Interview with Te-Sian Shih, Designer of New York Natural Food Co. llc, United States

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Te-Sian Shih

As a designer in New York Natural Food, Te believes that a good design should not only look great, but also to convey a message or idea to the client or consumers.

Interview with the 2020 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Te-Sian Shih

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

I graduated from a Master’s Degree in Packaging Design at Pratt Institute and I am now a graphic, package, and UIUX designer in New York City.

I was a graphic designer at Florence Biennale 2019, and I won the IDA International Design Awards 2019' Silver and Bronze Award, MUSE Design Awards 2020's Silver Design Awards, GD USA Package Design Awards 2020's Winner, Graphis Poster Annual 2021's Silver Award and Graphis New Talented Annual 2020's Silver Award.

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

I studied marketing and logistic management in my undergraduate in Taiwan. After graduating, I found out I wanted to learn graphic design, so I spent my free time learning graphic design skills. One year later, I got an acceptance letter from the School of Visual arts at Pratt Institute.

Then I decided to go to Pratt Institute.

I was not suited for Taiwan's educational system, so I didn't have a chance to choose what I was really interested in.

I had a good sense of aesthetics and knew marketing need a physical project to communicate the whole picture.

That's the reason why I want to become a designer/artist.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do

I had two internships in my postgraduate life. I was in a fashion bag company and an online education school build up their web pages, web banners, catalogs, and Instagram designs, etc.

After I graduated, I was in a luxury bedding company and bottle company creating new branding designs, packaging designs, and visual designs.

I also assisted one of my bosses, Mr. Cho-Liang, Lin, who is one of the best in the world, to make key visual posters, t-shirt, bags, subway cards, and program book designs for the "Taipei Music Academy & Festival."

Some of my companies' projects have been shown on Package Of The World, one of the most professional packages designing online galleries globally.

Besides this, my key visual poster design for Taipei Music Academy & Festival won the Graphis Poster Annual 2021's Silver Awards.

Now I am a graphic, package, branding, and UIUX designer in a packaging design company.

4What does “design” mean to you?

Design is a logical system with aesthetics. I need to know what I design for first, and then define the branding concept and target marketing before I can start to do the whole design project.

Design is not just about art; we need to solve problems for bosses, consumers, and society. When we have good marketing strategies and branding ideas, we need to know how to communicate those concepts in a visual and easier way.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

Branding design.

Branding design is a whole system where each item relates to each other. After defining my branding concept and target consumers, I will research on consumers' lifestyles, ages, and new trending about the market.

I can then decide on a logo to represent the branding idea and other visual design projects that can keep the branding concept's feature.

It's not just a single poster design or structural design. Everything needs to keep the branding system, but those design projects need to look different.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

A good design needs to solve problems and keep everything clean. Designers need to know what bosses, consumers, and societies want, and then we can know what we should do to solve the problems.

Even though we have good marketing strategies, we need to know how to convey our ideas in visual and system ways. Don't put too many elements and stuff in a design project; it will disrupt people's attention.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

I was born in Taiwan and came to New York City 5 years ago, so I know both Western and Eastern cultures.

I combine Eastern elements and Western design concepts in my design style, and keep everything clear.

8Tell us about your design process.

Firstly, I need to know what and who I design for in order to define the targeted marketing. After that, I will see different art and design exhibitions to get inspired and think about the logo and other design projects.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?

Yes, definitely.

Taiwan has an aboriginal culture, Chinese culture, Japanese culture, and American culture. It's diversity. In my design process, I add different cultural elements in my design projects.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2020 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Yes, it's good for my job and career.

As a foreigner, I need to prove why they need me and my special skills. After I won the Silver Award of the 2020 MUSE Design Awards, I received many job opportunities. I appreciate it.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2020 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

My winning work, OJOY Taiwanese Cookies, and Teas is a product line of traditional famous Taiwanese specialty desserts and teas used on eastern Thanksgiving day. I choose this work because it's a big branding package and web design project that combines eastern and western culture. It combines branding, logo, mission, marketing strategy, package, web, poster, and banner design. The project can show I am a variety designer and eco-friendly.

