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Life & Work with Jye Yang

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jye Yang.

Hi Jye, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I was drawn to graphic design before I knew the term ‘graphic design.’ Album covers, movie posters, sports jerseys, and even the tattoos on my favorite basketball player fascinate me from an early age. My notebooks from school were filled with doodles; they were drawings of my imaginary album art or basketball jerseys more often than not. I can’t pinpoint where my passion for graphic design came from, but I’ve always felt an inherent urge to create visuals, and I knew I have a good eye for them. A family friend who’s in the music industry introduced me to graphic design. At that time, I had only started my studies of political science at National Taiwan University. Although it didn’t take long for me to realize a career as a civil servant, diplomat, political science scholar, etc., was not what I wanted. My parents are in finance, and there aren’t many art or design backgrounds in my family. Besides, the high school that I went to prepared students to attend universities and not art and design colleges. I had to find my own way to the field of design.

I would go to my political science classes during the day (or sometimes even skip them altogether) and attend design courses at other colleges at night. The urge and desire to create art and design have always propelled me forward, and that’s the main reason I changed my path from political science to graphic design. Before becoming a designer, music and being a drummer in bands were my creative outlets. Though music still serves as a major inspiration to my work, I feel much more free designing than composing music. I love how design creates something tangible for emotion, thoughts, and ideas. Last August, I graduated from ArtCenter College of Design’s Graduate Graphic Design program, and I’m currently working as a designer in California. There were many late nights, caffeine, and deadlines at ArtCenter; nevertheless, I’m incredibly grateful for my education, all my talented and amazing instructors and peers, and the support of my family and friends along the way. Since coming to the U.S. almost five years ago, it’s safe to say that graphic design has become the lens for me to experience my American dream.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
No, I wouldn’t say it has been a smooth road. I know that ‘change is the only constant’ sounds like a corny platitude, but in fact, the road to where I am today is winding and consists of many twists and turns, ups and downs. Although I grew up in Taiwan, I spent part of my childhood in New Zealand, and now I’m living in Los Angeles. There have been many changes in sceneries and cultures around me. I’ve also switched my studies from political science to graphic design. However, I wouldn’t call these shifts and jolts ‘struggles’ either. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t felt much doubt. The desire to create has always fueled me, even if the medium has varied along the way. And I’d like to think that my experiences serve as inspirations and positive influences to my work.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m currently a graphic designer based in California, specializing in branding/identity systems and transmedia design. To be precise, those are the two areas that I focused on during my coursework at ArtCenter, and that I feel somewhat confident in. However, I try not to limit my role as a graphic designer. My thesis was actually an exploration of graphic design’s interdisciplinary landscape, and it argues one of our greatest strengths is the diverse and expansive practice we have. ‘You have a distinct aesthetic to your work.’ This is the most common comment I’ve received. While ‘being different’ is not intentional, thinking about the reason behind it is something that often occupies my mind. I haven’t come up with a satisfying answer, or I don’t think there’s one inclusive answer. Nevertheless, there were some interesting discoveries. For one, my typography layouts tend to be more loud, busy, and ‘quirky.’ Never understood where this inclination came from until one time I went back to Taipei on vacation. I stood on the sidewalk close to my home, and when I tilted my head and looked up, my vision was crammed with numerous store signs, each with different scales, colors, and fonts. And yet, not one of them seemed out of place to me; they all painted a familiar picture that is rooted in me. I love it when my life experiences unexpectedly trickle down and influence my work.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I expect myself to be one of the hardest workers in any room. My work ethic is a promise I made to myself before coming to the States, and my training at ArtCenter only solidified it. It took me some time, different paths to be in an environment that nourishes being a creative. When I majored in political science, I hated that there was a constant feeling of emptiness not being able to create or self-express. I can still clearly recall that feeling. Therefore, I don’t take my journey for granted, and I cherish the opportunity to learn, grow, and work as a graphic designer.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Alex Seth

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