Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Jin Zhang ("JZ") 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?

JZ : I have been engaged in design work since 2008, I have done car publicity design, real estate promotion design, and in recent years, I have set up my own design studio, focusing on brand design and packaging design.

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

JZ : Seeing the beautiful product visual performance can make me feel very comfortable, which also attracted me to join the design industry. The image of everyday consumer goods in every place also reflects the aesthetic level of local people. I hope that the works I design can bring people a better experience while improving people's aesthetic level, so that we can live in a better environment.

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

JZ : I entered the design industry with a very longing heart, full of beautiful visions for the future, and it turned out that my choice was very correct, because I have been doing design for more than ten years, and I can still get a great sense of accomplishment and happiness from design.

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

JZ : My main work content is: brand case design and packaging design. The industries that I dabble in are very extensive, including food, wine, tea, coffee, coffee, dairy products, catering, education and training, clothing, automobiles, etc. They are all industries that people eat and wear on a daily basis. I also really like these daily consumer products that are integrated into people's lives. Because design is to serve people, it is only meaningful when the products we design actually reach every consumer.

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

JZ : I think that the most valuable thing for designers is to have the ability of "empathy," to truly experience the emotions of consumers, and to integrate this emotion into the design, so that consumers can imagine and be moved after seeing this design, and to maintain curiosity about the world, and constantly discover many beautiful details that are not easy to be discovered. These are very helpful to the design.

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

JZ : Excellent designers may pursue the height of the design itself, such as how the use of materials can make products more gorgeous, and how design techniques can be used to make designs more cool. And great designers will pay more attention to the inner emotional needs of consumers, so that consumers have the feeling of touching the heart.

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

JZ : Good design should be memorable, touching the heart, touching the emotions, imaginative, and positively guiding the society. If I were to evaluate the quality of a design, I would probably care more about whether it is different and memorable.

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

JZ : A good design must be a bonus for the brand, which can make the brand have a higher premium, and at the same time can bring a better experience to consumers, both in terms of visual experience and the feeling of the use process, and even make people inexplicably moved. In today's consumption upgrade, consumers have higher and higher requirements for goods, which is not only reflected in the better quality of the product itself, but also requires a better sense of experience and value. This needs to be achieved through design, so more brands have begun to attach great importance to good design.

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

JZ : I spend most of my time designing for my clients, and if I have time, I will also design for my own interests. For example, in 2018, I used the characters from Chinese myths and legends to create a series of designs of IP images and related items. I was also liked by many friends, and I was very happy. From mobile phone cases, stickers, fans, cloth bags, mouse pads and many other daily necessities, they were all designed and made for some friends to use. Everyone liked it very much and was very happy.

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

JZ : I hope to bring a lot of very good products from China, but because there is no brand and no packaging, they are slowly forgotten. I hope to bring a lot of good and old products through design, so that they can be rejuvenated and more people can know and own them. And I hope that one day I can have my own brand products, which are daily consumer goods and products that can be integrated into everyone's life. I hope it continues to spread.

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

JZ : The success of a design is actually accompanied by a very large number of factors, and as far as the design itself is concerned, I think that in addition to being beautiful and unexpected, a design needs to be able to impress people, to be able to experience the emotions of consumers, and to design with emotions.

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

JZ : Compared to observing the design masters, I prefer to go to the streets, supermarkets to see pedestrians and shops, and feel from life.

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

JZ : I like to look at some older designs, such as things from the 1980s, maybe I am more nostalgic and like more quaint things.

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

JZ : I like most of my design works very much. If I have to say which design I think is the greatest, I may choose the works with local characteristics or national characteristics in my own works, such as Jinlongquan beer, Ying Hua Qing Su gift box, etc., because these designs not only show the products, but more importantly, let people know and like a city. I think that such designs have accomplished a greater mission.

