Lily Van

Design Thesis Blog

Blog #1 - What is your Niche?

1) What do you consider to be your medium, style, and services of choice? Describe why you feel that is the case.

I think that the medium I’m the strongest in is graphic arts. I have a strong sense of stylization in the visual arts area, and this lends well to my cute, bright, and vibrant style! In addition to this, I feel that my work is consistent in its style, and that I have a good sense of color. I create work that feels clean, young, and cheerful!

The services that I offer include: UI Design, branding, product/toy design, and graphic design!

My reasoning for this is because all of those services can use or require rapid brainstorming, color sensibilities, and illustrative strength. Each of these services also require an understanding of users on a certain level, which I feel that I can offer to younger demographics. I have some experience in narrative work, and feel that in design that’s necessary for creating appealing ideas. Here’s some examples!

2) Conduct some research and identify target potential clients and partners you hope to work with in the future. Provide links and write a few details about why you choose those individuals, companies, etc.

Some potential clients/partners that I would like to work with:

Each of these companies has a singular theme that encapsulates them it’s: children’s media.

Their demographics are geared towards individuals who are young at heart! They create products and experiences that are meant for children or young adults. Everything that they create is colorful, intentional and fun. This is exactly what I want to do! I just want to create work that can be fun, and joyful! I’ve always been someone who has wanted to make things that kids can enjoy. Not only that, but to create work that appeals to older people who still want to embrace the joys of youthfulness! I think that each of these companies encapsulates that perfectly. If possible, I’d like to get to where they are.

3) What common frustrations or needs do your services or products address? How do you or your business solve a problem or find a solution for your customers? In particular, do you solve problems that nobody else can? Through your research create a list of the kinds of problems you are most interested in addressing after you graduate with some details as to why that is the case in the context of your skills and interest.

It’s one thing to make a graphic. It’s another thing to make a graphic that’s effective and appealing. It’s also another thing to create a series of graphics, visual identities and iconography that is consistent all across the board. I think that I create appealing characters, graphics, and assets that you don’t often see. Although anyone can illustrate or draw, not everyone can have consistency when creating graphic work. On top of this, I think that having a strong sense of style that customers can directly come to you for is incredibly helpful. Oftentimes, clients seek out a very specific style of work based off an idea they already have. Although there are many designers who also do digital art/graphics, this doesn’t mean that they can do it well, or even make it appealing. I think that something I am good at is finding that appeal, and the charm within design. Since these kinds of ideas can’t be taught, and instead have to be learned through doing, it’s a novelty trait to have! (If I may be so bold.)

Problems I want to address include:

  • Brand identity

  • Game design

  • UI design

  • Product/toy design

These are all really interesting to me! I think they all require a level of understanding on how to simplify solutions so that they’re understandable to various age groups. It’s really exciting to me to get to create work that doesn’t necessarily have a singular demographic that it’s navigating towards. How can we create something that is almost universally appealing? How do we make that something engaging and seamless? Those are the problems I want to solve. It’s fun, always changing, and never the same. I think that as long as I can keep challenging myself, it’s the work I want to do!

4) Conduct a bit of secondary research to see just how competitive your chosen market is. Create a list of links with short sentences describing how competitors are approaching their niche to address the kinds of problems that interest you.

There are a lot of different designers out there that are trying to create their own “styles” and “brands” that I think will be interesting competitors to me!

Some designers/corporations like UsTwo offer applications that appeal to ranges of people through their design sensibilities, artwork and story. They do this in a way that I would really like to get to someday. Their applications offer users a new way to view video games, where it’s an overall experience and journey, rather than something you enjoy to kill time or just to mindlessly enjoy. Instead, they offer worlds that have no language barriers, no text, and rely only on their design work to carry the idea. The way they tackle their user experience issues is incredible.

Another “competitor” I admire is Google Doodle. What’s important about their work is that it has to be seen on a global scale. Because of this, an incredible amount of research has to be done per doodle. You have to take into consideration the people who are seeing your work. Is this culturally correct? Is this the right information to portray? How do we showcase ideas with little to no reliance on textual information? How do we make it beautiful? I think that Google Doodle is such a brilliant example of design in a very minute form. This single image that exists just for a single day on the Google homepage is seen by millions of people around the world. Therefore there are millions of users to account for, and a lot of information to showcase to people at all different ages.

All in all, I want to create work that is effective across age ranges. Work that can exist on its own with little to no help, and still offer a fresh and engaging experience for someone. This kind of design work I feel requires a sense of self-identity, curiosity, and empathy. If possible, I would like to work towards this!

Lily Van