Interview with Sun Jian for EMERALD BAY Sign Design

Zichun Wang | NYX Awards
Interview with Zichun Wang from United States
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Vinnie Urdea | MUSE Creative Awards
Interview with Vinnie Urdea from United States
November 30, 2023

Sun Jian

Sun Jian, the founder of Sun Design, is a brand strategy expert with 20 years of experience in consulting, design, and advertising. Having worked in renowned international institutions, he is passionate about providing innovative brand strategy solutions, emphasizing the integration of design and strategy for enduring brand value.

Interview with the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards Winner -
Sun Jian

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your creative background.

I am Sun Jian, Sun Design's founder and a brand strategy expert and I have 20 years of experience in brand strategy consulting, design and advertising. I have previously worked in renowned international institutions.

I am passionate about providing innovative brand strategy solutions for clients and deeply committed to integrating design with strategy to create enduring value for brands. Throughout my career, my work has won numerous design awards globally, spanning across Europe, Oceania, Asia, and the United States. These awards serve as recognition for my relentless dedication to the field of design and creativity, motivating me to continuously pursue excellence and innovation.

I embrace challenges and enjoy delving into different domains, incorporating a unique perspective into my work to bring distinctive value and impact to each project. I look forward to continued collaboration across various industries, working together to create more remarkable brands and design accomplishments.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a creative?

Becoming a creative designer and brand strategist requires a profound understanding of design and market trends, coupled with innovative thinking and artistic sensibility. I believe that for many, one of the driving forces behind choosing to become a creative designer is the ability to integrate one's ideas and passion into their work, creating unique and impactful works.

Additionally, the opportunity to constantly challenge oneself and explore different fields is also appealing. Creative designers have the opportunity to influence society through their work, creating value for brands and enhancing user experiences. The combination of this influence and creativity is likely one of the primary motivating factors for individuals to choose to become creative designers.

3What does “creativity” mean to you?

For me, "creativity" means being able to think and express oneself uniquely, unbound by conventional thought patterns and traditional solutions. It involves the discovery and exploration of novel solutions to problems, demonstrating innovative thinking in the realms of design, art, science, and other fields.

Creativity is not just the ability to generate novel ideas but also the ability to translate these ideas into tangible and valuable outcomes. It requires inspiration, imagination, and courage, as well as constant practice and exploration, to continually challenge oneself and make progress. At the core of creativity is the ability to offer unique insights into problems and to transform these insights into innovative solutions that can influence and inspire others.

4To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?

For me, creative ideas and designs are shaped by a combination of various factors. Firstly, observation and experiences of the surrounding world are key to sparking creativity. Drawing inspiration from everyday life and observing the beauty and wonders of different cultures, art forms, and nature can serve as a wellspring for creativity. Continuous learning and exploration are also crucial in fostering creativity. By constantly acquiring new knowledge, encountering new technologies, and trying out new methods, one can expand the boundaries of thinking and stimulate innovative thought.

Communication and collaboration with others also play a significant role in shaping creativity. Collaborating with people from different backgrounds and professional fields can bring different perspectives and ideas, fostering the exchange and collision of creativity, thereby nurturing more diverse and comprehensive ideas and designs.

5Tell us about your creative and/or design process.

In my creative and design process, I typically start by gaining a deep understanding of the client's needs and objectives. This involves close collaboration with the client to understand their brand positioning, target audience, and the competitive market environment. Subsequently, I conduct extensive research, including market trends, industry insights, as well as relevant cultural and artistic elements to provide ample background support for the design process.

During the conceptualization phase, brainstorming and sketching are the primary means through which I attempt to capture and develop various potential creative directions. Upon selecting the most promising direction, I embark on more detailed and in-depth design work. This may involve creating prototypes, implementing tests, and gathering feedback to ensure that the design solution effectively meets the expected requirements and expectations.

Throughout the design process, I emphasize continuous communication and feedback with team members and clients. I believe that good communication and collaboration are key factors in ensuring the success of a design project. Additionally, I focus on constant self-assessment and reflection to continuously improve and refine my design process and methods.

6What's your favorite part of the creative process and why?

My favorite part of the creative process is the exploration and discovery of entirely new creative ideas. This phase is typically filled with endless possibilities and bursts of creativity, allowing me to feel the surge of inspiration and the liberation of imagination. I enjoy being able to freely explore various design concepts, experiment with different ideas and styles, and challenge myself to break free from conventional thinking patterns.

Furthermore, I also greatly enjoy the close collaboration and interaction with team members and clients. This collaboration not only helps me better understand the client's needs and expectations but also provides me with inspiration from different perspectives and viewpoints, making my creations more comprehensive and diverse. Through communication and discussion with others, I can better clarify my own ideas and continuously improve the quality and value of my work with the inspiration from collective wisdom.

7Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.

My creative style can be described as a blend of simplicity and sophistication. I emphasize clean and clear design, as well as meticulous attention to detail. In my work, I strive to create a balanced and harmonious visual effect while emphasizing the combination of functionality and aesthetics. My design style tends to highlight the core features of a product or brand through carefully selected elements and color palettes, showcasing unique personality and brand charm.