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

JZ : Design to improve oneself from two aspects, the first is to constantly learn technology, so that what you can imagine can be made; the second is to maintain your curiosity, often go to the supermarket and walk in the crowd, to observe life, experience life, integrate into life, and maintain the breath of life, in order to make an emotional design.

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

JZ : If I wasn't a designer, I would probably want to be a racing driver or a mechanic because I have a soft spot for cars.

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

JZ : For me, design is a very interesting thing. It is both traceable and ever-changing, with infinite possibilities. It can be high-end fashion or daily nostalgia. In short, design is a game that makes me happy.

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

JZ : The most supportive of me is definitely my family, they will always encourage me and praise me, which makes me have more confidence, with confidence to do one thing will naturally do better.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

JZ : I don't dare to say that I am a great designer. I would probably prefer to say that I am a designer. The driving force that has always helped me move forward is that every piece I design has entered the shelves for sale. Consumers who like my designs can be very happy to buy these goods. This is something I am extremely happy about.

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

JZ : In the design of this road, the difficulties we have encountered are actually very many, including the distrust of customers, the control of production costs limits the landing of many creative ideas, some products cannot be purchased by more people because they do not have good sales channels, and so on. However, with the gradual enrichment of their own experience and the increasing number of design works entering the sales market, including the professional recognition of international events such as the A Design Award, the obstacles are fewer and fewer.

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

JZ : The best presentation of design works should be on the shelves, not in the art gallery, because design should serve human life.

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

JZ : I have recently designed several beer packages, and I can look forward to whether I can break the form of expression of regular beer and have more interesting and rich content display. Please wait.

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

JZ : I hope that I can always maintain my love for design, always get joy from design seeds, until I can have new design works when my hair is gray, and can act as a teacher to pass on my experience to the next generation of young designers.

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

JZ : I think people's expectations of designers should be able to continuously bring excellent design works. The greatest value of a designer is a good work.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

JZ : Good design can not only bring people a pleasant experience, but also contribute to the cause of environmental protection. Through the use of new materials, through the ingenious design to reduce the use of glue and nails, and help to continuously optimize the global environment, people's mood is good, and the society is naturally more harmonious and beautiful.

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

JZ : I'm never more excited than when I'm turning a project from an idea into a physical object, and I've always designed with that in mind; certainly when I knew I'd won the A' Design Award.

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

JZ : I like most of the projects, and I must choose one that is most satisfying. I prefer Ying Hua Qing Su gift box, which may be a recent work. I prefer Ying Hua Qing Su gift box, because this gift box is not only beautiful, but also represents the characteristics of the city of Wuhan. Moreover, the design of the inner small box is very ingenious. In addition to environmental protection without glue, the inner box and the outer box form a kind of artistic beauty of "mirror lake floating cherry blossoms," which is a special healing work.

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

JZ : Many design works are now beginning to pay more attention to the expressiveness of the picture, while ignoring the product attributes and emotional expression, which is very dangerous, because this will make many design works have no individuality and will gradually be the same. Then our living environment will be extremely monotonous and boring, and there will be no emotional concern. Therefore, I hope that the design industry will not blindly pursue the trend, but should study the emotional connection between its own products and consumers, make unique designs with personality, and let the design works blossom.

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

JZ : Design will become more and more important in the business environment, because the technical barriers of many products are getting weaker and weaker, and the quality is getting better and better. Consumers will choose a product from the previous focus on product quality and price, and the upgrade will also depend on whether the design is their favorite. Design will play a very big role in consumers' purchase decisions.

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

JZ : The length of time required for different projects is different, for example, we design a package that takes about 1 month to 2 months, and a complete brand design may take 2 to 3 months.

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

JZ : For new design projects, we will try the products in the first step, and then have a deep chat with the brand founder, and then go to the supermarket for a walk to see the appearance of the same type of products on the shelves. We have to be different from them, so that we can stand out from the shelves of the same type of products.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

JZ : Making designs that convey feelings

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

JZ : I think it has to be design that leads the way, and if it were the other way around, it would be a disaster.

