Lucas from Hong Kong, graphic designer
From: Hong Kong
Studied: MA in Communication Design at Norwich University of the Arts
Now: Graphic Designer
Lucas Yeung was a language student when he decided to pursue his dream of studying graphic design in the UK. With a master’s degree under his belt, it wasn’t long before he landed a job at a design agency back home in Hong Kong.
He shares what he’s learned about the teaching style in the UK, how he got his first job in the design industry – and how inspiration can strike when you least expect it!
Why did you choose to study design in the UK?
‘It's been said that the UK has a reputation for cultivating creativity. I was studying for a bachelor’s in English and had an internship as a translator, but I couldn’t see myself dealing with language as my career, so I was looking for further study. Graphic design is something that I had been fascinated by, so I optimistically applied for courses and started my portfolio from scratch.’
How did the teaching style in the UK compare to back home?
‘One thing that is certainly distinct between Hong Kong and the UK teaching style is the liberation given to students. My tutors were open to any interpretations, which allowed me to investigate different areas and subject matters. They would not narrow the scope of practice, so I was entirely free to conceptualise my ideas in any medium.
‘For a person like me, who had no design background, it was such an opportunity to equip myself with basic knowledge in various fields. Added to visual practice, the programme was not solely about technical skills – it also heavily relied on collective research, justification and reasoning; how you question the subject critically.
‘I reckon this is the most significant difference when compared to Hong Kong, where the approach tended to be niche, practical and career-driven. There are pros and cons for sure, but at the age we are at university, who doesn't want to free their mind and visualise without limits?’
Tell us about your career – what are you doing now, and what is it like?
‘Straight after the graduate show (where students showcase their final projects),
I moved back to Hong Kong and fortunately got into a British-run graphic design agency which does publishing, branding, digital media and event collateral.
‘I have been working on many publishing and branding projects, and lately I’ve been involved in web design, which is a big deal in this digital era. Regardless of the job, research was the spine and justification follows – you have to make your work convincing and engaging.
‘In a sense, creative practices in this industry are so much like what I encountered during my studies in the UK. Design has always been a continuous learning process.’
Lucas's online portfolio, a responsive design to fit different devices (All photos ©Lucas Yeung)
How did you get the job?
‘I convinced them by telling the stories and motifs behind my work! It was crucial to invite them to engage with my university portfolio.’
What does ‘creativity’ mean to you, and how do you find inspiration?
‘To me "creativity" means seeing things from different perspectives.
‘Looking for inspiration is difficult for me, to be honest. I have gone through those times pulling my hair out, and got inspired all at once when I was brushing my teeth. Inspiration is impromptu and cannot be traced. Strolling around museums in London and my university library always helped.’
What advice would you give to students hoping to work in the creative industries?
‘Build a strong design ethic and constantly question things.’
What are your ambitions for the future?
‘To study fashion journalism in London and work for a fashion and lifestyle magazine.’
What’s your number one memory from your time as a student in the UK?