Just Launched: New Grad Kevin Yang Heads to IBM Design

In FSBlog’s Just Launched feature, we talk to brand new Full Sail grads, right out the door from graduation, about what’s next for them as they head out into the workforce. This month’s Just Launched graduate is Kevin Yang. 

Name: Kevin Yang

Degree Program: Digital Arts & Design

Graduation Date: December 18, 2015

Before Full Sail: Before I came to Full Sail, I was a math major at another college.I was back home in Atlanta for winter break and I found my old design portfolio from high school. I realized I missed art, and I had this moment where I thought to myself, okay, I have to give this a shot. I’m going to find an art school and do what I love.

I did my research. I’d already been in school for 4 years and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do another 4-5 year program. I was looking at accelerated programs, and Full Sail was at the top of all the places I looked. I heard the resources here were really good, but I was especially drawn to the design community in Orlando. It’s a really tight knit group, and I found that very appealing. The Orlando chapter of AIGA (the American Institute for Graphic Arts) is particularly active, and it’s headed up by Victor Davila, who was one of my professors at Full Sail.

 First Internship: During my time in the Digital Arts & Design programI took a six month internship at Mama’s Sauce, a print shop in Orlando. I met a lot of amazing people through that experience. In addition to helping me fill out my t-shirts a little better–most people don’t realize how heavy paper actually is–working at a print shop allows you to connect with design on a tangible level. A design might look one way on a screen and completely different when you print it. Having the knowledge to leverage the process of translating a design from computer to print is really helpful, especially when I’m putting together brands. I can think about the paper, the ink, and how I want the design to physically feel and not just how I want it to look.


 First Job: After graduation I’m headed to Austin, Texas to work with IBM Design. Most people recognize IBM as the big black computers with the red dot in the middle, but over 70% of their revenue is currently generated thorough software. They’re responsible for everything from user interfaces in cars to the software cashiers use to check customers out in department stores. Most of those interfaces are out-dated, so they’ve hired a bunch of designers to redo all of their user interfaces across the board. I’ll be working on that project for the next ten weeks, and it’s really exciting because I’ll get to meet other designers from all over the country in the process.

Where You Draw Your Inspiration: One of my favorite quotes is from Vince Lombardi and he said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” I think that’s a great quote to live by, and that’s my tagline I always use on everything: chasing perfection.

I’m well aware perfection isn’t always reasonable, but I think that if you’re willing to pursue it despite the fact that nothing is perfect, you can make something that people love and that resonates. I find that to be really fulfilling. I don’t try to stop my illustrations or my projects after I feel like they fulfill the rubric. I want to make stuff that people can look at and smile about, and that they can feel good about. I think good design really matters. People sometimes undervalue what we do, and I think the best way to prove them wrong is to make unbelievable things.

Short Term Goals: I want to learn more about product design. In the end, math wasn’t for me, but I like the problem solving aspect of math. I think that’s why I gravitate towards design so much, because I’ve been able to rig my mind into thinking about things in terms of problems and solutions. In terms of product design, a lot of unique and challenging problems have yet to be solved in that field. I don’t have much experience with that stuff, but I want to break into that field so I can make a difference. I use a lot of apps, I use Uber and AirBnB and Yelp and all these products on a regular basis, and sometimes little things bother me but I don’t necessarily have the skill set to do anything about it. And I would like to. I heard once that for every 1 person who has a complaint it’s about 300 people who feel similarly. I think short term goal is to learn more about product design.

Long Term Goals: Many people in the design world ultimately want to work up to a Creative Director position or possibly start their own company. I’m not the best at managing people, and I don’t have that much passion for it. But I do like making things. I think even later on down the road I still just want to be a Senior Designer. As technology progresses, there are going to be a lot of design problems on the forefront of innovation. I’m excited about that, and I’d like to have a hand in solving some of those problems.

Advice to New Students: Typography matters. Like, a lot. Good typography will always be the thing that sets a student portfolio apart from a professional portfolio.

Put your heart in what you do. Take criticism, conduct as much research as possible to make the informed decisions on your designs. If you want to respect the craft, that’s how you do it.



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