Today we’d like to introduce you to Wan Sian Lai.
Hi Wan Sian, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I am a graphic designer who grew up in Taiwan, a culturally diverse environment that provided me with an abundance of visual inspiration. My obsession with music began as a teen and grew to new heights after I began keeping collections of CD albums. I was attracted to the well-arranged and polished albums as well as the glossiness of the photos, and particularly the slick, professional portraits. Making crafts and drawing has always been my passion, but I didn’t anticipate graphic design would be my future career because I was major in English and minor in Japanese. Besides, my father is a traditional person who doesn’t believe in the value of art or design, which obstructed me from studying design. The experience as an exchange student enabled me to travel to various places, global cities where I was able to appreciate their cultural and religious diversity, as well as to meet people from other cultures and traditions, thus broadening my horizons.
As I first moved to Pasadena, I bumped into a stranger on the street and his words encouraged me to fulfill my dream of being an artist and designer. As a result, after completing my exchange program, I changed my major to communications design. After beginning as a freelancer at the age of 19 and earning many awards in the design field, I’m glad that I made the right choice and have already established a solid reputation in the industry and worked on several fantastic projects. I devoted my heart and time to graphic design and was blessed to earn a full scholarship to enroll in the Pratt Institute’s Communications Design Graduate program in New York. Now I’m a graphic designer who had my first solo exhibition last month in New York and will continue to work and communicate with my passions in design and art.
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?
When I found my passion in graphic design, my father used many ways to persuade me not to study graphic design, and there were few intense fights I would never forget. I promised myself I can only be great at it to show him my determination. This is an obstacle but at the same time, a huge motivation for me in my career. Since last year, we have all experienced unexpected, anxious, and dark moments due to the pandemic. This certainly has influenced the creative industry. As a graphic designer, the project I was working on had to cease and my life has turned upside down. Looking back from now, It was a precious time to reexamine my career, the relationship with the world, and the people around me. I hope to turn this challenge into another motivation to improve myself as a good designer, friend, daughter, and human.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I consider myself a generalist because I believe the knowledge in different fields could inspire my work in graphic design. My areas of focus include print and digital design, such as visual identity, editorial design, illustrations, and user interface design. I have worked with clients in the industry of fashion, music, culture, and emerging technologies both in Taiwan and the States. It is honored to have won a few awards nationally and internationally. Besides, my works are selected for the “BARCELONA CONTEMPORARY 2021” exhibition this year. Having these affirmations from the industry reminds me to enhance my profession and stay humble. More importantly, I hope to create more works that deliver both viscerally exciting and sensorily satisfying to the audience.