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Interview with Wan Fen Chen

Home > Designer Interviews > Wan Fen Chen

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Wan Fen Chen (WFC) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Wan Fen Chen by clicking here.

Interview with Wan Fen Chen at Wednesday 25th of May 2022
Wan Fen Chen
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?
WFC: I have had a high interest in painting since I was a child, so I chose to study in the advertising design department of a vocational high school. After working for two years, I decided to go back to school to study design, so I was admitted to the applied art department of the university. Being a designer should be my career in life.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
WFC: In 2019, I founded maruko design studio, a one-person design studio. Design projects are not limited to graphic design, as long as it involves visual arts, I can design and produce.

FS: What is "design" for you?
WFC: I like to add some small interactive functions to the products I design. For example, one of washi tape I designed has a section that is not filled with color, only the pattern lines are retained, allowing users to paint their favorite colors.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
WFC: I like designs that make people say "WOW" when they look at them.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
WFC: The Teshima Art Museum, designed by Ryue Nishizawa, is located on the island of Teshima in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan. The appearance of the museum is like a water drop falling on the ground. The building structure is a pillarless white cement wall, which is completely integrated with the surrounding terraced landscape. The patio opens with large and small openings, allowing natural light, wind and rain to flow freely. The springs on the island provide irrigation for the terraced fields. Artist Rei Naito used this concept to design installations on the floor of the museum, so that water droplets slowly pour out from the ground and then converge in one place. In this space, you can fully experience the change and tranquility of nature. I used to sit there quietly for over an hour and it was a great experience.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
WFC: Day Code - Chinese Almanac. It is also award-winning work.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
WFC: I love paper. It can be soft or stuff, and different papers have different touches.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
WFC: When window shopping. Find many thoughtful or creative designs from the commercially available items.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
WFC: Whether it can solve the user's problem or trouble.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
WFC: Starting a new design must be confusing, what elements to place? What style do you want to present? How to attract people's attention and so on, Many items need to be determined. During the design process I would imagine the client's mood when they see the finished product and hope they are happy. When the finished product is the most exciting, it means that all the solutions have been implemented and can be used in real.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
WFC: A sense of accomplishment. Prove that the original idea is not just a fantasy.

FS: What makes a design successful?
WFC: Constant testing and correction.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
WFC: Can it resonate with the target audience?

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
WFC: Bring people a more convenient life without destroying the ecology of the earth.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
WFC: The design field is getting wider and wider, and user experience is as important as visual aesthetics. Anything that changes requires design, and everyone can design, but professional designers need to pay attention more to details and improve design quality.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
WFC: The last time I participated was at Tokyo Design Week in Tokyo, Japan in 2015. Participating in overseas exhibitions and exhibiting with a group of great designers was a great experience. It is expected to participate in DESIGN FESTA in Tokyo, Japan in 2023.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
WFC: See more cases in various design fields. Continuous design, even if no commissioned, will design the design I want to do.

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?
WFC: Simple, understated, and subdued. The simpler the composition, the more the subject can be highlighted. I will draw all the elements I want to express on the paper then select them one by one, simplify the lines, and then use the computer graphics software to complete the work.

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?
WFC: I live in Taiwan. There are many beautiful traditional patterns in Taiwan, and I am also committed to applying these beautiful patterns to works of my brand. Taiwan is paying more and more attention to design, but designers have not received professional trust.

FS: How do you work with companies?
WFC: I will first understand why the company created this project? What are the needs for the project? What style do they want? After determining the needs, start designing several layouts, ask the customer to confirm the design style. And continue to fine-tune and correct until the finished product is completed.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
WFC: Choose a designer who understands your company, not a well-known designer.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
WFC: After deciding which elements to put in the design, draw the each possibilities on paper. Then select several designs that can be continued and enter the computer to complete the prototype design.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
WFC: 1. Sakura pencils from Sun-Star Stationery, Japan. The shape of the pencil is in the shape of cherry blossoms. Carefully sharpen the pencil with a blade, you can cut out the wood chips in the shape of cherry blossom petals. 2. Floral Post-it notes designed by Natsuko Kurosawa. The post-it notes are shaped into petals, which are like a flower before use. Stick post-it notes on book pages, documents, as if petals are scattered all over the place. 3. Fortune toothpicks designed by Hiroyasu Tsuchiya. Print the words “lucky” and “lucky very much” on the end of the toothpick. After eating the food on the fork, you can see how your fortune is today. 4. Rainbow acrylic drinking glasses sold by MoMA. Drinking water is a small action in daily life, because the rainbow is swaying on the water, and the water feels delicious. 5. Finally, of course, the Day Code - Chinese Almanac designed by me.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
WFC: I arrive at the studio at about 7:30 every day. On the commute to the studio, I will browse some SNS, look at the current fashion trends and design information, and learn how everyone manages their own SNS. After a hearty breakfast, I make a cup of coffee, and then star to work. The first thing to do is to send and receive emails and some trivial matters, such as: accounting, and then enter the long-term design work. Every 2 or 3 hours of work, I will take a small break and watch a 15-minute video on OTT to change my mood. In the evening, I sometimes continue to design work, and sometimes I browse Pinterest to see design works from all over the world.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
WFC: See more, learn more, think more.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
WFC: When designers encounter problems, they will try their best to solve them. But it is easy to give up when no one approves of the design work.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
WFC: Consistency, neat layout, clear information, and practicality.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
WFC: Communication skills. Designers need to be able to understand the needs of their clients and also be able to communicate their ideas clearly.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
WFC: Paper, pen, Adobe, Pinterest.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
WFC: I will divide the day into four sections, the first section is 30 minutes, dealing with trivial matters. The rest are about 4 hours each in the morning, noon and evening. I would try to do the same type of work at the same time interval.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
WFC: Depending on the scale of the project. There are 1 to 7 months.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
WFC: What the situation will this design be used.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
WFC: The job for the last of design company that I worked. During the 6 years of working there, in addition to graphic design, I also began to contact other design fields, such as interior design, exhibition design, event design and so on.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
WFC: Orange Fab Asia, HSBC (Taiwan), IBM (Taiwan), Prudential Life Insurance (Taiwan), AstraZeneca (Taiwan), Novartis (Taiwan)

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
WFC: There is no specific design area. As long as it is way by design, shape the ideas, I like them at all.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
WFC: Commercialize the works of Taiwanese painters and let more people know Taiwanese painters.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
WFC: Develop my designs myself.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
WFC: Currently, I am designing a group portrait of 60 Tai Sui Taiwanese gods, which will first be published in the form of a calendar. Ps. The 60 Tai sui: in the Chinese zodiac, these 60 heavenly Soldiers, assist the Jade Emperor in taking charge of the well-being of the Mortal World.

FS: How can people contact you?
WFC: You can leave private message on the official website or SNS https://marukodesign.com.tw/ https://www.facebook.com/maruko.design https://www.instagram.com/marukodesign/


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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