
Be yourself and work on what you passionate about. With these, you tend to push the limit and challenges yourself to come out with something unique. Your passion toward design will translate into the work. I think communicating your ideas is extremely important. This will help others to understand your work.
I like to approach the brief with design thinking. It is solving the problem with my design toolkit and innovation. I need to have the understanding of technology. It isn’t doing the trendy stuff with the coolest technologies, but to really design something that would work in that digital space. The work would be mattered to people. If you practice design thinking, it will work on both the traditional graphic design and on digital design.
Be humble, work hard and have fun. Lets the work shine.