By Nicole Arias
Emily Hu is a lover of art, a master of layout design, and an integral part of the Seaberry Design team.
Seaberry Design is all about colors, culture and creativity and they have a team that represents just that. I sat down with Emily to learn a bit more about her role as a senior designer for Seaberry, how she got her start in the industry, and what really motivates her as a creator. Here are 10 questions with designer Emily Hu.
What made you decide to be a designer?
Well, growing up in Taiwan my childhood dream was to be an artist or illustrator or a cartoonist. I love to draw and doodle. When I looked at books, it wasn’t about reading like it is for most people. For me it was about the pictures and how they designed it. When I came to the US for college and to start my career, I thought of what I could do to make my hobby a job and I came across graphic design. So I started studying graphic design and became a designer. I know it's not the same as my childhood dream, but it is close enough and I like it — A LOT.
In your opinion, what makes a good designer?
Hmm, a good designer designs for their clients and not just themselves.
You are known among the team as a master of layout design. Talk to me about some of the elements of layout design?
So the elements of layout design can be color, text, graphics, and consistency. Color is hard because you can draw black and white on paper really well, but when you include color, your work can become totally different. The lighting, the contrast and the shading can change how everything looks. It's one thing I'm still learning. But I think you just keep looking at other people’s work to train your eyes, so then you know what colors you’ve been using, and what colors you can use to make your work better.
What about text as an element?
Text can be typeface and typography. I do really like typography; all the different fonts have different feelings to them. Fonts can make people see the world and your work differently. Some fonts can be more serious and some can be more fun and modern. Each font is different and each can impact how your audience feels looking at your work.
How do you arrange all the various elements and make sure your work is balanced and not too busy?
When I design I usually focus on the audience. Layout design is meant to help the viewer read things more easily and smoothly. So, if a lot of information is given to us, then we need to determine what the most important things are and the focus of the project. Then maybe we can use a shape, or change the colors, or make things bold, so people will focus on the information that is most important — what we need them to focus on.
Walk me through your design process.
First, I learn about our client and what our client is looking for. The more we know about the project and the client, the more we can provide to them. Once I know the project and the client's vision, I then do research. I look at other designers' work and find inspiration. For example when I make a logo, I write out all the keywords that the client used for the company. I think about the feeling they are going for — it could be fun or serious. I look at who their audience is, and what they want the audience to feel when they see the work. I do the same with fonts — do they want serious, or happy? And colors, like fun can be yellow, or serious can be dark blue. Those keywords really help me to create a design.
What do you do to improve your design skills?
I look at other designers’ work and get inspired by them. I'm not saying I copy their work. But you find some cool stuff you like and then you make it your style. You add your own touch to it. Once you've been exploring different types of work for a long time then you figure out what's good and you’re able to create your own style.
What is a simple tip designers can use to better their work?
Focus on your audience. Make sure you know what the client wants and that the viewer can get to the important information when they read it. I have friends who aren't professional designers and they'll show me their work to get my advice. And for example, they may put text on top of a picture, but the picture is so busy you can't really read the text or focus on the words. It might look cool, but if the reader can't read it, then what's the purpose of the work?
What do you enjoy most about your job?
My hobby is my job and I don't get tired of it. Some people would think having your hobby as your job would make you grow tired or bored of it, but that's not the case for me. I still like it and I like it even more the more work I do.
What is your advice for junior designers?
You have to really like your job. Not just a little bit, a lot. I do think most designers who are starting out or are studying design like it. You know, you major in art or design or music because you like it! Before I started this job I wasn't sure if I really liked design. But after I started I knew I loved it and wanted to do more. So my advice is love your job, train your eyes, look at a lot of art, and keep learning. Don't stop learning!