Furthermore, my creative style also emphasizes emotional and narrative expression. I enjoy telling stories through design, aiming to evoke resonance and emotional connection with the audience. I am committed to integrating humanized elements and emotional trigger points in my work to evoke emotional resonance and engagement from viewers. Through creating design pieces with emotional resonance, my goal is to touch the hearts of the audience, leaving a profound impression and sense of identification with the product or brand.

Overall, my creative style emphasizes simplicity, sophistication, and emotional engagement. It aims to achieve an organic fusion of functionality and aesthetics, as well as products and brands, delivering a delightful visual and emotional experience for the audience.

8Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your creativity process?

I believe that my country and its cultural heritage have had a significant impact on my creative process. My national and cultural background provides me with rich artistic resources and sources of inspiration. Through a deep understanding of traditional culture, historical narratives, art forms, and contemporary culture, I am able to draw continuous creative inspiration and integrate these elements into my designs. My appreciation for traditional arts and crafts, along with a keen observation of contemporary societal culture, has led me to infuse unique cultural elements and local aesthetic features into my designs.

Furthermore, my country and cultural heritage have shaped my values and aesthetic orientation, which are reflected in my design concepts and style. My emphasis on harmony, balance, and traditional aesthetic principles reflects my respect for and inheritance of cultural traditions. This design philosophy deeply rooted in cultural traditions compels me to focus more on cultural continuity and inheritance in my creative process, striving to blend the traditional with the modern to provide audiences with a unique and meaningful experience. My country and cultural heritage not only provide me with abundant sources of creative inspiration and design materials, but also profoundly influence my design concepts and aesthetic perspectives.

This understanding and respect for cultural traditions serve as a crucial driving force for me to explore and innovate in my designs, imparting my works with unique cultural connotations and artistic charm.

9Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Winning the 2023 MUSE Creative Award holds significant meaning for me, my company, and our team. This honor not only acknowledges our past hard work and relentless efforts but also validates our creative capabilities and professional standards. This award represents a significant achievement for us in the field of creative design and establishes a strong reputation and influence within the industry. It will further elevate our company's competitiveness within the industry, bringing us more business opportunities and partnerships.

In addition to that, this achievement will inspire us to strive for excellence, continuously innovate, and progress, providing clients with even higher-quality and distinctive design works and solutions. We will continue to uphold our innovative spirit, creating lasting brand value for our clients, and making even greater contributions to the industry's development.

10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

Thank you for sharing the design concept of the Emerald Bay Resort. According to the information provided, the design inspiration for the resort stems from The Beatles' iconic 1960s song "Yellow Submarine," infusing its popular psychedelic and whimsical elements into the resort's design, giving it a unique and artistic atmosphere.

The resort's emblem prominently features a yellow submarine, echoing the story in the song about a man from a small town embarking on a life-changing submarine journey. This adventure is not only central to his life but also the essence of the submarine's existence, symbolizing the spirit of exploration and adventure, seamlessly integrated with the new wayfinding design concept. This design concept aligns with Emerald Bay's mission to become a family-friendly resort where guests can embark on scientific explorations of the underwater world.

The design of the wayfinding system draws inspiration from the standard logo font, using the initial letter of each wayfinding sign as a design element for the "guide" sign. The overlapping letters create a unique visual effect, emphasizing that Emerald Bay is a place for guiding exploration and discovery. This design will enhance Emerald Bay's appeal as a unique vacation destination, attracting visitors to uncover the wonders beneath the waves.

Participating in the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards with the award-winning project was to showcase the design team's outstanding achievements in creating a unique and creative resort experience at the Emerald Bay Resort. The design concept for this project clearly reflects the resort's core values and vision, aiming to attract more visitors to experience the resort's unique artistic atmosphere and exploratory nature. Such participation can further demonstrate the design team's professional capabilities and innovative spirit, establishing a broader industry recognition and reputation for the Emerald Bay Resort.

11What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The biggest challenge of this project was likely how to ingeniously incorporate the psychedelic and whimsical elements of The Beatles' song "Yellow Submarine" into the overall design of the resort. Transforming these musical elements required careful planning and execution to ensure that the design not only expressed the essence of the music but also harmonized with the overall theme and positioning of the resort.

Additionally, translating the emotions and adventurous spirit of the music into visual elements was also a challenge, necessitating the discovery of a design language and symbols capable of evoking emotional resonance in the audience. The project team likely needed to engage in in-depth research and testing, as well as close collaboration with the client, to ensure that they could accurately capture and convey the emotions and meaning conveyed by The Beatles' song.

12How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Winning such an award will contribute to furthering my practice and career. Firstly, this honor will elevate my professional reputation and expand my visibility, leading to more business opportunities and partnerships.

Secondly, the award will reinforce my confidence, inspiring me to continue pursuing excellence and innovation in the field of design. This will encourage me to boldly experiment with new design concepts and styles in future projects, delivering even more awe-inspiring work for clients.

