Interview with Xue Sun: How Cross-Disciplinary Design Power and Creativity Shape the Future

Interview with Xue Sun: How Cross-Disciplinary Design Power and Creativity Shape the Future
Photo Courtesy: Xue Sun

By: Max Blue

In today’s digital era, design is not just a display of visual arts; it has become a powerful tool for conveying information, inspiring emotions, and fostering change. In this creative domain, some designers touch hearts and provoke deep social reflection through their work. Xue Sun(shelly), a designer from China, has shown how design can transcend visual boundaries to become a force for changing the world.

During an interview with New York Weekly staff, Shelly shared her journey of breaking traditional boundaries in the design field, her design philosophy, and her expectations for the future of design.

Hello, Shelly, it’s a pleasure to speak with you today. What does your cross-cultural journey from China to the United States mean to you?

For me, moving from China to the United States was a significant challenge and a wonderful life experience. I came over alone at 15, without the company of parents or friends. Despite the worries and anxieties, I was curious and eager about the future and embarked on my educational journey. This experience taught me a lot, allowing me to experience a different teaching style than in China. I became more mature, brave, and confident, which I consider a valuable experience. This cross-national experience helped me appreciate different cultural differences, habits, and the value of interacting and learning from friends, teachers, and classmates from different countries, respecting different customs and cultures, broadening my horizons, and making myself a better person. Now, having gradually integrated into the United States, I enjoy and am accustomed to the lifestyle here and hope to become a useful member of society.

How have your studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) influenced your design philosophy?

At MICA, where I completed my undergraduate degree in Graphic Design, I learned about various design fields, mastering typography and font design, as well as practical aspects like packaging and advertising design. I also became proficient in using different design software. After mastering graphic design skills, I thought it would be beneficial to add illustration skills to my repertoire, combining graphic design and illustration to make my work more commercial and practical. At SCAD, I chose to specialize in illustration, allowing me to design anything I wanted, from packaging to logos and advertisements. I frequently managed to produce designs that met client expectations. I even created my own studio’s logo, inspired by my cat, for different packaging designs, which is very meaningful to me.

Could you share the inspiration behind your work that won the 2023 NEW YORK TOP International Illustration Award?

The theme of my entry was parallel universes because I believe imagination is crucial for a designer. I wanted to challenge my imagination and creativity through this competition and depict the beautiful world I’ve always anticipated and admired. In my heart, there’s always been a world inhabited by angelic children with pure hearts and innocent smiles, fluttering their wings and living joyfully. This has always been my vision of a perfect world, free from troubles and filled with harmony. My design inspiration came from this world I envisioned within my heart, featuring adorable angel children, flying dogs, giraffes parading through the clouds, and corals and seaweeds growing in the sky, all embodying joy and strength. This illustration, titled “Flying in a Wonderful World,” won the competition, and I hope more people will appreciate my design. I aim to work harder to create even better works.

Interview with Xue Sun: How Cross-Disciplinary Design Power and Creativity Shape the Future

Photo Courtesy: Xue Sun

What creative and technical challenges did you face while preparing for the MUSE Design Award-winning project, and how did you overcome them?

We won the MUSE Design Award for our TangiBand project. As part of the design team, I learned many professional skills and enhanced our teamwork. After relentless trials and planning, we successfully implemented our design. TangiBand is a gamified music education app aimed at providing meaningful assistance in daily life. Our target audience was children, as there are plenty of apps for adults who generally have good planning and life skills. Children, however, require more support to pursue their interests. Our design concept was to make music accessible to children of all conditions equally. Supported by augmented reality and AIoT technology, the product offers an intuitive, engaging, natural, and inspiring way for children to learn music. They can build different shapes with blocks, assign the best sound quality to these shapes, and then use these shapes as musical components to create a song. TangiBand allows users to learn music in a fun way, anytime, anywhere, without needing musical instruments. We hope to help children discover their musical talents.

Interview with Xue Sun: How Cross-Disciplinary Design Power and Creativity Shape the Future

Photo Courtesy: Xue Sun

Looking to the future, do you have any plans or aspirations?

In the future, I aspire to become an outstanding designer. I plan to create more packaging and advertising designs, my two favorite design fields. I hope my designs will never disappoint all the clients who trust and choose me. Additionally, I wish to attract more pet brands or philanthropic design projects. I’ve always loved cats and dogs since I was young. Growing up, I had a black puppy and now have two cats who are like family to me. My design website features many cat and dog-themed designs, one of my favorite subjects. I hope my designs will one day increase societal attention to cats and dogs, encouraging more people to care for them and not abandon them. I also hope to earn a lot of money one day, part of which I’ll donate to shelters and aid for cats and dogs, as well as other charitable causes. Although I’m already doing this, I know that becoming a better person will enable me to do even more.

Interview with Xue Sun: How Cross-Disciplinary Design Power and Creativity Shape the Future

Photo Courtesy: Xue Sun

 

Published By: Aize Perez

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