About Pan Yong

Pan Yong, Alex, is from Singapore and graduated from Lasalle College of the Arts with bachelor degree in interactive art in 2007. With his passion in art, After bought his first smart watch, Alex decided to make his own watch face to beautify smart watch even further. As more and more watch faces made, he enjoys seeing the moment when art (his design) and technology (smart watch) impact.

Interview with Pan Yong

Pan Yong ("PY") interviewed on Wednesday, 11 November.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

PY : I have been being a designer for about 6 years and have been being a programmer for 4 years. I have done quite a large number of websites, including some famous ones such as Sakae Sushi Singapore, Ang Mo Kio town council official site.

How did you become a designer?

PY : I like drawing since I was a very little boy. At my young age, I was very easily attracted by beautiful colors, especially those color pencils selling in the art store. Then I started the official study of art in the most famous art school in Shanghai, Hua Shan art school, for 4 years. After graduation, I entered Tong Ji University studying advertising for 3 years. And then, I got the scholarship from Lasalle Colledge of the Arts in Singapore. So I continue studying art for 4 years. With a passion for art, I became a designer.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

PY : I usually put user experience, the top function of the project, and the choice of technology (coding language) as top priorities.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

PY : Most of the time, I feel calm. Sometimes I feel energetic. When my design astonished people, I feel excited and full of fulfillment.

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

PY : My background is fine art. I'm also curious about how technology can create new things. I think the passion for art and my curiosity shaped me as a designer.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

PY : I grow from a little boy who loves colors, to an artist. After that, I learned how to code. As for the future plan, to live my life well. I wish my watch face designs could become stock watch faces on those big smartwatch brands.

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

PY : Spend more time to explore the world, feel the world, read the world. Use your eyes and heart more rather than hands. Live your life. You don’t need to learn to be a designer first and then to live your life. Learn to live your life first, and then you will know when to be a “designer”.

You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?

PY : Try not to explain art. Just feel it.

What is your day to day look like?

PY : I spent most of the day sitting behind the screen, working as UX designer and front end developer. When I feel tired, stand up and walk around. After work, usually, have a drink or listen to music at home.

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

PY : Read up some design or fashion magazines, even sci-fi ones. It will help grow your innovation power. I think the design trends matter when you want your designs to last for a long period of time (e.g 3- 5 years). Sometimes you even need to think beyond the design trends.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

PY : When the user gets astonished. When the user feels like to come back and expects more from the designer.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

PY : It's hard to say how to decide a design is ready. I think design cannot be completed even it's ready. A design might be ready in a certain period of time, might not be suitable for another period of time.

What is your biggest design work?

PY : There is a website done by me which made me proud of myself. It's the official website of NKF (The National Kidney Foundation Singapore). I learned a lot from it, not only design skill, but programming skill as well.

Who is your favourite designer?

PY : Jony Ive. His iPhone4. Yes, iPhone4. I’m not talking about the whole iPhone series. I’m not talking about the iPhone 2G (1st generation), although it re-defined the phone. The iPhone4 moved the antenna from inside to outside, which nobody dares to try. Apple made a breakthrough. Even iPhone4 did have the antenna problem in the end, but it paved the way for iPhone4s (and future models) to refine it. Eventually, the outside antenna becomes a success.

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

PY : I lived in Shanghai for 24 years. Now I live in Singapore. The living experience in both two countries actually helps me a lot in my design. Shanghai has its own particular culture called “海派文化(an exotic boutique and Shanghai-only type)”. Singapore is a multi-cultural country and has its unique culture called “Nonya”. When both two cultures combine, it gives me a wide range of inspirations. Sometimes it makes me feel that technology seems to be the limitation.

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

PY : I guess it should be “try to be patient”. An important skill for a designer is being able to convince your inner self. As a designer, you need to be patient to convince the client. You need to be patient to convince your manager. You need to be patient to convince your inner self.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

PY : I believe that a designer should be responsible for pushing society forward and for making a refined environment. Not only think about how to satisfy customers, but also should consider whether the design can take our society to the next level. We design for the future.

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

PY : I saw a lot of great designers from all over the world in different design areas. I have a very good opportunity to learn from them.

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