Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Zhongkai Li (ZL) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Zhongkai Li by clicking here.
Interview with Zhongkai Li at Sunday 10th of August 2014
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
ZL: I am a graphic design student studying at china central academy of fine arts, I am interested in different areas of the art, and I like to help people solve problems, so I decided to be a designer. Yes, I've always wanted to be a designer, I think it is the world's coolest career.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
ZL: My brand was established in 2013 in Beijing, I and my three other designer friends Shared studio, we engaged in many different types of design work at the same time. Studio is located in Beijing 798 art center. This is a very creative place, very happy to work here.
FS: What is "design" for you?
ZL: Design has become a part of my life, I will to think about it every moment.
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
ZL: I like to challenge myself, so I like crossover, discuss problems with different areas of the designer. For graphic design , I like the poster design and Illustration , this is the place where the most that can give full play to my imagination.
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
ZL: En…. Actually it is difficult to answer this question, I am willing to accept all kinds of different categories of culture and design styles. In the Netherlands, graphic design is always has certain relations with construction, so Netherlands’s graphic design always conveys information definition and structural, this let me very fascinating. At the same time, the French design more favored artistic enthusiasm, also very attractive to me.
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
ZL: Well, I remember it is as if a brochure.
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
ZL: I like silk and the traditional process, as well as the 3-d printing.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
ZL: When walking, or when I see something of interest.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
ZL: Details, quality sense and creative.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
ZL: When I was involved in the one I am interested in the project, I'll keep excited state, sometimes even so forget dinner time.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
ZL: I think this time is the most excited and proud moment for every designer.
FS: What makes a design successful?
ZL: The time your pay and correct thinking methods.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
ZL: The balance between the practical and beautiful, because the people-oriented design. Form follows function, but the design must be attractive.
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
ZL: I think it's environmental sustainability. Our resources are dwindling, how to use effective resources to create more social value, the designer should consider the problem, and I've been thinking about it.
FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
ZL: With the improvement of technology and the information age brings people huge data, the consciousness of the people will change, I think it will become increasingly blurred the boundary of the design, the designer should be to think more of other related problems.
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
ZL: In 2012, my work《the edge of content》exhibited in the China international exhibition center.
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
ZL: I was inspired by what I feel of the surrounding environment. I think the natural gift is never interrupted, because I always keep the sensitivity to the life.
FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
ZL: I call it natural abstraction. Because in life there are too many resources for us to use, you only need to pay attention to it, you will find an infinity of fun, I tired to use information translation way to convert my collected source of inspiration.
FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
ZL: I live in Beijing, China. Yes, there is a very big effect. In Chinese philosophy and context,we say” heaven-man syncretism”,The thoughts of "heaven-man syncretism" lie in natural, balance, merge, integration of nature and human, which comes from the Confucianism. So when I design my works,I always will take into account the balance between man and nature. Good point is that our country there are a lot of excellent traditional process can help me achieve my idea; bad point, there aren't many opportunities for young designers who is lack of financial resources to realize they designs, more to stay in the conceptual phase.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
ZL: The whole process is very complex. Firstly, should be the preliminary design concepts, and then is the market research. Further, is analysis of data, and then find the uniqueness of the brand and product positioning, and then begin to enter into the design phase, finally find the “ShuFu” to make the product.
FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
ZL: I work in the studio Every day, I will have dinner with friends that I can talk to each other, and then to go swimming or walking. The weekend I usually will go to short-term travel, see some exhibitions, or join some interesting activities.
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
ZL: Go ahead, then just do it.
FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
ZL: Positive is that you are changing the world, negative you faced with great pressure and challenge.
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
ZL: Do the most extreme.
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
ZL: Learn to communicate with people, transpositonal consideration and empathy.
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
ZL: I use some basic design software, such as ps, ill, id... I also use my pen, brushes and material that I collect. Don't be trapped by computer control, software is a basic tool, your hands and brain is core tools.
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
ZL: Keep a clear head, when I was caught in a dilemma, I will go to do another thing instead of it, when you come back again, you might have a new idea. so，jump out of the box。
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
ZL: It depends on the project, I have spent four months to create Raw Material.
FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
ZL: where is my inspiration comes from.
FS: What was your most important job experience?
ZL: I think it’s now, in my studio.
FS: Who are some of your clients?
ZL: Many different types, design studios, galleries and artists,also some companies, such as the telecommunications companies.
FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
ZL: Create my own brand is the most exciting, because I put all my effort, time and ideas, and I also learn to many other aspects of knowledge. This is a kind of unexpected harvest.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
ZL: I'll keep my research and create new products for next season. But this season will be more diversified.
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
ZL: I work with myself.
FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
ZL: In cooperation with some artists now, research and development of some derivatives of art. This process is very interesting, because we were all over the country to find good craft and art.
FS: How can people contact you?
ZL: https://www.behance.net/lizhongkai , E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org , phone:86+18810598774, Instagram:OLIVER199341
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