We are thrilled to introduce an artist that has been making a difference in the world of design and advertisement. It’s always exciting to speak to individuals who have great passion for their career, and it shows because of their successes. Today, we are speaking to Yiran Li, who works across UX design, graphic design, and advertisement. However, we believe that artists do not need to limit themselves to the labels of their work. That is why we primarily speak to them, so that they can define themselves with a history on who they are and what they do.
NY Art Life: It’s a privilege to speak with you. Thank you for talking to us today. Could you start by telling us what you do and how you define yourself as an artist?
Yiran Li: Thank you for having me! I define myself with the things that I have passion for; I’m a multi-disciplinary designer. With that being said, I have done UI/UX Design work, advertising, and graphic design for many projects. But all of that falls under the multi-disciplinary that I put before the word “designer.” I’ve worked as a freelance UI/UX visual designer at Topsun Advertising, one of the largest advertising companies in China before relocating to New York. I designed deliverables such as wireframes and mocks to optimize devices and platforms. I also design Intellectual Property and branding strategy for clients, which was the greater part of my work while I was in China. But then, I also did design in advertising and multiple projects that I continue to this day.
I still work as a UI/UX designer at DeFiner here in New York. My responsibilities are quite similar, except that I have independently completed the promotional video of the new web page. There was a high volume of positive responses on social media platforms. There were even thousands of retweets on Twitter!
NY Art Life: That is very impressive, bravo. Tell us more about your advertisement and design work in China. How did that lead you here?
Yiran Li: I had a great experience working with design and advertisement. My work began growing in newspapers and magazines, and eventually on billboards in Beijing. There was a time when I would recognize my own designs on the streets of Beijing. That was truly an exquisite memory for a designer. My work appealed to many advertising agencies in China, and that is how I got connected to the largest projects I worked on.
I was able to serve many big brands such as HTC, Motorola, and other tech companies that appreciated my designs. My work was featured in both HTC and Motorola’s flagship stores. These positive outcomes then promoted me to collaborate with a German design company, for the Chinese version of a packaging product of Dettol. I was very proud to see that my work was beginning to gain practicality and a third dimension. I think for every designer, it is exciting to have that tangible feeling toward your own work. The products’ packaging design was so successful that they can still be found in supermarkets today, even in Asian supermarkets across the United States.
NY Art Life: That is amazing, congratulations. How did your work in design make you feel?
Yiran Li: It was always a positive feeling with my work because it was recognized and received by supportive audiences. I was happy to be able to convey my rhetoric through my designs. That is the ultimate goal for every designer, but it is always great to have a group of people who cheer you on. My work was selected for the IAI Advertising Works and Digital Marketing Yearbook several times. At one point, I won the bronze award. I consider that to be my personal highest achievement in my career. It is very important to me as the book represents the award-winning works of the highest level of advertisement in China. It’s a tough competition, and to be named in that book means you have been honored along with many designers who inspire you and push you to be better and greater at what you do. The book is part of the history of advertising in China, and the annual yearbook is collected and kept at a large library. It was truly an honor for me to be part of it.
NY Art Life: That is a beautiful thing to have, thank you for sharing it with us. What do you think enriches your vision as a designer?
Yiran Li: That is a great question. Every artist must have a powerful vision in order to bring images to life which carry messages. Whether it is advertising, or sharing a sentence that requires rhetoric and persuasion, it all needs a good eye. I think that my work heavily relies on my own perspective and the lens I look though. I am also a photographer. I like to record life with my lens and to broaden the boundaries of my visual technology. I think that being a multi-disciplinary artist also means multi-disciplinary in the process of each discipline, the way I use my camera to draw inspiration for my designs. I see my lens as a tool that will help me see the environment in a fresher way, with a new story to tell. And in turn, I use a combination of handmade materials and digital technology. I also consider that to be my art style.
NY Art Life: That is quite well told. Do you have any advice for designers working in your field?
Yiran Li: Always be original and authentic. Your work must always come from you, and nothing else. In truth, there are elements in nature, in technology, and other spaces in between that will inform your work, but everything you can create comes from inside yourself. You can always find inspiration everywhere, but don’t rely on resources to create a design. And another important thing is to make great use of tools, mediums, and disciplines to turn in the best work you can offer.