Moreover, such an achievement will motivate me to continually expand my skills and knowledge, constantly exploring new trends and directions in the industry. Most importantly, I hope that through my practice and achievements, I can serve as a role model for the younger generation of designers, encouraging them to pursue their dreams and continuously elevate their professional standards.

13What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

As a designer, one of my favorite things is the ability to influence and shape people's lives through creativity and design. Creative design can improve people's quality of life, enhance user experience, and create value and competitive advantage for clients' brands.

Secondly, I am passionate about constantly pursuing innovation and breakthroughs, exploring new design concepts and technological applications. This ongoing exploration process sparks my curiosity and passion, enabling me to continuously improve my professional skills.

Thirdly, I enjoy collaborating with people from different backgrounds and professional fields to explore and solve challenges in design projects. This interdisciplinary collaboration brings different perspectives and creativity, enriches my work experience, and expands my thinking boundaries.

These are some of the aspects I appreciate most in the design industry and serve as the driving force behind my continuous growth and development.

14What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?

China is occupying an increasingly important position in the global creative industry and has achieved significant accomplishments in various fields. The country's unique cultural heritage, long history, and rapidly developing economic system provide abundant resources and a broad market for its creative industry. China boasts a deep foundation in traditional arts and crafts, which continuously provides contemporary designers with a steady stream of creative inspiration and materials. Many Chinese designers have garnered international attention by integrating traditional cultural elements into modern designs, creating works with rich Chinese styles and characteristics.

China has made remarkable progress in technology and innovation, providing tremendous impetus for the development of the creative industry. Particularly in the fields of digital technology and the internet, China's innovative spirit and creativity have injected new vitality into the creative industry, driving the development of emerging fields such as digital art, virtual reality, and augmented reality. China's support and investment in the creative industry have played a crucial role as well. The government has implemented a series of policy measures to encourage the development of the creative industry, promoting the rise and growth of creative enterprises. Government support has provided more development opportunities and market space for the creative industry, attracting more creative talents and investors to participate.

The uniqueness of China in the creative industry is attributed to the comprehensive combination of its rich cultural heritage, technological innovation, and government support. These factors have collectively propelled the vigorous development of China's creative industry, laying a solid foundation for showcasing its unique charm and influence on the international stage.

15Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?
Technologically driven innovation: With the continuous advancement of technology, including the proliferation and application of new technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), the creative industry will encounter new opportunities for innovation and development. Digital technology will profoundly change the production methods and forms of expression in fields such as art, design, and media, bringing more possibilities to the creative industry.
16If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Cross-sector collaboration and integration: The creative industry will place more emphasis on cross-sector collaboration, achieving resource sharing and complementary advantages with other industries. The deep integration of cultural creativity with technology, finance, manufacturing, and other industries will bring about more innovative products and services. At the same time, cross-sector integration will also drive the globalization of the creative industry.
17What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?

Online courses and training platforms such as Coursera, edX, Udemy, Skillshare, and LinkedIn Learning offer a variety of courses related to the creative industry, covering multiple fields from design principles to digital media production.

Books and journals! There are many classic books and journals that focus specifically on skills and trends in the creative industry. For example, "The Fundamentals of Art and Design," "Creative Thinking: New Ways to Solve Problems," "Adobe Creative Cloud Training Guide," and more.

18Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
I enjoy practicing yoga!
19Who has inspired you in your life and why?

In my life, my grandmother and parents have had the most profound impact on me. They have always been the pillars and role models in my life. My parents taught me the importance of honesty, hard work, and perseverance. They always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and provided me with support and encouragement when I faced challenges.

Their resilience and selfless dedication inspire me to be a better person and always guide me in the right direction. Their love and support have helped me understand the importance of family and have taught me how to be a caring and responsible individual. Their inspiration motivates me to strive for excellence and integrate their values into my work and life. I am forever grateful for their influence and teachings.

20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

My key to success has been a combination of perseverance, dedication, continuous learning, and the willingness to adapt to new challenges. By staying focused on my goals, remaining open to new ideas, and being resilient in the face of adversity, I have been able to achieve my objectives and overcome obstacles along the way. Additionally, maintaining a positive attitude, fostering meaningful relationships, and being passionate about my work have been instrumental in my success.

As a parting piece of wisdom, I would encourage you to embrace every opportunity that comes your way, even if it seems daunting at first. Trust in your abilities, stay committed to your goals, and never stop learning. Remember that setbacks are a part of every journey, but they can serve as stepping stones to greater achievements. Stay true to your values and be kind to others along your path to success.

Winning Entry

EMERALD BAY Sign Design | 2023

Emerald Bay Resort, located in Zhangpu County, Fujian Province, is nestled on a peninsula surrounded by the sea on three sides. The ...
(Read more at MUSE Creative Awards)

Sun Jian

Sun Jian, the founder of Sun Design, is a brand strategy expert with 20 years of experience in consulting, design, and advertising. Having worked in renowned international institutions, he is passionate about providing innovative brand strategy solutions, emphasizing the integration of design and strategy for enduring brand value.

Read more about Sun Jian’s interview for the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards!