Welcome back to another edition of our Diversity in Design series, here on Envato Tuts+! This is a collection of designers, illustrators, and creatives—each from different disciplines, cultures, and backgrounds.
There can be such value in celebrating and observing the unique, creative voice of our peers. Join me in observing these inspiring works, insights, and comments from this wonderful collection of inspiring content creators!
4 Artists You Should Know: Diversity in Design
So let's dig right in with a look at this month's featured creators, their insights, their perspective, and their creative vision.
Meet Jessica Kwong—a designer and illustrator with a passion for visual communication. Check out some of her inspiring work and insights.
Hi! My name is Jessica Kwong. I’m a New-Zealand born Chinese communication designer with a focus on graphic design and illustration.
I’m passionate about art and design because it can have so many different meanings for different people. It calls forward buried emotions and memories and provides a visual language beyond spoken or written words. If eyes are the windows to the soul, then art is the message that gets through those windows.
I’ve always been interested in art and design since I was young, and am currently finishing up my second year in Bachelor of Communication Design, majoring in graphic design. At the moment, I’m on exchange at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University in Melbourne, Australia, but my home university is Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.
I would describe my work as quite varied and influenced by my Chinese culture and my surroundings. My personal illustrations are rather soft, nostalgic and dreamy. I also quite enjoy creating portraits. My commercial work can be quite varied depending on the brief but are often rather graphic and vibrant.
I want to make a difference in society with my work, through a cultural or environmental lens.
I hope that my work will be used to inspire viewers to make thoughtful and impactful choices. As a second-generation immigrant, attempting to bridge the gap between the two cultures I’ve grown up with, New Zealand and Chinese, has been quite important to me. In terms of creative goals: I want to continue developing and refining my personal style, build up my design experience and continue growing in my skillset.
I’m actually currently doing a secret series of illustrations to improve my skills in digital illustration — except I can’t really call it secret anymore, can I?
My creative process is quite methodical. I do background research on context/iconography, then brainstorm ideas, come up with a few concepts and finally refine my work. Most of my work is done in Procreate, InDesign and Photoshop, although I do also enjoy using gouache and pencil for traditional illustrations.
However, I wouldn’t say that there’s an overarching inspiration for my work. There are things that I am interested in, such as florals, and environmental or cultural issues. My graphic design aims to communicate a concept and message based on the brief, so the thinking behind each work is different.
For my personal work, I find inspiration from other creatives such as James Jean, Hieu (kelogsloops), and Lauren Tsai.
I’m still in a phase of growth but one thing that’s stuck with me is that growth is more important than perfectionism. I’m a total perfectionist, and this sometimes leads me to expect to get everything, including my work, perfect on the first try.
However, I’ve learned that this attitude tends to lead to disappointment and doubting your own skills when the outcome doesn’t reach your expectations. I’m learning to let go of my expectations to nail everything first time and focus on enjoying the process, doing as many iterations as possible, taking risks, being open to critiques and learning skills I didn’t know before. It’s always so much worth going the extra mile.
Check out more of Jessica's wonderful work at:
Jordana's work is sophisticated and beautiful. Take a look at these beautiful works from her portfolio—as well as her inspiring insights!
I am a graphic designer living in Melbourne with my 17.5 year old dog, Gucci. Past talents & triumphs include: butterfly swim champion, cellist and trained dancer, but I can’t hula-hoop? Quite frankly, I’m stumped…
My intrigue and passion for design sparked in high school, where I spent hours fascinated with Photoshop & Illustrator and taught myself the ropes.
I remember I submitted a digital artwork once for my assignment and the teacher almost failed me because she couldn’t believe I’d managed it on my own. It was both very frustrating and flattering. I’m now in my final semester after studying both a bachelor in interactive & visual design, and communication design.
Social and environmental progression is something that motivates me and my work a lot. I always want to consider how I can make design beneficial and supportive for people and the planet.
As designers we have such an incredible opportunity to ignite change and leave a positive impact. For me it’s so important that design is not just pretty - it has to be POWERFUL as well.
My inspiration comes from many different facets. Sometimes it’s a shape or a texture. A lot of the time it's Halloween with ideas that are slightly off-beat or eerie. Other times an issue I think needs attention, something that made me laugh, or the way a song made me feel.
My Human Error branding was a project inspired by a Galen Hooks choreography piece to ‘Human’ - Sevdaliza. I loved the way it made me feel very eerie and preternatural, and I wanted to inject that into a design work. I’m also currently finessing a campaign design that spotlights the power of transgender and gender-diverse people in the workplace.
“Create. Even if it sucks - keep creating.”
This is a quote that I saw once and it really struck a chord with me. When I was starting out, I was very self-critical and I would get bogged down by perfectionism. But you don’t have to be perfect to begin - just keep at it, reflect, grow, and work hard. Creating is an incredible and constant process.
