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Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you. (Aldous Huxley)

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By Cathy

Kanas Leung

On 02, Dec 2012 | No Comments | In | By Cathy

A colouring book was my first encounter with art and design, I can still remember trying to pick the right wooden colour pencil for Dear Daniel’s bowtie. Those were the days when everything I coloured was flat; the era when a mother would be angry if her son said he wanted to be a designer because it meant he will be poor for the rest of his life.

I was addicted to colouring books after someone taught me how to outline the cartoon and apply shades. That stereoscopic impact was huge to me, the stupid nerdy kid. So the little colouring book a mother bought for her son to help kill time became a trigger to his career path towards design. Since then, other children’s swimming class became my drawing class, their toys became my poster colours and their storybooks became my drawing books.

My skills and interests in the arts continued to expand and develop throughout my childhood. When I was in my teens, I used to go to art school at night right after my day school. I was the youngest in every night class I attended. That was the time when typography in a poster was produced all by hand, then photographed so to get it printed. That was the time when I graduated both art school and secondary school at the same time. That was also the time I first saw Hajime Sorayama and Salvador Dalí’s works.

Following my graduations, I was fortunate enough to head to the United States to explore and collect a whole new set of experiences. To give you some perspective on the timeline, the blinking green rectangle was still in most computer screens when I first arrived. Not long after, Internet was introduced in my college, then Hotmail, then Photoshop. It was so new to everyone. Those were the days when information became free for all, when typing a word, hitting ‘enter’ meant floods of results – relevant or irrelevant – became available at your disposal. It was the time when filtering information began to surpass possessing information. Having information is no longer king, learning how to collect and use the information that benefits your objective is. It was also a time where, if one wanted to upgrade what they know, they needed to find their own ways to do so because there weren’t classes to offer such knowledge. Hence, most of my computer design skills were self-taught with tool books – many, many tool books.

Quoting Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get,” is the best way to describe my experience when I left the design field. Little did I know, just when I thought I had closed one door and opened a new one, the new door inspired me much greater than before to become what I wanted to be in the first place. Experiences turned into a very important part of my life when I switched to work for the aviation industry. Every trip brought new insights that shaped me to become a better person and, later on, become a better designer. To me, passion makes everything possible and makes every design interesting. To be an experience designer allows me to explore all kinds of design possibilities. To me, an experience designer is an information architect, who recalls the memory of audiences and brings their memories to a newer level. And a good experience design requires two key characteristics: creativity and attention to details, the very fine details.

My passion has kept me in the design field. Although I was once disappointed and left due to external circumstances and personal struggles, design is still something I know I can do best.