About Wan Fen Chen

Established in June 2019, maruko design studio insists on the idealogy of “solving problems with the best design” to create marvelous items in daily life. In addition to providing design services, we add unique Taiwanese graphic elements, such as tiles with floral patterns, iron windows design, etc., into the design carrying our own brand to develop a series of products.

Interview with Wan Fen Chen

Wan Fen Chen ("WFC") interviewed on Wednesday, 25 May.

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

WFC : I have been engaged in visual design for 18 years, corporate identity and brand planning and design for 6 years, multimedia animator for 4 years, and multimedia design and production for 4 years. Clients served include Orange Fab Asia, HSBC (Taiwan), IBM (Taiwan), Prudential Life Insurance (Taiwan), AstraZeneca (Taiwan), Novartis (Taiwan), etc.

How did you become a designer?

WFC : I have had a high interest in painting since I was a child, so I chose to study in the advertising design department of a vocational high school. After working for two years, I decided to go back to school to study design, so I was admitted to the applied art department of the university. Being a designer should be my career in life.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

WFC : When designing a new project, I will first understand the needs or problems encountered by customers or users, and then starting point of the idea how to solve these problems, and then start planning a design that can communicate the information clearly. After deciding which elements to put in the design, draw each possibilities on paper. Then select several designs that can be continued and enter the computer to complete the prototype design.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

WFC : Starting a new design must be confusing, what elements to place? What style do you want to present? How to attract people's attention and so on, Many items need to be determined. During the design process I would imagine the client's mood when they see the finished product and hope they are happy. When the finished product is the most exciting, it means that all the solutions have been implemented and can be used in real.

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

WFC : Observation and communication skills. As a designer, I think the power of observation is very important. Observe people's behavior, the surrounding environment and the changes of nature. Put the observed findings and ideas into the design, and can often make designs that resonate. Communication skills, customers and their own ideas can understand each other smoothly, so as to design works that both parties are satisfied with.

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

WFC : I was employed by some design companies before, and the designs I made were all requested by clients. Sometimes the designs were not the works I was most satisfied with. However, I had also come into contact with many industries, and had learned a lot of relevant knowledge and experience of various industries, which would be helpful for design. Now I have created my own brand and can design according to my own ideas.

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

WFC : See more, learn more, think more.

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

WFC : Now the boundaries of the design field are becoming more and more blurred. The designers in various fields can communicate more actively, providing and learning from each other's experience and design know-how.

What is your day to day look like?

WFC : I arrive at the studio at about 7:30 every day. On the commute to the studio, I will browse some SNS, look at the current fashion trends and design information, and learn how everyone manages their own SNS. After a hearty breakfast, I make a cup of coffee, and then star to work. The first thing to do is to send and receive emails and some trivial matters, such as: accounting, and then enter the long-term design work. Every 2 or 3 hours of work, I will take a small break and watch a 15-minute video on OTT to change my mood. In the evening, I sometimes continue to design work, and sometimes I browse Pinterest to see design works from all over the world.

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

WFC : I regularly browse several design magazine websites every day, and I also follow the SNS of some design companies. The design style will be based on my own style, but will refer to the current fashion trends to see if it is suitable for my works.

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

WFC : Does this design solve the client's or user's troubles or problems? Aesthetics are very important, but it can't sacrifice the function and comfort of the product for the beautiful appearance.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

WFC : When I can't find anything that needs to be corrected after repeated corrections, I decide that the design is complete. Of course, there must be some things that I haven't found that need to be corrected, so as long as most users feel that the user experience is good, the project will finish.

What is your biggest design work?

WFC : Day Code - Chinese Almanac. It’s the first work under its own brand after the establishment of the studio. The idea of designing this calendar has been around for many years, so the studio's first product was decided to be it. On the calendar in Taiwan, in addition to providing information regarding the records of ancestors’ wisdom – lunar calendar. It also tells people to welcome good fortune and avoid bad omens every day. Nevertheless, the information is provided in verbal form. “Day Code - Chinese Almanac” presents signs transposed from words. It also filtered and deleted some suggestions for incompatibility in the regular lunar calendar and selected reminders suitable for modern people: marriage, business contract, opening a business, moving, etc. to remind them which items are suitable or unsuitable to be done today. From the product planning and layout design of the project to the launch of the fundraising platform and marketing, I did the entire project process myself. When I saw the finished product, I felt very moved, proving that my idea is not unrealistic and can be realized.

Who is your favourite designer?

WFC : There are many designers I like and respect, one of them is Japanese product designer Fukasawa Naoto. The household items and furniture designed by Mr. Fukasawa can be naturally integrated into daily life because he observes the user's usage behavior and incorporates these observations into his design ideas.

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

WFC : I live in Taiwan. There are many beautiful traditional patterns in Taiwan, and I am also committed to applying these beautiful patterns to works of my brand.

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

WFC : Currently the studio is a one-person studio, so work alone. I've always been working towards designing something that brings people a good mood.

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

WFC : I continued to provide free visual designs to some NPOs. NPOs with visual design needs are also welcome to contact me.

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

WFC : I started paying attention to the A' Design Award three years ago, so when the studio made its first product, I immediately signed up for the A' Design Award. Participating in design competitions can increase global exposure, convey your design ideas to more people, and increase clients' trust in you.

Wan Fen Chen Profile

Day Code Chinese Almanac

Day Code Chinese Almanac design by Wan Fen Chen


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