I designed the character of OJOY; the inspiration of the role is the Chinese word, 月. 月 means moon in Chinese. OJOY's products are used in the Mid Autumn Festival, which is also called the Moon Festival. It has a similar meaning to the Thanksgiving holiday. The moon's shape inspires the round shape.

There are six product lines: bean paste cake(cookie), pineapple cake(cookie), mooncake(cookie), black tea, oolong tea, beauty tea. All graphics and the branding identity look rounded because circle means togetherness in Eastern culture.

Moon festival is an Eastern thanksgiving day. I hoped that everyone can celebrate this holiday with their family and friends. I made seven packages for branding. Each cake's height is 2cm. Each cake or tea bag includes four same tastes.

Individual cake or tea's package, including the cakes and drinks, are the same sizes. The diameter is 6cm. Cake's height is 2 cm. Putting everything together, there are 6 cakes and 24 tea bags for each taste. We used paper board or cardboard to segregate each taste of cake or tea at 12cm long, using coaster to separate each cake.)

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

It's hard to define the product line. I have to do a lot of research and ask for people's opinions. The mission part is also challenging for me. To write a good mission is a little bit hard for a foreigner. However, I have to do it.

The poster was also the biggest challenge for me; it's hard to convey my concept, so I spent a little bit of time to make this poster.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

I got an extraordinary improvement in the United States. Also, I received job opportunities, and many people asked me to give speeches in halls. I can also see other winners' design projects and think about what I should do to develop my design.

Winning this award helped me get more attention in Europe, Asian, and America's design marketing. Besides, it's good for my salary and job opportunity.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

1. I like your marketing. I saw Muse Design Awards followed my Facebook page and gave us chances to promote our career.

2. Trophy's design is awesome! I also love the logo of the Muse Design Awards.

3. Everything is speedy and easy to follow. Some websites are hard to use.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?

If it means the United States, I think diversity and an excellent educational system make the design industry-unique and successful. I also love Taiwan's diversity, which combines Chinese, Japanese, and America, but the United States respects our profession and encourages us to be stylish. The United States' designer can have different designs and personality styles, so the design industry is diversified.

Besides, there are so many design and art exhibitions in New York City, and it's good for us to get inspiration.

16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

I believe everything will be three dimensions and motion in the next 5-10 years. The poster will not just be a two-dimensional project; it can be a motion graphic or interactive poster.

That's the reason why I spent my free time to learn motion and interactive design. Maybe three dimensions, four dimensions of visual design in the next 5-10 years.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

Practicing as much as you can. I always practice design in my free time and go to museums or design meetups to get new design ideas.

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?

MOMA, Cooper Hewitt museum, and any design exhibition.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

I also joined the School of Visual Arts' continued education to learn different design styles when I studied at Pratt Institute. Both schools are professional schools.

20Who has inspired you in your life and why?

My professors at Pratt Institute. My professors are really professional and kind. They are very restricted in classes, but they always answer my question on the weekend or during free time.

Some of them had a hard time at their young ages, but they still encourage us. Some of my design teachers in Taiwan also inspired me. We are different from the usual Asian people, but we are so talented and unique.

21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Be hardworking.

After I graduated, my professors at Pratt Institute told new students that I was such a hard-working person to be a successful designer when I visited them. I didn't have much time to hang out with friends because I know that I need to have various real design skills. Even though no one believes you, you need to believe in yourself.

22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

Thank you very much for giving me a chance to be interviewed. I will keep working on my design and join the MUSE Design Awards again.

Winning Entries



OJOY is a product line of traditional famous Taiwanese specialty desserts and teas which are usually used in eastern festivals and...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

New York Natural Food Co. llc

New York Natural Food is a New York-based natural & specialty food sales & marketing company.