Statement of Research

In the field of art and design, I believe that creativity can be achieved by discovering new possibilities and experimenting with various approaches and methodologies. For the past 20 years coinciding with my diverse creative experiences across a wide spectrum of print design, book design, environmental design, web design, motion graphics, interior design and drawing, I have continued to explore new ideas and developed a great interest in interdisciplinary approaches in my work. Major interests in my creative research are the use of visual communication to facilitate cultural awareness, the exploration of digital technology, and the hands-on experimentation in design methodologies.

In the new global age, people with different values, beliefs, and ideologies are connected like never before and the design profession has become cross-culturally sensitive and socially conscious. Therefore, I believe that a graphic designer has a great responsibility in determining how messages are delivered, and how cultures are depicted. As a Chinese designer who has lived in the U.S. for many years, my creative experience has been an investigation of our quickly emerging global culture through personal observations and experiences—in both Western and Eastern cultures. My recent project Wind and Moon transforms the metaphorical nature of classical Chinese poetry and Eastern philosophy into an interactive visual experience for the viewers. By embracing a variety of creative disciplines and technology, the project engages the audience to appreciate the beauty of Eastern culture and values. In addition, my project The Bridge (http://www.designthebridge.com/) is an Internet-based exhibition and competition that allows graphic designers around the globe to exhibit their work, share design observations, and gain inspiration from cross-cultural dialogues. It also promotes exchanges of ideas, dissemination of thoughts, and an understanding and appreciation of our quickly emerging global culture. The bridge project is not only a creative web design piece, but also a social network center for promoting a designer-centered community across countries.

As a design educator and practitioner, I believe that graphic designers who understand the opportunities of contemporary technologies will be better able to fully express their ideas. I also believe that engaging in the invention of new technological approach is an advantage for furthering communication goals. My project Ink Typeface is an interactive design piece that was created by recording digital video of every alphabet letter and programmed to allow a user to write and record message. In addition, my project Wind and Moon explores an innovative way to express meaning by incorporating augmented reality technology, which is believed to be the most important form of communication in the near future. It involves the development of a mobile application and implementation of Xcode, as well as other creative approaches, such as digital animations and three-dimensional poster design. My interest and passion in digital technology and screen-based design have greatly inspired my work that informs and excites the audience.

The use of digital technology as a creative tool and medium has always been major part of my creative experience, however, my design process has never been driven simply by technology. By working primarily through hands-on experimentation, I could achieve my design intention through ambiguity and abstraction. Deconstructing letterforms, experimenting with three-dimensional forms, and taking photographs are essential steps in my design process. I believe the use of traditional creative tools and media in the design process often leads to new discoveries and produces unexpected results. It allows me to experience a continuous interaction and conversation between the actual and the possible design solutions. This cognitive experience has been essential to mentally visualize my design intentions and resolve design problems. In my design process, the meaning of material, visual experimentation and the development of personal methodology are my main considerations. In addition, I have found that documentation of my design process is a very valuable aspect of my work. It captures spontaneous, intuitive thoughts, and ultimately leads to a final design solution.

My work is often rooted in both personal expression and didactic representation as a way to contribute toward the expanding language of graphic design, while at the same time making a positive impact on our society. As a design educator, I am aware of being in a unique position to spark dialogue and make statements about the world we live in. For me, being a responsible human being is important, as the creating of art and design should always be inspired by our life and culture. I believe that what makes a true designer is his/her unique angle, inspiring methodology, and meaningful connections with a community.

copyright © 2016 Yuanliang Sun