You can take a look at more of Jordana's inspiring work here:
I absolutely love Gabriela's work—beautiful, organic patterns—her uplifting perspective is very inspiring, and I love her passion for continued learning! Take a look!
My work has changed over time, but I believe everything inside the rich universe of our own minds is connected, whether it's conscious or not. At first it was focused on illustration, then for 10 years it was all about textile and surface design, later product and graphic design, now business design, sustainability, and creative entrepreneurship. I just keep adding things! I have a degree in Fine Arts, then studied to be a Garment Technician. I later got a graduate study degree in Design Management. I also do a lot of research, read nonfiction books and articles to keep learning.
I like to create and design things that make people happy, that also have some kind of practical purpose. [I want] to make a good impact.
[I want to create] emotional design that connects and speaks to people that identify with it. I want to empower people to be themselves, to connect with other people. It can be through a product they love [that makes] them feel good, something unique that expresses an identity, an idea or experience they can share, lifestyle or art.
I'm Brazilian of Portuguese descent, and I try to incorporate a multicultural identity in my work, and also as we call it a "brasility" feel. Along with feminine (and feminism!), whimsy, in a kind of magic, dreamlike universe. Nature is [my] primary source of inspiration, always. I also draw inspiration from art history, fashion, the work of creators I admire, and a broad range of other fields.
My creative process is an "organized mess", moodboards full of references, pieces of written paper, collages, notebooks and sketchbooks.
We live in the best of times to get our work out there through internet and social media. But that can also create the illusion that it's easy. Resilience would be my strongest advice.
Along with discipline, constancy and hard work. There will always be room for growth, there is no "final destination". Let go of perfectionism (I know the ideas are always so much cooler in our heads! I'm a healing perfectionist myself) it only weights you down and prevents your true potential to flow. Be gentle, surround yourself with positivity and a supportive network. Take care of your mental health. Each story is unique and you should never compare to anyone but your past self.
You can take a look at more of Gabriela's beautiful works here:
Meet Rose—an illustrator and designer with a flair for detail and ornate, expressive works. I loved listening in on her insights; take a look at some of her inspiring work!
hi! my name is rose, and i'm a korean-american illustrator with experience in concept art, graphic design, and product design. i've worked on apparel, books, films, games, and toys with clients like mattel, loot crate, and gaia online, and my work has been featured in exhibitions in new york, los angeles, atlanta, and tokyo. i also have a personal brand of prints and merchandise featuring original characters.
my work is about exploring things i love—color, design, fashion, manga and manhwa—in stylish combinations.
a huge part of my work is just aesthetics: i want my work to stand out, look good, and feel good to experience. i hope to keep evolving my work in terms of visuals, pioneering new styles and concepts. creativity and a unique voice have always been central to my goals—why create copies of what's already been done? i'm excited to see how far i can push myself in this regard.
because of my upbringing, i always had a hard time verbally expressing myself with confidence. my art is a safer, more beautiful way to communicate my feelings and dreams. this was something i was ashamed of for a long time, but lately i'm embracing it and i think it's improved my work quite a bit.
my process is impulsive and difficult for me to put into words. i didn't have a formal art education, so i've always felt my way through creating, using whatever was available to me at the time. it makes me a terrible teacher, but i think it does lend a lot of personality to my work, as well as a little mystery.
i think that once you're obsessed with creating art, literally everything is inspiring. everything becomes a possibility, a tiny alternate universe.
find out what you love. this may involve trying many different things. once you figure out what excites you most, it'll be much easier to find the motivation to work on that thing. for professional goals, you'll need to spend a lot of time practicing, and you'll need to find your voice; both will come more naturally when you're in a place of true enjoyment. for personal goals, well...life is short, why spend it on things that don't make you happy?
and as long as it doesn't hurt anybody, don't be ashamed of what you love, there is always room for it in this universe. be confident in it, sell it, live it, don't wait for permission. the universe will follow.
Check out more of Rose's wonderful work here:
Send Us Your Favorite Artists!
I'd like to extend a big thank you and warm wishes to Jessica, Jordana, Gabriela, and Rose for sharing their work and their thoughts with us! Again, you can check out more of their work, right here:
Do you know of an artist or designer that you think we should feature? Let us know down below in the comments, or use the hashtags #tutsplusdesign and #artforall on Instagram and Twitter!
Check out the previous entries in this series:
- Global InfluencesArt for All: Celebrate Diversity in Design—Volume 26Daisy Ein
- DiversityArt for All: Celebrate Diversity in Design—Volume 25Melody Nieves
- ArtArt for All: Celebrate Diversity in Design—Volume 24Melody Nieves
- IllustrationArt for All: Celebrate Diversity in Design—Volume 23Melody Nieves
- Global InfluencesArt for All: Celebrate Diversity in Design—Volume 22Melody Nieves