"Text is always my personal challenge and inspiration"
A leading graphic designer based in Taiwan and a member of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale) since 2015. Born in 1975 in Taipei. Started his studio in 2000 and offering design solutions in fields of publication, art, architecture, film and music. Since 2008 he has been collaborating with trade publishers in launching his imprints, INSIGHT and SOURCE, featuring translated titles on art and design, such as the works by Nobuyoshi Araki, Tadanori Yokoo, Takuma Nakahira and COMME des GARÇONS. A six-time winner of Golden Butterfly Awards, Taiwan’s highest honor for excellence in book design, he has received numerous international recognitions, including Kasai Kaoru’s Choice Award from HKDA Asia Design Awards, Best Book Design from South Korea’s Paju Book Award, as well as Prize Nominee Works from Tokyo Type Directors Club Annual Awards. He is also the author of DESIGN BY WANGZHIHONG.COM.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your current situation.
I'm a graphic designer based in Taiwan. Currently, like most people, working on unfinished projects. And stay at home as much as possible.
What’s changed in art and design education since you graduated?
The internet accelerates the ways to study. However, the education system becomes harder to produce special personalities.
How important is a formal qualification in design today?
Nowadays personal design ability could easily be expressed. A qualification from specific organizations is not important.
How else can designers distinguish themselves, especially if it’s right out of school and they’re trying to find work?
When you start working, having design execution ability that surpasses your peers, is the key that makes a difference.
What are your personal challenges and inspirations? What inspires and motivates you today?
Text is always my personal challenge and inspiration. The idea that makes typography entering the view of the masses keeps inspiring and encouraging me.
Who or what has been your biggest design influence—and why?
I've always considered Josef Müller-Brockmann the most influential man at the beginning of my design career. From his works, form my strict attitudes to design.
How has the type of work you do changed from the early days?
Nothing changed much.
What do you enjoy the most about design?
Finding an interesting path you could walk out of the maze.
When you start a job, what do you analyze first? Where does inspiration come from?
Usually I would analyze the text at first. It's also where the inspiration comes from. Maybe the actual status of the text like the strokes (of Chinese characters) or typefaces. And to think about what relationship that the text and its contents could make.
How would you describe your work to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
My work needs to be printed to mass-produce at the end.
What work would you highlight and would you like to tell?
The selection of my design works published in 2016. It covered about one-third of my design career.
Where do the ideas come from?
From the contents of the text or product itself.
Living in the era of images, how can visual communication stand out from the crowd?
You must devote time and effort on one path, and become the best as you can. Although there would be some new attempts in the progress, but the core won't change. In this era that people uploading images to the net crazily, it's hard to gain recognition without the true direction or belief.
What part of the design process gives you the most satisfaction? Give us the top 3 tips for inspiring young designers.
Finding a unique viewpoint and executing it with solid ability, is the most satisfaction. There are no tips for designing, just think and work by hand constantly.
What are you excited to have coming up in the future?
I don't know what's coming up in the future.
Considering the importance of keeping current, how do you keep up?
Reduce all unnecessary actions. Do your works as purely as possible.
What are the current trends in packaging, color, design, architecture …
More colorful, lest details.
Do you think ego is an important aspect within a designer’s work?
Yes, it's important. It's the only major element that could distinguish yourself. If you could truly find your ego.