ArtCenter College of Design | Pasadena, California | Learn to Create. Influence Change.

Charlene Chen

Graphic Design

6th Term

In what ways has Art Center helped you grow as an designer?
Iíve noticed when I first got into Art Center, I focused on building up a personal style and look to my work more than anything else. Now that I have more refined skills and experience to bring the aesthetic I want in my design, Iíve shifted my focus more towards the thinking and the meaning behind every decision I make in the design process. As a designer Iím very visual driven and form driven, which I think itís helpful when starting a project. Later on in the design process, I would refine the concept by doing research and understanding the content, and Iím constantly asking myself what is the message that I want to convey through my design.

I believe if a design doesnít have enough material and research to support it, it will live for a period of time and fades away real quickly, and if a design has a strong meaning behind it, then it will be able to stand the test of time.

What is your most reliable source of inspiration?
Whenever I feel like Iím stuck in the design process, I would take a break and do something else that is completely unrelated to the project. A walk usually helps because that forces me to leave the environment I was working in and to get some fresh air. Going to the nature is a great way to get inspirations, and it always surprises me how easily ideas can come to me when I switch the environment and stay away from computers and cellphones. I highly recommend everyone to reconnect with nature and break the everyday routine occasionally.

Tell us something about yourself people might find surprising?
I put a lot of concentration on my work and school, and when Iím in that zone I canít help but being serious so I know it can give other people the wrong impression sometimes, which I have no intention of doing it. Other than being concentrated on work, Iím also very concentrated when it comes to eating anything sweet. I think my life will become miserable if I donít get to consume a certain amount of sweetness into my body. You can always find snacks in my bag no matter where I go.

How do you hope to change the world through your work?
Even though Iím not so sure about what it means and how it will work in the future, I hope my work can inspire the world in a way that people can take away something meaningful with them.

What advice would you give to prospective Art Center students?
Enjoy taking challenges/risks in your design process, and itís totally fine to step out of your comfort zone and feel like you donít have the control of everything. Sometimes it is more important to take away something valuable from the design process than to have a portfolio piece for your grad show.

Why is receiving a scholarship important to you?
Receiving award from scholarshop review is important to me because it not only gives me support financially, it also gives me support and feedbacks from the faculty so I know what areas are my strengths and what areas are my weaknesses. It is helpful to get critiques from teachers who are not familiar with your work and process.

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