A' Design Award Competition
2016 - 2017 Winner Interviews
Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Ada Wong (AW) for A'Design Awards. Interview with Ada Wong at Tuesday 2nd of May 2017
FS：Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
AW：I graduated from the Art Design School of Wuhan University of Science and Engineering, undergraduate, as a Bachelor of Arts.
FS：What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
AW：I had that dream of becoming a designer since I was very young and have never considered any other job so far.
FS：Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
AW：I choose it positively as I always do.
FS：What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
AW：I do all types of designs, such as graphic design, Internet product design, commercial illustrations and game concept design. I like different types of designs.
FS：What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
AW：I always insist on passion and perseverance. As long as a person loves it from his true heart, he will do whatever he can to solve the problems he meets, otherwise, he may easily give up. The premise of perseverance is this passion for the job.
FS：What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
AW：I don’t think I am a great master now. I am nothing but a newcomer to a good designer and there is still a long way to go, so I cannot tell their difference. Sorry!
FS：What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
AW：A good design is judged by many criteria for various dimensions. I highly value the market influence of a design, and a good design should help customers win more competitive advantages. If the design fails to serve his business purpose and fails to create business value, it is only a good design in art, but not in commercial market.
FS：What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
AW：A good design can bring products with incomparable market competitiveness, especially in China. This is the inevitable trend in product development after the commercial market develops. If an industrial product does not have the least visual beauty, it is very hard to image that people will buy it, therefore design surely deserves the investment.
FS：What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
AW：I would make some design works or pictures that I like and make it only to myself.
FS：What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
AW：I dreamed of taking some pictures in the Antarctic, but it is still a dream.
FS：What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
AW：My secret is to talk to the customer face to face! I do not accept design projects with any third-party organization as a broker, because I would never see my customer throughout the design process. Most often, the success of design depends on face to face communication with the final customer, because only in this way, the designer is able to completely understand the ideas and standing of his customer, so that he can make necessary adjustments to the conditions in cooperation. Without face-to-face negotiation, design is a pointless job and cannot win attention from the customer.
FS：Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
AW：I get inspirations and references from many masters in the ancient times. I like studying the cultures and history of different countries and learn very novel ideas from their artworks.
FS：What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
AW：I like the design works more than a particular designer. A good design may be from different persons and my personal preference will not be limited to any particular person or team.
FS：What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
AW：I do not have my greatest design yet, because design is not a job one can fully manifest his personal wills. Sometimes, I have to make concessions and properly deal with the relations between different parties, to reach a balance. Customer’s needs are not to demonstrate the skills of the designer, but designers should serve such needs and have some regrets inevitably in the design works. More importantly, a piece of work has to be enjoyed by most of people, not the designer himself.
FS：How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
AW：Design level is a part of capability, but not all, and, more importantly, a designer should understand the business needs of his design, so as to make it in line with expectations of the majority. For this purpose, extensive knowledge and information are required, other than the design itself.
FS：If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
AW：I may likely run for election, funding, speeches, canvass, attendance of TV debates…They are interesting and I would like to have a try.
FS：Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
AW：I may have attentions and supports from my family and friends, but what really matters is that I have to rely on myself and fight for it.
FS：What helped you to become a great designer?
AW：I am not yet a great designer. If something makes me a great designer, it must be the idea of “becoming a great designer”!
FS：What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
AW：There are too much. My understanding for design is not deep enough. I am doing the designing mainly from the aspects of techniques and have not come to the level of souls and hearts. I may compromise before poor business environments and have many concerns, and my heart has not yet become fearless. I will look around and have worries, and there is still a pretty long way to go...
FS：How do you think designers should present their work?
AW：The most important thing in the expression of design is to convey the information, in which clearly expressed information is more important than the visual attractions. Because it is the design itself other than its introduction that impresses people most.
FS：What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
AW：I have no idea what the next project is. Maybe a brand image design, or a website design or software system design, or game conception design. Whatever it is, I will face it in a professional way.
FS：What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
AW：I hope my design helps to make more harmonious interpersonal relations in the society, so that people can put aside their disputes and share a common value, so that our society can move forward.
FS：What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
AW：One must be strict with himself by applying professional standards and attitudes and feel responsible for what he is doing.
FS：How does design help create a better society?
AW：I believe the best thing in design is to provide a common language that requires no translation, so that people can understand the information conveyed through the images, especially information that requires attentions from everyone, such as environment, human rights, animal protection, children, poverty relief and actions against violence ... Design helps to make a better society. Languages, sometimes, cause misunderstandings but images are more intuitive and create more impacts that call people for reflection.
