About Xulei Li

Xulei Li is a magnificent designer working hard to make the World a better place with their original and innovative award-winning designs and creations.

Interview with Xulei Li

Xulei Li ("XL") interviewed on Thursday, 6 August.

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

XL : I have been working as a designer in a contemporary art museum for 6 years, and I am also the founder of a design studio. In the past 6 years, I have worked with well-known contemporary artists at home and abroad, including Chinese famous artists, Taiwanese writer, Japanese artist and French artist, etc. At the same time, my own studio also undertakes some design projects, such as E POI - a fashion brand visual system upgrade, NYUShanghai - One Day branding and VI system for a kindergarten, etc.

How did you become a designer?

XL : Since I was a kid, I love art, something like human's nature drives me to approach art and have the eagerness to learn more about it. Visual communication becomes the most interesting subject during my undergraduate and graduate school. I follow my instinct, choose to be a desginer, and never look back.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

XL : In the process of design, I pay attention to three aspects: the theme, materials and crafts, customer needs. If brought together into one point is that whether the design language expressed clearly. In my design, I will rely more on digital tools and the latest technology through computer aided design and renderings.When I receive a new project, I will do market research to understand the similar products in the market or the results of the project, and how How we design is unique. Then I will understand the project background, dig deep into the project positioning and propaganda direction, and then extract the elements and design them in a right direction.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

XL : In the design process, my mind is relatively peaceful. Of course, I will be very excited when I come up with good ideas. From the initial idea to the final result, the design will undergo many changes, perhaps the change of design direction or the feedback adjustment of customers. This ever-changing challenge makes me learn to adjust myself quickly, which provides reference for me to solve difficulties in my life.

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

XL : Executive power, insight. I think my observation and imagination help us to become a qualified designer, observe life, be good at discovering the beauty of the details of life, and record them in my heart. Then I combine them with my imaginations, they become my best design resources. In my design work, my graduate mentor had the greatest influence on me at first. She had a set of methodology which allows me to master my design works. The methodology is “Always make suitable adjustments for different projects.” Now I think it is handy to do design, but I need to master more new technology skills constantly.

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

XL : I have been working as a designer in the art industry for 6 years, and have been responsible for many design projects. In the future, I want to do more projects, which the project that combinations commercial, technology, and art. I hope to have more opportunities to cooperate with people who comes from different industries, and to design projects with more commercial value.

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

XL : Professional skills, such as software using and painting ability, is an essential fundamental thing for a great designer. Beyond this, I think the following three qualities are essential too. First, always remember to find beauty from ordinary life. Second, always be awarded what is happening in the industry, learn from others. Third, keep practicing.

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

XL : As mentioned in my previous questions, learning to observe life, mastering design methodology, and constantly practicing are more likely to be an excellent designer.

What is your day to day look like?

XL : I am currently working in an art museum. My work mainly focuses on exhibitions, visual system design, and activities design. At the beginning of every day, I will start by listing a to-do list, and then I will finish the most challenging design tasks after finishing work, browsing the design platform to know design trends.

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

XL : Designers are a profession that needs to pay attention to the trend all the time. Of course, I am not talking about following the trend here. In a sense, to do design works that meet the requirements of customers. We must innovate based on our ideas as much as possible based on learning and understanding.

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

XL : A good product should be both aesthetic and functional, thus to engage more consumers. Sometimes, we might make mistakes while doing our design in highlighting its visual effect, or enlarging the form of technique far outweighing its content. Consequently, there would be no effective message to convey through design in this way.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

XL : 12. How do you decide if your design is ready? For this question, try to tell us the moment in which you say, yes; this design is complete and done; there are no iterations needed or feasible; the design is ready. Can a design be complete? Or will there be always a way to improve them? When do you decide to stop doing it better and move on to other projects? Or do you always keep an open tab in your mind to make your earlier designs better? When you decide your design is ready? When or how do you know your product or project has become a success? 我一般会给自己制定比较严谨的时间周期,保证自己在某个时间点完成设计,客户是不允许设计师无止境的修改设计,这是一个客观因素; 个设计作品我觉得已经是完成状态它必须是满足了几个要素的,一个是有紧扣主题,二是有记忆点,三是从结构来说是完整的. 当然,很有可能当下做好的设计隔了一段时间,你的能力提升你会发现之前的设计作品还是有可以改进的地方,作为自己的作品你再精进也是很可行的。 In general, I will set a schedule to ensure that I accomplished the design on time. The client will not give much time to designers to modify the design endlessly; this is an objective factor; I think an accomplished design work has three principles: The first principle is to express the theme clearly, the second is to have a memory point, and the third one has a completed structure. Of course, there is likely a period after we finished design, our professional skills will improve. Going back to the old work will make you realize that there is still space for improvement in the previous design work.

What is your biggest design work?

XL : The most extended time-consuming project from last year was to design a VI system for a kindergarten. Because it is rare to do design projects related to parent-child or community, I am very interested in undertaking projects of different design types. After understanding the positioning, concept, and other relevant information of the kindergarten, the visual image of the kindergarten is established by extracting the name of the kindergarten and combining it with the nearby geographical environment. The organization I am working with is a relatively conservative institution. The most challenging part of the design process is how to convince the owner of the kindergarten to accept a relatively open or active design concept. Fortunately, the outcome of the project was able to be constructed according to the designer's ideas through communication and adjustment.

Who is your favourite designer?

XL : I think Vasjen Katro is a very cool designer. It is not only because of his excellent work, but also his spirit, which can encourage us. He launched Baogasm- a project that is to design a high-quality poster everyday. It has been going on for several years. Besides that, he shared free courses about design skills and design thinking, helping people who want to learn design. If I need to mention one more designer that I liked a lot, Milton Glaser is the name popped up into my mind. As one of the most influential graphic designers in the United States. He designed the logo "I Love NY" for the New York State Department of Commerce, which became the most famous logo in design history. New York has also transformed from a cluttered city that facing bankruptcy into a "big apple" that has attracted worldwide attention, and since that time, Milton Glaser has been called a hero who saved New York City.

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

XL : I am living in Shanghai (China) currently. I think that Chinese traditional culture and Shanghai culture greatly influence my design, so my design can be done in a contemporary Western and oriental style, and the design language is more diverse. In daily life, I like to listen to music and make friends in different careers to think about problems from different angles and have a broader perspective.

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

XL : I am currently doing design work alone. I think I am relatively easy to collaborate and communicate, but the premise is that the partner is relatively complementary to me, and each has its own strengths, so the partner I want to find is from business management background, because when I immerse myself in design expression, my partners can more consider the market and business value. The difficulty I faced in my career at the moment is that the projects I do are relatively limited. Most of them from art and cultural industry projects. I hope that more cross-border projects I can undertake. I think that to make design project excellent is not only to have strong professional skills, but also to have strong communication skills.

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

XL : Since 2019, I have continued to participate in the activities of a design sharing lecture. The most impressive thing is the youth salon initiated by graduate students from Harvard University. As a guest speaker working in a museum as a designer, I have shared interesting things and difficulties I have gone through. I have also participated in some social welfare organizations' activities to design public welfare posters about race and disease issues.

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

XL : I am very honored to grant the bronze in A’ Design Award . After that the attention from public has been significantly improved, and the influence is also constantly improving,there are more opportunities I have received.

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