LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer My Linh Mac ("MLM") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

MLM : I was fortunate to find my calling and passion for the art at a very young age and have my family's support to pursue art education in different countries such as Singapore, South Australia and the United State. I have a bachelor’s degree in art from Valparaiso University and a master’s degree in art education at School of Art Institute of Chicago. I can summarize that I have been an artist my whole life with over 7 years of experience as designer.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

MLM : Until when I attended university, I was inspired and warmly welcomed to the design community in the United States and found my new passion for design. It was challenging to balance both professional fields as artist and designer but at the same time, very rewarding to be where I am at today.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

MLM : I can say that the design world attracted me and I chose it.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

MLM : Branding and packaging design are my main interest and focus.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

MLM : Stay consistent on learning new things with open mind.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

MLM : Great learning mentality and self-discipline, knowing your voice, positive attitude and open minded.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

MLM : There are many components that make a good design. In my humble opinion, aesthetic, functionalities, storytelling components, personality/characters are the keys.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

MLM : [Refer to previous answer] To me, design is a language of its own, this language ‘translates’ creative ideas to reality, hence, good design delivers the message/translate ideas more vividly.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

MLM : I am particularly interest in branding design campaign that support start-up business and established business that related to the art, as well as projects that promote and raise awareness about environmental sustainability.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

MLM : My dream project would be collaborating with big name companies. I think any designers out there can related to this.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

MLM : Stay organize, stay consistent on learning new things with open mind.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

MLM : Marta Veludo, Ben Grandgenett, Jessica Walsh and Lauren Hom are the first few names pop up first, there are so many talented designers that I admire as well.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

MLM : [Refer to previous answer] I like how their works are simple, yet sophisticated, playful and catchy.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

MLM : [Too broad to answer] I think designing packaging for Japanese cosmetic brand is my best work by far.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

MLM : In my opinion, no matter of what professional level you are at, time management and communication are ‘easy to say than do’ skills and tasks to tackle. It takes time and efforts to improve these self-disciplinary areas, once you establish good self-discipline, you have more time and room to improve, explore more possibilities of your craftsmanship rather than wasting time fixing errors that could have been easily avoid by good habits.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

MLM : Anything that involve creativity and inspiring others. My wilder thought would be a fitness instructor and business owner.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

MLM : To me, design is a language of its own, this language ‘translates and transform’ creative ideas to reality.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

MLM : My family, adviser and colleagues play major roles in my success as my emotional support.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

MLM : My past flaws and mistakes are blessing in disguise and taught me many valuable lessons. In my culture, 'your mistakes are your best teacher' and think it's very true.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

MLM : Creative differences and communication with people who are not from creative background are big obstacles to me but I find it very benefitial in the long run from overcoming those obstacles.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

MLM : Depends on what kind of design projects. “Less is More” is always a good choice.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

MLM : I am looking forward to my new position as Jury for Creative Communication Award (C2A) in California this summer. I enjoy creative projects with different themes and concepts from fun/playful to high-end and sophisticated style; so my hope for future projects is to have more room for creative freedom and more opportunities to travel and see the world.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

MLM : [ Refer to previous answer] From macro perspective, my goal as a designer is to receive recognitions for my works and from there, bringing in more positive influences to the society. From micro perspective, my goal is to have recognitions for my works and to be a great role model for younger designers, including my art/graphic design students.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

MLM : I am not sure about how to define the term ‘esteemed designer’, I think people would expect professional designers to have collaboration opportunities with big brands/ companies.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

MLM : To me, design is a language of its own, this language ‘translates’ creative ideas into blueprint to creating new reality.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

MLM : I am currently working on a branding project for a start-up art gallery in Chicago. I am also working new art projects in between participating in creative competitions and teaching.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

MLM : I have satisfaction with most of my branding and packaging design projects that has authentic, niche and strong identity. For example my project on design packaging for a Japanese cosmetic brand this year.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

MLM : I would like to see the design industry to value environment sustainability more than ever in the very near future.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

MLM : In my humble opinion, minimalism and eco-friendly is still en route

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

MLM : It is depending on the project size, members involved and requirements, small projects usually take me 1-3 weeks to complete with client’s approval, while big branding projects can take up to 6 months.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

MLM : Again, it depends on many factors. Generally, with me, new project start every trimester, sometime I take in fewer design projects to make sure I balance my time on my other professional practices as artist and art educator.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

MLM : ‘Find your own voice’

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

MLM : I'll go with a bold answer here, in my personal opinion, good designers predict and catch the trends, best designers create and set the trends.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