FS：What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
AW：I am a rational man and always stay calm even when I am doing something I like.
FS：Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
AW：I like every project I have worked on so far, but the better one always belongs to the next one.
FS：What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
AW：I hope design will someday become a real part of people’s life. People do not focus on the practical use and cost effectiveness of products, but should focus more on tastes and enjoyment, which will make a great space for the market of design.
FS：Where do you think the design field is headed next?
AW：My next design is on VR and AI products. There is vast space that has been not developed at all in the two fields.
FS：When you have a new design project, where do you start?
AW：A successful design starts with communication, like why and what is going to do? One should not do it without asking.
FS：What is your life motto as a designer?
AW：I am an idealist and my motto is “Even life is going to end tomorrow, do it now because it is never late!
FS：Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
AW：This is an interesting question. There are even conflicting answers among designers to the question of which is dominating between design and trend.
I personally think that trend sets design. Why? Trend is decided by the development of industrial technologies, for example, in fashion design, new technologies produce new materials, and new materials, after they become affordable, will be widely adopted in the market. Since design serves the market, it uses the new materials and creates new fashions. In this process, design is never independent of the industrial technology development, but on the contrary, design is a result of industrial technology development. So, I believe trend decides the presentation of design.
FS：What is the role of technology when you design?
AW：Technology is not the ultimate goal of design, but simply a way to the goal. It is like the relationship between a boat and a river. Design is to cross the river by using the boat, but not to study the boat while standing on it and forget the goal of crossing the river. When we choose a technology, it does not matter whether it is the latest, the most sophisticated or the most popular one. We choose it as long as it agrees with the design needs and helps us to reach the final goal.
FS：What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
AW：All of the three factors are closely related to the final production cost. Very often the designer has to do designing within a cost range preset by the customer. The selection of a particular color or material and the environment of realization depends on actual conditions and has influences on the final expression of the product, so the balance among various factors is of the greatest importance.
FS：What do you wish people to ask about your design?
AW：Elegance and uniqueness, to convey a beautiful life.
FS：When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
AW：A great design should be able to shape social development and, therefore, it is certain to play positive roles in the society. I appreciate the influence of design on the society.
FS：Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
AW：I do believe it, though I have not yet found my ideal partner. Once I find him, I can build a close and mutual understanding relationship with my partner.
FS：Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
AW：Ideas from another person help the designer to jump off his restrictions and complete the design. Being professional sometimes leads to a narrowed vision, and different ideas can set the designer free, so I also care about opinions of others and finish it in a professional way.
FS：Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
AW：I read books on history, literature and social science, as well as articles on art history. These help a designer to develop deeper thoughts on design.
FS：How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
AW：I learn the software skills in the actual jobs, by reading books or attending online courses.
FS：Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
AW：I do not have any particular person that I want to meet. This is because a designer can have a soul-to soul talk with another through his works. If they understand each other, communication is simple through the works, or otherwise, they have nothing to talk, even face to face.
FS：How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
AW：Design is an industry that has a pyramid structure. The famous people are always a small portion of the society. Awards and recognition only explain the current level of a designer but do not mean that he is at the top of the pyramid. If a person does designing simply for being famous, he may very likely be disappointed. I like awards and recognition, but they are nothing but self-motivation to me.
FS：What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
AW：I like purple, forests most, Chinese dishes, spring, walking and photography.
FS：Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
AW：Sometimes, I have projects in various cities and every time I come to a new place, I would like to learn its local characteristics. This makes me feel the vastness and all the wonders of the world. For example, I had once a forest adventure alone, but in the afternoon, then it changed suddenly and began to snow, so I had to walk 7 kilometers to a safe destination. No one else has a glimpse of the grandness and glorious view of the forest that day.
FS：What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
AW：Very often, design fails to win recognition from the customer, but the designer should see it objectively. Commercial design requires coordination among many departments. Although many designs are not well aligned to customer needs, it does not necessarily mean that they are not good. Therefore, a designer must distinguish his design from work and understand their differences. I often say to myself, “It is pretty normal and does not matter!”
FS：What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
AW：We may look back at the changes to the society throughout the human history of over 1,000 years, especially changes in the past 100 years. The changes to human society were greater than any period in the history. We will see even faster changes in the future which may be more astonishing. I guess, in the next 1,000 years, the urban civilization on earth will become an interstellar civilization. Voyager1 and Voyager2 may well bring us good news.
FS：Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
AW：I hope they can really understand how a designer serves the product and project, but should not take it for granted that design is a simple thing. I also hope people give more respect to professional opinions of designers, rather than see designers as “followers”.