Today we’d like to introduce you to Mindy Wang.
Mindy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am currently a product design major student at ArtCenter College of Design and planning to graduate next year. I see myself as an explorer in the user experience and culture. I am also a creator who gets inspiration from daily lives and traditional craft techniques.
When I was a little girl, I watched my grandmother knit sweaters and sew pajamas for me. I love seeing yarns and fabrics being created into something useable. To this day, watching things gradually build up still gives me a sense of success and satisfaction. I wanted to follow in my grandmother’s creative footsteps, so I have been drawing and painting since I was five years old.
I started learning the formal way of sketching, watercolor painting, and Chinese brush painting in middle school and participate mostly in fine art in high school. I later found it was hard to communicate my ideas with art pieces. At the same time, I also helped with some event decorations at school. I wanted to make things that were both functional and also aesthetic to connect to the users more.
I am also interested in psychology and discovered that in product design, I could study from and build for human behaviors. I found my perfect match in this field and chose it as my future career.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I believe there will always be struggles in whichever path we choose, but they helped me to learn about myself and be a better person now and in the future.
I used to study in Taiwanese local schools from age 6 to 15. Most Taiwanese local schools practice traditional spoon-fed education. Studying and getting good grades on the quizzes were the most important tasks and they meant everything to us. While seeing most of my friends did pretty well, I faced many difficulties and depression during that time. No matter how much time I spent on studying, I still could not memorize the information from textbooks or get good grades. “I think I am an idiot,” that was what I told my mom.
Fortunately, my families, teachers, and friends gave me a lot of support and taught me a lot of things besides grades that keep me going on the right track. They taught me significant lessons on empathy, persistent in doing my best, and responsibility. The warm and supportive culture also shaped the way that I treat people around me nowadays.
Nonetheless, this early education still effects me recently. Since I used to study with a group of other students at schools, I feel less motivated when I am alone. I used only to absorb the knowledge that my teachers and the textbooks gave me, but did not have the habit of learning on my own. I understand that learning is a lifelong task and I realized that there is only a limited time for me to attend school.
Therefore, I started to read books that relate to my interests and own problems in life. It was the first time I like reading because books would only give me pressure and nonsense in the past. I actually feel calmer and motivated after I built the habit of reading. Another struggle hits me during the time when I am in ArtCenter.
I realized that most students in ArtCenter had clear goals and started to be trained as designers since they were in high school or even earlier. I was lost when I was not clear about my future direction. I questioned myself if being a designer is still the right choice for me. I keep myself in the persisting spirit that I learned before. There were many times that I was not sure what I was doing, but I believe that eventually, all the experiences will guide me on the right path. After participating in a variety of classes and meeting different people, I gradually found out the kind of work I like to do and which can lead me to my future goals.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I want to be a product/ user experience designer, researcher, and strategist. I believe that understanding the users’ real feelings and needs is the impactful way to create a better life.
I have a strong passion on environmentally friendly or traditional craft related topics. I hope my future projects would not only focus on profit but also provide a better future and meaning to the world.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success for me is to find a balance of happiness. It includes keeping ourselves and the nature in a balanced shape and creating a harmony among people, creatures, past, present, and future. That is my goal in life as a designer and as a part of society.
Loretta Christian, Angel Shih, Abraham Jaramillo, Zeva Tayler, Rebecca Vinagro, Uno Toma, Sana Kurotobi, Ben Ko, Landi Gonzalez, and Hantine Hsu