Most of the time, it's not how good you are, but how good you want to be.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
My name is Jonathan Yuen, and I am multi-disciplinary graphic designer based in Singapore at the moment.
I have been working in the field for a little over five years now. Currently, I am a senior graphic designer in Kinetic Singapore.
What do you do for inspiration?
I try to learn to appreciate the finer things in everyday life that touch me, provoke me, make me think and make me laugh. These little things are generally what will end up being the sources of inspiration when I look for them.
I also try to read as much as possible on current design cultures and observation to stay relevant.
Being an eastern descendant and raised up in a family emphasize on traditions, I have great interest in eastern cultures. Hence, I often look into my cultural background for inspirations.
Fusing eastern and western visual cultures is an on-going study of mine. My latest self-promotion site is one of the results of such study.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I would say it's my BA thesis project, Memoirs from Hijiyama.
It has been 6 years now since the project completion, but once in a while I still receive responses from strangers around the world sharing how the project helped changed their view and perspective a little for the better.
I'm always humbled by the responses, and this is the very reason that convinced me that to touch someone's heart with design is a worthy cause to pursue as a designer.
What software couldn't you live without?
Photoshop, for being the fundamental tool for all my sketches, visualisation, and production.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Not confined to graphic/new media agencies, I rate below studio/team/agency as my personal choice for top three based on their contributions to push design as truly relevant cultural and daily-life influence
Apple industrial design team. The "white-earphone" culture is a testament of their achievement.
Kinetic Singapore. Not because I work here, but the value of truthfulness, honesty and fellowship I learned from them changed my life for the past few years.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
Since my new self-promotion site was introduced, the traffic was peaking for a time at 14,000 unique hits a day.
Who is your target audience?
Fellow design peers, and anyone who believes in design as a positive tool.
What area of web design lacks the most?
I seldom come across sites that invoke deep emotional resonance, personal and thinking forward in terms of design technology and trend.
I really love to see more design narrative works that broadcast powerful messages (beside the commercial driven works).
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
No longer in existence, but it definitely involves Kai Power Tools Spheroid Plug-in. :)
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did youspend on it? Is it still online?
Probably the animations in my current self-promo site. It took me on and off about a few months to experiment, and test out various ideas and techniques before I had them right and in a satisfactory way.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Definitely. It's especially a powerful tool for media-rich presentation online.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
There are good, and there are bad design schools. I encourage people to always research the school background properly before committing a significant wealth to it.
Still, I strongly believe a school environment is a good place to nurture creativity and learn the fundamental skills and disciplines before stepping into the real world.
There are definitely successful examples of individuals who don't have a relevant design education background. However, in a larger sense, I still believe education is important.
Not everyone is made equal, and we should always take the best opportunities we can find to educate ourselves rather than looking for shortcuts.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
O'Reily range of books on Flash are indispensable, for their high quality writing and contents.
I learned a great deal from these books. I also often visit Flash online resource sites for various tidbits of wisdom (kirupa.com is my favourite).
Experiment often, and get used to failing (gloriously) and then do it again.
For those who just started learning Flash, I strongly encourage them to spend time to learn the basics and fundamentals, and build up from there.
The seemingly complex techniques are often a string of simple fundamental blocks working together. There are really no shortcuts for a well-built knowledge.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
Not last week, but for a few weeks ago that would be Nintendo DS Lite.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
I'm not conscious about fashion on myself.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
To share a few things that I have learned since I started practicing design,
Most of the time, it's not how good you are, but how good you want to be. Set a good goal, and work towards it.
Being able to focus for prolonged periods is a valuable skill. Believe in what you are doing. But also be prepared to accept what you are doing is not the right way.
And, being down to earth.
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.
The privilege is mine! Thank you.