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

JZ : The technology I use when I design is very few, of course, in post-production, if more advanced printing technology can be used, it is still very useful from the perspective of environmental protection, uniqueness and quality.

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

JZ : I usually use Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Cinema 4D.

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

JZ : The purity of color can make the design more unified and colorful, of course, there are also characteristic colors such as luminous ink printing, which can make the design more interesting; advanced materials can make the design more diverse.

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

JZ : I'd rather people ask me about such a clever design, how did you come up with it, and make a joke. I would rather hope that people have their own imagination, because the goods are more often seen by consumers themselves, rather than listening to your explanation. If the design requires excessive explanation, it will lose the meaning of design. It is better to write an article.

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

JZ : I thought, if I were to design this product, how would I do it? Of course, it will also be necessary to learn from the success of others.

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

JZ : Many of my design projects are done in collaboration. I like to work with illustrators very much, because to get high-quality illustrations, you need to work with illustrators with corresponding styles. I believe in them very much, because the main ideas are done by me, and the partners are more about execution.

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

JZ : In fact, it was the students I went to the university with that had the biggest impact on me, because they did not have much experience in commercial design. When they think, they will have no scruples. There are some very wonderful ideas. This is very helpful to me. It can break my ideological confinement and make my thinking more divergent.

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

JZ : In fact, I rarely read, I prefer to experience life, I think life itself is a most colorful book.

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

JZ : When it comes to design techniques, the techniques I use are very few. Of course, design techniques are important, but I don't think we should rely too much on techniques. We should rely more on thoughts and emotions.

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

JZ : I would like to stay on campus and mingle with the students, because that will keep me alive.

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

JZ : Of course, I am very happy to receive the award, but the award can only represent the past. I need to constantly create good works. These awards can also help me improve my own requirements to a certain extent. It is still very difficult to win the award.

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

JZ : I prefer red and black. They love their food and their home. I like autumn the most, the harvest is golden yellow everywhere, and it is very warm. I don't chase the brand too much, and pay more attention to the experience brought by the product.

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

JZ : There are too many interesting things. Let's tell an interactive story about my daughter. I often take the works I design to show my daughter. My daughter is 4 years old. She still doesn't know words and can only read pictures. However, she always looks at a work from her own perspective and can accurately say which design she likes. Sometimes I let my daughter help me choose the design draft. It is also very interesting.

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

JZ : I enjoy the design process, enjoy the process of creating something from nothing, and I hope that every piece I design can be easily found on the shelves, which will be a great sense of accomplishment.

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

JZ : When I was a child, I actually wanted to work in a car-related job, and as I grew up, I slowly came into contact with design and fell in love with design.

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

JZ : A thousand years is a long way away, I didn't think that far ahead. How I want to be curious about my future, how to keep the freshness of design, how to keep finding fulfillment and happiness from design, this is the basis for me to stick to design.

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

JZ : Please remember my idea and spread it:making designs that convey feelings



Ying Hua Qing Su Packaging

Ying Hua Qing Su Packaging by Jin Zhang

Jinlongquan Yanzhi Packaging

Jinlongquan Yanzhi Packaging by Jin Zhang

Xiaoxiancao Tea Bag

Xiaoxiancao Tea Bag by Jin Zhang

Zhu Xixi Gift Box

Zhu Xixi Gift Box by Jin Zhang

Jinlongquan Beer Packaging

Jinlongquan Beer Packaging by Jin Zhang

Design Legends Logo

© 2020 Design Legends - All Rights Reserved

Design Legends platform highlights valuable insights from the best designers from across the globe; a great resource for all designers to learn, reflect and think about good design and how good design helps create value for the society.

Design Legends website was created by DesignPRWire and A' Design Award to promote truly great designers, outstanding architects and inspirational artists that contribute to the development and advancement of society with their outstanding works.