Interview with Chao Yang

Winner of Graphic Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Chao Yang shares insights


Interview with Chao Yang at Tuesday 25th of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
CY : I obtained my Bachelor and Master degree in China. From May 2013 to October 2014, I studied in Braunschweig University of Art when I was granted the German DAAD artist scholarship funded by the German government. In 2016, I was admitted to the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture as a Ph.D candidate, and continued my study and research of design. I have been working as a design teacher in a collage since I received my Bachelor degree in 2007.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
CY : I started to know about design as an undergraduate. I found that I loved designing and enjoyed the pleasure it brought to me. Through my design, I can solve problems for my customers or update the brand image. As a designer I feel proud of myself when my design can solve problems and reconstruct brand image of my clients.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
CY : Of course, it’s my own choice. I’m a college teacher and this job is gold-plated. But by comparison, the feeling of being a designer is better. So I chose to be a designer and a teacher at the same time.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
CY : I delicate myself to brand image design, poster design and book design. Of course, I also would like to combine my design with art. For example, I apply ceramic arts to hotel decoration.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
CY : I made those achievements in that I spent a lot of time and I also worked hard. I think that young designers should focus on their expertise. Because only when you make the most out of your expertise can you give birth to a good design. Of course, young designers should be insistent in improving their fundamental skills.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
CY : Maybe it’s talent. A good designer is able to solve problems and meet the customer’s demand through his design; But a great designer not only solves problems, he also affects many young designers and his works remain classic even hundred years later.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
CY : In my opinion, first a good design should solve the problem. Secondly, it should have aesthetic appeal. In addition, it has to take into consideration reducing the loss of resources, lowering production costs and the convenience to consumers when it is produced.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
CY : When I first start my design career, I had no choice. I accepted every offer from clients so as to accumulate my experience. But it’s not the case now. I specialize in brand design and try to combine my design with many other fields. I’ll do such design as long as I have time. At the same time, I will also create my favorite theme posters; It is a fun.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
CY : I’m fond of art, maybe one day I will be an artist, such as a ceramic artist. But for the time being, I should be a designer first when young.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
CY : I focus on international design with Chinese elements. So I would study on designing by taking it as a kind of culture. I would like to express my ideas with the latest design methods. Designing is a trying work, but I have been insisting on it and I feel happy with it.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
CY : I am going to learn from some award-winning works both domestic and abroad in order to inspire my creation.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
CY : I have a lot of design work I like very much. When I studied in Germany, I designed a book entitled “China Says”, which demonstrated pottery and porcelain culture of Jingdezhen in the form of creative images. I did it by hand, from designing to producing, and I enjoyed the process very much. The brand image “YI PU TI (A Bodhi)” I designed for a monastery in Beijing is also one of my favorites, which reflected the combination of Chinese Buddhist thoughts and arts, and it was expressed in a composition of modern styles. There is still a logo design that worthies mentioning. It is the silk brand HERGENE. In ancient time, silk from china was as valuable as gold, so I designed the logo in the form of a Chinese square-holed coin. There are a lot more works of designing that won over clients and audience.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
CY : I would be an artist.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
CY : There are two reasons. The first is my clients. They gave me opportunities to design. The second is designing contests. By taking part in these contests, I compete, communicate and improve.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
CY : I think it is only a matter of time. I’m exerting myself to be a great designer.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
CY : Designers can present their works not only by attending some designing contests or exhibitions, but also by giving speeches or communicating with others.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
CY : I have no idea yet. Because I don’t know who will be going to give me the chance.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
CY : To be an international designing master.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
CY : People would like to see him keep on innovating and works be created continuously. In addition, people may expect you to share with them your designing ideas.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
CY : Design can bring convenience to the society and our life, and can help to solve many problems. We can’t live without designing.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
CY : What I am doing now is a restaurant designing project that combines ceramic arts with space designing. Some parts of it are created by myself and the other parts are made by the workers according to my ideas. That’s very interesting. The project is currently under way and I intend to take it to Italian A Design Awards this year.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
CY : It depends on the size of the projects. But for some projects I am particularly interested in, I will spend more time.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
CY : First, I will gather some information about the background of this project as well as client’s requirements. That’s the starting point. In addition, I will do a lot of related researches, including domestic and foreign researches on similar projects. With thoses information, you can get it start.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
CY : I am always looking for designing.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
CY : Design should be developed in an international and simplistic way.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
CY : Technology can help me better achieve those designing ideas; It also make my design more practical and aesthetic.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
CY : Any software, no restriction. If there is software that I don’t know how to apply to my designing idea, and I will ask help from others. It’s not going to affect the progress.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
CY : All of them are important. When choosing those three factors, a designer shall take into account product’s function, human engineering, producing cost, and visual beauty.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
CY : I would wonder how the idea comes to designer’s mind. If I were the designer, how would I do? Would I have the same idea? What can I be inspired from the work?

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
CY : Certainly,a lot of my works were done by a team. Sometimes the team is made up by students in the studio; other times designers from different fields or with friends in the designing field. The form of the team depends on the requirement of project.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
CY : Usual, I like to chat over a tea with people in different fields. I could be inspired by the communication with them. For instance, I designed a series of ceramic products with both traditional connotation and modern style, inspired by a talk with an artist engaged in imitating ancient ceramic arts.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
CY : I would be more interested in the books concerning design, culture, and fashion. But it is not limited to these categories. I read a book entitled "DESIGN OF DESIGN" by Kenyahara, a Japanese designer, which inspired me a lot in designing.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
CY : I take these designs made for customers to participate in the designing contests. It is where my interest in designing lies; it is also a good way of communication as to the ideas about designing. It encourages me to create more fine works. In recent years, I have been granted international awards several times. I take it as an approval on my work, a proof that I have been on the right way those years.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
CY : I usually wear clothes in black. But I prefer to see things in their original color because it’s more natural. As to place, I like Chinese traditional towns, quiet but full of humanistic elements; to food, I certainly like Chinese food the most. I also enjoy Italian cuisine. I love cooking myself. Once I believed that if I were not a designer, I could have been a chef.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
CY : I think it lies in my interest in designing and my love for life. Partially it is because of my love for culture and arts, I always want my ideas be expressed in designing.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
CY : Of course not. At that time I even didn’t know what a design is.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
CY : I don’t know. Maybe every family will be living on a separate planet. It’s only several seconds away from each planet.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
CY : I would like to say that it’s a tough job being a designer. People witnessed the spotlight and flowers when I won the awards but they missed the tears and sweats behind it. I suppose it is a common experience for every designer. However, designing can be enjoyable since it makes your life colorful and give you a sense of achievement. If you wish to become a good designer, please make innovations all the time and keep learning.