MLM : Technology expanded my horizon in many ways. I work with adobe software and Maya Autodesk, with these software alone, I can be my own production team from printing, design, editing, filming/recording and render 2D & 3D designs. I am also planning to learn more software outside of the adobe suit. At the same time, I also appreciate traditional craftmanship (by hand) and would love to incorporate both platform into my future works.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

MLM : I work with 9 different adobe software and Maya AutoDesk, on both Window and Mac.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

MLM : I think those designs elements are crucially important in design composition as they are practically essential cells of a organic mechanism.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

MLM : My inspirations and how I overcome obstacles during production stage of the project.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

MLM : I usually either find out more about the artist behind the works or sketch down new idea almost immediately for future references. I even call my sketchbook: my “idea bank” with a rich ‘saving accounts where I ‘deposit’ visual notes.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

MLM : My ideal designer partner is someone who are opening minded, transparent and challenge me to be better designer. I know that having a partner could be challenging sometime when it comes to creative differences and communication but when designers with positive attitude and share the same value of delivering high-quality of bodyworks, partnerships are great window of opportunity for peer learning and personal growth for any creative individuals.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

MLM : Visual artists and fellows creative individuals that I interacted with are usually influenced my works.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

MLM : NA

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

MLM : Beside taking classes and training workshops, I also invested time to learn from my peers, self-taught new technique through ‘master copy’ exercises. I also get to revise old knowledge and incorporate new ones by teaching software that I commonly work it. The dynamic of students and teacher learning from each other really push me far forward.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

MLM : NA [Unclear Question]

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

MLM : I am humble and grateful to have institutional recognition for your works. I feel very fortunate for not having any negative experiences related to those recognitions so far. I am enjoying the ride but I would not consider myself as famous.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

MLM : As an artist by heart, I adore strong vibrance colors and love being at inspiring places like coffee shops, open-space studios with many windows and natural sunlight.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

MLM : My very first attempt to create a poster design digitally with Paint by Window during my first year as an undergrad and it was before I learned any design software as well. It felt like I reached a new milestone back then when nobody knows it was created by Paint and the best part was, know body know what software I used back then.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

MLM : My perfect day as a designer is when my clients were in awe and said the delivered works were beyond their expectation.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

MLM : I don’t recall that part but I remembered this part of my childhood when I really wanted to be a fashion designer and really enjoyed playing dress up.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

MLM : NA [Unclear question]

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

MLM : I want to share some useful design tips for young designers out there. My tips are: 1) Pre-plan a schedule and give yourself deadlines for each design/production stages to stay on track. 2) Allow yourself as much time possible to review, revise your design at it final stages. 3) If possible, allow yourself to have a few daybreaks between final editing, this way, you can review your works in a fresher set of minds. 4) It is always helpful to have constructive criticism 5) Communication is key. It takes time and efforts to establish self-discipline and pick up ethical habits such as time management but in the long run, you would have more time and room to improve, explore more possibilities of your craftsmanship rather than wasting time fixing errors that could have been easily avoid.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

MY LINH MAC IS AN AWARD-WINNING GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND ARTIST BASED IN CHICAGO. AS A DESIGNER AND ARTIST, SHE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT ELEVATING THE STANDARDS OF CREATIVITY BY RECOGNIZING EXCEPTIONAL WORK. MAC IS PASSIONATE ABOUT HELPING ARTISTS AND CREATIVE ORGANIZATIONS ESTABLISH THEIR CREATIVE BUSINESS AND MARKETING THEIR BRANDS WITH HER SPECIALTIES IN DIGITAL ILLUSTRATION, GRAPHIC AND WEB DESIGN. HER PREVIOUS POSITION AS MEDIA AND MARKETING DIRECTOR AT EN FOCO GALLERY AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE PURPLE WINDOW ART GALLERY FOCUSED ON PROMOTING INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED ARTISTS AT INTERNATIONAL HIGH-END ART FAIRS SUCH AS SCOPE AND ART BASEL. MAC ALSO TEACH GRAPHIC DESIGN AND FINE ART CLASSES AT THE SCHOOL OF ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO (SAIC) AND CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. HER EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND INCLUDED A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN FINE ART AND COMMUNICATION- GRAPHIC DESIGN FROM VALPARAISO UNIVERSITY AND A MASTER'S DEGREE IN ART EDUCATION FROM THE SCHOOL OF ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO. IN ADDITION, OUTSIDE OF HER WORK AS A DESIGNER, MAC ALSO WORK AS A FINE ARTIST AND HAVE A STRONG PORTFOLIO OF BODY WORKS EXHIBITED AT GALLERIES, INSTITUTIONAL ART MUSEUMS AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS INTERNATIONALLY, INCLUDING THE US, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, SOUTH KOREA, AND HONG KONG.


Co Ba Coffee Packaging Design

Co Ba Coffee Packaging Design by My Linh Mac

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