A New Generation of Chinese Designer Emerging at the Shores of Xiamen

Pei-Yun 设计师  is a talented, young designer from Xiamen, Fujian Province in China. She currently works at Treehouse, a specialized design studio for product development and animation. Pei-Yun stands for a new smart generation of Chinese Designers. Technically well trained, bubbling of ideas and vast imagination to create their own future reality. We spoke with her about her career start, her dreams, fears and how she see’s her future.

When did you first start thinking/working in/about design?

I entered the industry thanks to the help of my design college tutor. Digital media by then is a rather young department and new area in China. When he showed us the great motions, games, installation artworks created by successful artists from other countries, I fell it right at that moment that this is what I want to learn and pursuit the career of a designer. I am deeply attracted to everything in this area – games, motion graphics, UI designs and more! I don’t set up boundaries for myself. My way of thinking helps me getting involved in various works and gaining different experience. Now, I am constantly learning, being happy around my work of design and hoping that my work can bring delight and joy to other people and has a positive impact on communication.

What role does technology play in the work that you do? How important do you think it is to keep up to date with technology for your work?

I believe technology is the giant that we, the designers, stand on the shoulder of. We can make things with great value and meaning for the world based on the technology. Keeping up to date is of great importance. In my work, new designs will be generated with the release of new technology. Design is the expansion and recreation of technology and needs to be kept pace with the time. It will impact on people’s living experience directly whether the design follows the tech development or not.

What kinds of projects do you enjoy working on? Why are these projects fun for you?

I am mostly into gaming projects, especially with VR and AR involved. The designing process needs proper difficulty levels which requires 3D software and game engines. It completes with great sense of achievement. Besides, I myself am a big fan of games which are highly variable and interactive, giving me a lot of freedom. Also, new technology reflects directly in the gaming industry, keeping me up to date.

If you could design anything in the world right now, what would it be and why?

I would like to design a house for myself because comfort space makes me feel safe. I plan to have several functional areas where I can sit practicing my different hobbies, spending the whole day by myself.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a designer? How have you overcome those challenges?

The process is definitely more important than the result of either winning or losing. The effort and the experience will tell you that you are making progress. When I was less experienced, I needed to fill myself up with some work that I am not good at, such as UI design. I remember the nerve, worry and unsureness. My way is to admit the bad feelings and look for solutions. I told myself that it was all normal to be nervous and afraid because I am not there yet. But I can be there by reading, absorbing more knowledges, hands-on practicing and hard working. I am not that panicking when working hard.  I’ll overcome the challenge when I give it my all.

What kinds of tips do you have for people who work primarily on computers, in terms of taking care of the mind and body?

We all have computer illness like humpback, rounded shoulders, even sore neck and shoulder pain. Exercise is crucial. Any sport will do. Girls like to do Yoga. Great choice. I personally recommend Pilates for it can strengthen the core and build up muscle power of the upper body, such as the abdominal area and the back. It also increases the protection of the chest, abdomen and spine. Last but not least, try not to stay up late too often. Although quite nights bring me focus, the brighter morning can make you feel more hopeful and delightful.

How do you like to express yourself? What kinds of fashion and art do you appreciate?

I am more a quite listener in conversations and a reserved and cautious person between people that I am not familiar with. But a total joker in front of my friends. I appreciate simple and vintage looks. Most of my outfits go with plain and single color. I like white, black and brown because I felt like wearing plain papers which can hold my expression by matching personal accessories.
Art roots in real life. I love old things for their historical traces and emotional stories. It reminds me of Shapowei, the old, little fishing port in Xiamen just 5 or 6 years ago. Everything stays what it was by then. Every traditional house has its own story. Every drop of the sea has the unique flavor of moss and shells. Every boardwalk remains its slightly wicked shapes after times of times of reparation. These are the rhythms echoes unexpectedly between nature and human.

Where do you get inspiration from?

I seek references from websites like Behance and Dribble, when I am learning. In my daily life, as long as it is not too noisy, I can always find inspiration. It is everywhere.

What kinds of opportunities and experiences do you find exciting? Why is this exciting for you?

Travel to a new place excites me. For example, to a new city, new school, doing interviews, first day at work, etc. Because it starts a new life. I don’t know what it will bring for the future, who I am going to meet and what I am going to be. That is what I am nervous about, excited with and looking forward to.

Can you tell us about some of your favorite hobbies outside of design and digital art? What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I have lots of hobbies. Part from design, I love handcrafts, music and dance. I play games, do gyms, reading books about psychology in my spare time. Gaming is one of my interests and also work related. I can also socialize in it. Gym is where my no-extra-work day goes. I like taking control of my body and the feeling of relaxing and safty. My interest with psychology comes from my will to learning about myself. I am emotional and sensitive, often experiencing crazy mood swings. I want to know what triggers my emotions, and learn about my true demands in order to pursuit my desirable life.

How do you see Xiamen as a good place to work in the creative industry?

It has a great geographical location, facing Taiwan across the Straits. Xiamen also hosts a number of good companies like Meitu and Feiyu. The environment and market is not fully developed yet, which is very suitable for the creative industry and artistic professional.

What does Xiamen have what other cities don’t?

I think the charm of Xiamen lies in relaxing lives, art and the ocean. Life here is rather peaceful with some good job opportunities but not too pressure as the metropolitan areas like Shanghai or Beijing. Xiamen University plays a significant role in setting a tone for the art of the city. The surrounding area of the university has developed into art zone with commercial streets, one of the most popular place for young people. After work, friends are coming together, visiting the galleries, touring the art zone, enjoying the sea breeze – that’s the life of Xiamen.

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