Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Chia-Min Lin ("CL") 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?

CL : I have a master degree on graphic design and interaction design. Been working in the field for over 10 years now. I've worked as illustrator, teacher, designer. Handle projects from OEMs, museums, publishers, artists, theaters... etc.

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

CL : My biggest motivation is usually when I see the work I done went public, the achievement. See my efforts have become something really makes me happy. That's probably why I choose to be a designer.

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

CL : I guess both. I choose to be a designer because I thought that looks like a cool job. But the reality is not that cool. Most of the time you have probably 40 percent time to design, then the rest 60 percents is dealing with all kinds of nonsense. So I kind of force myself to keep running on this road.

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

CL : I design interaction between machine and human. I hope one day I could show people why interface is way more important than they think. Experience and interface are really two sides in one. It's way more powerful then we think. Too bad it was considered only as aesthetic issues.

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

CL : Keep walking and don't limited in one field. Be versatile and a cross-field designer.

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

CL : Good designers have good ideas. Great designer bring ideas to life.

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

CL : When it fits its project scope. The great work usually fits its context seamlessly and has the ability to guide people to gradully change their behaviors. When a user couldn't remember how was his/her life looks like before that specific product showed up, I think then the work could be called as good design.

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

CL : Good design reflect & provoke people's life. It tells people how they think about themselves. Good design invites introspective thinking and improvisations.

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

CL : I usually design fictional stories when I have some free time. I wrote and draw my stories. It's the pleasure only for myself.

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

CL : My next project.

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

CL : My tips is good ideas usually showed up when you're doing something unconcious, such as taking showers, felling into asleep, or walking. If you derive enough observation from daily life and learned enough, good ideas will jump out. Let your brain do the job. It connects thoughts without us knowing it.

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

CL : Kenya Hara. Steven Simpson. Paul Pangaro. Vannevar Bush.

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

CL : 2005 Japan Expo. So nicely blend into local culture with a respectful attitude.

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

CL : My favorite project is the Chinese Kan Opera Calendar I designed in 2015 when I was a graphic designer. I designed the calendar from scratch all by myself and it only went through one iteration with the client. It's such a delicate gift and has so many different layers to indicate the subtle transition with the Opera story. The reason I like it the most is not just because of the visual, but for its surprising experiences the calendar provides when an audience first open it. These tangible serendipities is hard to find within digital era. Interaction design has overemphasized the smoothness of functionalities and neglected the importance of creating possibilities. And this has become my ultimate goal as an IxD designer now.

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

CL : Don't let yourself go easy. Design is a continuous, life-long process. Keep learning and keep working.

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

CL : A historian

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

CL : A profound language, inviting relationship & conversation between the object and the person.

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

CL : I have met lots of good people along the way. They are my teachers, friends, family. They all kindly provide support in different forms of my career.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

CL : A small theater in my head that always wondering. And I do self-teaching from time to time.

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

CL : Social skills. I am not an extroverted person but that's important in this industry to have connections with others.

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

CL : Participate design competitions and forums. Write books or blogs.

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

CL : Maybe I will come up with something to help us to deal with this pandemic. Especially something with highest level goal of a social economic system

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

CL : When I look back to my career, I won't feel regret.

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

CL : Problem solved.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

CL : Make complicated things easier to understand.

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

CL : A motion graphic that I worked from scratch.

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

CL : Musiac. Because I put lots of efforts in it.

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

CL : I really hope how people see interface could change in the next couple of years. Look beyond the aesthetic and typography. It's a really powerful touch point between our conscious and reality. It decide what we see and how we see things. Shouldn't be judge by how it looks. It represents a point of view, an attitude.

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

CL : I hope design could focus more on real-life experiences, instead of everything goes digital. I hope designers could focus more on the meaning of an object. Bring back the old notion of take objects seriously.

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

CL : From weeks to months. Sometimes years. Really not my call.

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

CL : Figure out what's the problem. How should I define it. I usually ask myself: What's the frame of this project?

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

CL : Keep walking.

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

CL : Both. most designers let trends set themselves, some designers sets the trends.

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

CL : A catalyst to seduce more playful interaction. A boost to bring concept to reality.

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

CL : Macbook pro, Adobe, wacom, iPad and some music.

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

CL : Inspirations.

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

CL : What makes you come up with an idea like this?

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

CL : I need to do research about its story and context. Or sometimes just let the "wow" feeling runs for a while.

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

CL : Someone who knows me. The ideal co-designer have to be compatible to each other, in terms of skills, way of thinking, open minded, and most importantly, there need to be some mutual trust.

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

CL : My previous boss. He taught me so much about typography and information architecture. He is the founder of my design career. Then my professor at CCS. He changed my way of thinking the moment he walk into the classroom. He showed me how to be logical and conceptual and specific during the chaotic design process.

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

CL : Designing design by Kenya Hara. As we think by Vannevar Bush

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

CL : Self-learning. Be proactive finding solutions when you have a problem.

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

CL : Aubrey Vincent Beardsley in 19th century. Really want to see how he came up with the unconventional illustrations against the trends.

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

CL : It takes lots of time and effort to join these awards. Not an easy tasks.

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

CL : I like all real colors in nature. Favorite place depends on who I am with. I like sushi and seafood. Favorite thing is dreaming when I slept. Favorite brand: 22 studio.

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

CL : Once a client told me they have their logo in file and when I opened it, I realize it's a word documents.

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

CL : When I see my efforts become something real and useful. Achievement drives me the most.

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

CL : I draw on my father's white wall. And I read a bunch of Manga.

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

CL : Everything finally goes into quiet.

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

CL : Please continue to be the best of yourself.



Musiac Music Recommendation Service

Musiac Music Recommendation Service by Chia-Min Lin

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