" I think any phrase ending with design must not be purely based on the designer himself. As a designer, you must consider the user's experience and start from the user's point of view."
Utopia Space, Exhibition Design
KE ZHANG: Hi Hurrot, The first question I have is how do you start with your project? For example, the Visual Identity design for Bjarke Ingels at Tate Museum, which is also the project that made me know about you.
HURROT HU: This is a particularly interesting question. This project is an individual project, without any commercial attributes, the content is to choose an artist you want to exhibit in the Tate Museum and design a complete set of visual designs for Tate. When I was studying in Copenhagen in 2019, I touched the building of BIG with my own hands. I think BIG is an architectural design direction that integrates business, art, and practicality. I don't think there are a lot of architectural studios that can achieve such a good balance as BIG. That's why I named this exhibition Utopia.
The distribution of their website is also very attractive to me. There are many types of buildings, such as cultural-related, accommodation types, and commercial types. So I expressed it in different colors in the main visual according to the proportion of building types. At the same time, I made the key visual dynamic, because I think the role of architectural space is not completely separated. Different functional spaces can have a certain degree of interaction. In many cases, the gap between business and culture is blurred. A space can be both commercial and artistic at the same time. That's why all the shapes are blurry and constantly changing, which is also my understanding of architectural space.
In the design of the tickets, the pattern on each ticket is different. Because in the context of contemporary social tours, tickets are actually very important souvenirs. When everyone gets a different ticket, they will be curious about the exhibition content on other tickets, which can make the ticket itself play a greater role.
Utopia Space, Exhibition Design
KE ZHANG: Because the last time Peter Eisenman was asked what would drive architecture after deconstructivism, he said that next time it would definitely be led by the economy. What I thought at the time was that BIG is a representative studio that combines business and art, because it has transformed a traditional building from a living machine into an Internet celebrity site that one can check in. Then I saw your work, and I feel...
HURROT HU: Coincidence hahahahahaha
KE ZHANG: Our next question is more a traditional one: how do you balance business and art as a graphic designer?
HURROT HU: In fact, all good artists can survive/make money, so there is actually an answer to this question. In fact, you can see that many of BIG's designs are actually unreasonable for users. For example, in the 8-character building, there is a row of users who can't get the sun at all and will be disturbed by tourists, so in fact, even BIG has made some trade-offs between self-expression and being successful in business. I think BIG's marketing is very good. I think it is a studio that explains its concept and exploration clearly and at the same time attracts popularity very well.
Utopia Space, Exhibition Design
KE ZHANG: Can you share your idea of the difference between visual communication artists and visual communication designers?
HURROT HU: I think any phrase ending with design must not be purely based on the designer himself. As a designer, you must consider the user's experience and start from the user's point of view. Whether it is visual, graphic, or UIUX. For example, in the design of a font, its purpose may be to be more readable and used by more people or to express the characteristics of a brand. Its essence is to serve and convey the spirit of the product to users. But it doesn't mean that users do what they say. Meeting the needs of users is definitely a basic requirement, but designers can go further and do better on this basis.
KE ZHANG: Can you share your experience of cooperating with other well-known firms including Netflix, Youtube, and WIX? For example, how do you get the chance to work there and how did you find these opportunities in the first place?
HURROT HU: How to find a job hahaha. I'm very honest. Before these clients, I had done a lot of work experience that was not famous and had no salary. A lot of Graphic designer students may not want to do work, but I spent three years doing this kind of work. I think that's why I got these jobs (Netflix, Youtube, Wix) in my last year.
If I am looking for a job, in fact, behind every offer, I may have submitted 200 applications. So you ask me how I can get such a job, which is "I worth it", I already have done so much, what else do you want from me (laughs).
In fact, my first intern was designing for Yahoo and an unknown internet celebrity brand, and then my second intern went to WIX, and then to Sid Lee (Netflix and Youtube). My work experience is from traditional graphic design to interactive development, to product development. So my work experience is also from expressing myself at the very beginning to thinking of others. So I would recommend everyone to try different jobs while interning and find a direction you like.
Spotify Redesign, Individual Project
KE ZHANG: We can see there are also a lot of individual/self-oriented projects you've worked on. How do you feel about the difference when working on your own projects and working with other clients?
HURROT HU: I think they are two kinds of mentality. There are no requirements or timelines when making my own works, and I will be more free. Working for customers will be more in accordance with the customer's requirements, I will do what you want. A good designer may be able to make something a client asks for better. The client's idea is 10 points, and I can make 20 points.
If you encounter customers who don't like your idea, this is actually a very common thing in the process of work. But that's also something I'm learning. In this group of Yahoo where I work now, there is a senior designer who really thinks every day, how to change to serve the current customers: should we change the font? Should the size be changed? I think this is something I admire a lot, because I think it's a manifestation of self-drive. I think it is a very important quality of a designer, because this quality will help us to move forward every time.
In fact, this is also related to Leadership. What many Asians, especially girls, lack in the workplace is leadership. In fact, we can't blame us for this, because as Asian girls, we have fewer opportunities, and at most we are the leaders of school assignment group work. But in fact, Leadership is a very important trait. Leadership here does not mean that you need to lead, but that you have the confidence to stick to the correct point of view you put forward. So I think how to cultivate leadership is very important, such as your platform is a very good thing (KE: thank you), or you go to share your views on job hunting with others. Because a leader is hard to find, leadership traits are important in the job search process and helpful for your career development. In the field of Visual Communication Design, the one who last till the end is always the director. A very important ability is communication organization and coordination, in addition to excellent design ability. I think this is a trait that is lacking in all internationals (students and designers), especially Asian women, because we don't have many occasions for us to cultivate this trait. So if you can, try to cultivate the trait of leadership in school.
KE ZHANG: Do you want to tell us more about the utilization of media and your comprehension of the difference between intuitive impulse and well-thoughtful actions? Also, maybe tell us a bit more about documenting your works.
HURROT HU: I use different methods when I do different works. I do all the graphic design in school with sketches (but I'm very bad at sketching). But I think the key point is to have an idea. Once you have an idea, you can even come back after finishing the project to make up the process. I have been doing this all the time (laughs).
The documentation is very important. The good and bad of the project may account for 80%, and the remaining 20% is actually how you document and display it on the website. You can also call this the importance of storytelling. The essence of a Designer is to sell an idea to another group of people, so how to tell the story vividly and interestingly is very important. This is why in the process of the interview, people will ask you what the exploration, inspiration, and process are like because this is a process that can see your thinking. That's why, even if it wasn't there at the time, the idea in the middle should be added later.
Copenhagen 2032, Individual Project
INTERVIEWER: KE ZHANG
CURATOR: KE ZHANG, WANTONG YAO
EDITOR: WANTONG YAO, KE ZHANG
GRAPHIC DESIGNER: YUXUAN WEI
Hi,I’am Hurrot. I created a name for me Hurrot, Hu+Carrot.
Currently working as a product designer on Yahoo Mail. I am exploring infinite possibilities of interaction between human and computer programming by collaborating with diverse professionals around the globe. My enthusiasm in UI/UX motivates me to break through constraints and unleash the willpower of societal advancement. Before being a product designer, I was a motion, visual, and graphic designer.