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Meet Danyang Ma

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danyang Ma.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a self-motivated visual designer, problem solver, and storyteller from Beijing. I am currently living and working in New York City, with occasional freelance work in Los Angeles.

I have enjoyed painting since I was a child. As a young girl, I was hugely influenced by Asian pop culture. I used to imitate the art from my favorite mangas in elementary school and then I started using Photoshop to make art pieces in middle school. As a beginner, this experience helped me to gradually develop a personal art style that has really crystallized as I have moved into my professional career. Being the daughter of an architect, I am also a rational person who believes that art can move beyond pure expression and can also serve greater purposes to change how we think or behave. Because of the impacts that can be made through art, I have never considered any path other than becoming a designer. There is no greater creative joy than working at the intersection of business/product and art.

After college, I brought my bold and playful style into my business works as well. My practice deals with identities, campaigns, posters, typography, and motion. I believe in providing solutions through thoughtfulness, along with delivering effective visual stories. Now, living in the US, my recent work ethic focuses on bringing an equal and diverse voice into contemporary design discourse for minorities and females, enriching the dialogical communication among designers and audiences of design, and provoking cross-cultural design conversation. 

I felt very blessed to have been able to achieve recognition in the field of design from many reputable art institutes and agencies including:

2020 – A’ Design Award, Bronze Award

2020 – Graphis Poster Annual, Gold Award

2020 – Indigo Design Award, Typography, Silver

2020 – Indigo Design Award, Integrated Design, Bronze

2020 – Communication Arts, Editorial, Shortlisted

2020 – Communication Arts, Editorial, Shortlisted

2019 – Pratt Circle Award

2016 – CUMULUS “Creative Dafen” Design Competition, VI Design, Good Design Award,

2016 – Shanghai City of Design for Public Service Advertising Competition, Outstanding Design Award

2015 -Shanghai College Student’s Public Service Advertising Competition, Third Prize Award

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There was a time when I felt insecure about introducing myself and my work as a designer to the public. I think many artists tend to be somewhat introverted and face this kind of struggle. I would ask myself questions like: Am I talented enough? Would anyone appreciate my work? How is sharing online going to help my career? Later in my life, I figured out that I should just stop making excuses, start moving forward, and be confident in my work. No one will become a great designer after one or two projects, it takes time, practice, and diligence. But as long as I put my efforts into every single work, I will undoubtedly become a better designer and the audience will also see my growth. This process of growth in itself is an amazing experience. 

Danyang Ma – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I work independently as a freelancer now after experience at two design studios– both great agencies located in downtown Manhattan. The designers there are not only talented professionals, but also friends. Most of the projects I have been a part of are brand-oriented identities, print, and digital campaigns, as well as small typography and poster projects. In general, I am a visual/strategy person, since branding is a combination of both of my main interests. In the future, I would love to explore designing for exhibitions. This is largely inspired by my love for the book “Designing Design” by Kenya Hara. It is exciting to work around, and collaborate with, brilliant artists and designers from multiple disciplines where different creatives can tackle and present their visions on the same topic through different mediums. 

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
In my personal opinion, good design affects each viewer in a personal way  and sparks joy even if the person cannot pinpoint exactly why. However, truly successful designs are those revolutionary works that can change human behavior in a subtle and versatile way, contributing to society and the environment. Ultimately, any design that can positively affect a certain group of people is a successful design to me. For example, I am currently using European art and design histories as key sources of inspiration in my work. The perspectives of minorities, the disabled, and females have not historically been allowed equal footing in contemporary design discourse. I also take great pride in encouraging designers to practice using the visual language that is unique to their specific cultural heritage.

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Danyang Ma

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