How does a young designer break into the industry? Continuing the series of design interviews, our new recruitment platform Yanko Design Job Board brings you answers from Daniel Park. These answers have been curated by Geunbae “GB” Lee ( Product Designer at Facebook) to give a clearer idea for interview answers that work.
BBA in Strategic Design and Management at Parsons School of Design
How did you get into design?
I started my design career in architecture. After graduating high school, I went to pursue a degree in architecture at the University of Toronto but after one year I dropped out because my mentor at the time told me “Daniel, if you are willing to slave away for 8 years at school and another 8 years designing toilets with a bleeding nose and still smile through the entire process, continue in this field”. This was supposed to be encouraging, but I was not down to spend 16 years of my life doing something that I wouldn’t love doing. After my brief sprint in architecture, I went to an institute to pursue graphic design — I dropped out again. Except for this time I switched into a different major which was the web design program. This was around 2013, so the web hype train was just picking up steam (Adobe flash was still a thing). From there I liked what I was doing and found out what kind of design I wanted to continue doing.
What is design to you? What do you think design is about?
Design is such a broad term that you can define design as anything you want it to be. At this particular moment, design is a means for me to do the thing I love. The type of design that I’m most interested about is product design in the digital space. In that space, design is about creating the most elegant and useful solutions for end users much like how furniture designers design their products. The type of design I want to go into next is creating experiences for people to enjoy and have fun with.
How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?
In my life there are things that I “have” to do and things that I “want” to do. Right now, design is at the intersection of these two extremes so I’m fortunate and blessed to be in this industry. As a result, I’m always motivated and inspired by what other people are creating. Recently, I’ve been into brutalistwebsites.com. In order to stay motivated, I keep asking my peers on how to become unstuck whenever I become stuck. As a designer you’ll always reach a point where you can’t move forward, and talking to other people is how I unblock myself.
What are some of the tools that you use for design?
I mainly use Sketch and Origami to design and prototype. For higher fidelity prototypes, I might code something in HTML/CSS/JS in order to make the prototype as close to the final product.
Are you learning anything new that is related to design?
Physical computation is on my mind. The way that the digital and physical worlds can interact together in order to create fun, exciting, but meaningless experiences is what gets me excited. In order to learn, I’m in the process of building a couple of LED/web projects. I’m also trying to learn how to produce music because I see in the near future a connection between physical computation and sound.
Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?
In 5 years I hope to start an art studio that focuses on physical/digital experiences. The things that Dave & Gabe do is the type of work that I want to do in the future.
Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?
Don’t just be a T-shaped designer, but aspire to be a T-shaped human — seek out experiences outside of your career path, learn new skills, and pursue hobbies that are not related to your field. Learning and doing activities outside the realm of your job is how you can reward yourself and keep the passion flowing.
The previous interview with Amanda Hum can be found here.
Click here to read the original write-up by Geunbae Lee.