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.
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.
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.
MLM : I can say that the design world attracted me and I chose it.
MLM : Branding and packaging design are my main interest and focus.
MLM : Stay consistent on learning new things with open mind.
MLM : Great learning mentality and self-discipline, knowing your voice, positive attitude and open minded.
MLM : There are many components that make a good design. In my humble opinion, aesthetic, functionalities, storytelling components, personality/characters are the keys.
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.
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.
MLM : My dream project would be collaborating with big name companies. I think any designers out there can related to this.
MLM : Stay organize, stay consistent on learning new things with open mind.
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.
MLM : [Refer to previous answer] I like how their works are simple, yet sophisticated, playful and catchy.
MLM : [Too broad to answer] I think designing packaging for Japanese cosmetic brand is my best work by far.
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.
MLM : Anything that involve creativity and inspiring others. My wilder thought would be a fitness instructor and business owner.
MLM : To me, design is a language of its own, this language ‘translates and transform’ creative ideas to reality.
MLM : My family, adviser and colleagues play major roles in my success as my emotional support.
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.
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.
MLM : Depends on what kind of design projects. “Less is More” is always a good choice.
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.
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.
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.
MLM : To me, design is a language of its own, this language ‘translates’ creative ideas into blueprint to creating new reality.
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.
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.
MLM : I would like to see the design industry to value environment sustainability more than ever in the very near future.
MLM : In my humble opinion, minimalism and eco-friendly is still en route
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.
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.
MLM : ‘Find your own voice’
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.
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.
MLM : I work with 9 different adobe software and Maya AutoDesk, on both Window and Mac.
MLM : I think those designs elements are crucially important in design composition as they are practically essential cells of a organic mechanism.
MLM : My inspirations and how I overcome obstacles during production stage of the project.
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.
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.
MLM : Visual artists and fellows creative individuals that I interacted with are usually influenced my works.
MLM : NA
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.
MLM : NA [Unclear Question]
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.
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.
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.
MLM : My perfect day as a designer is when my clients were in awe and said the delivered works were beyond their expectation.
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.
MLM : NA [Unclear question]
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.
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