We had the good fortune of connecting with Jun Lin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jun, what are you inspired by?
Recently I’ve been inspired by efforts to increase inclusitivity and accessibility—whether it’s adding closed-captioning to a video, remembering someone’s pronouns, normalizing pronouns in profiles/bios, or writing alt-text for your Instagram posts. I was recently at a virtual panel discussion, and the first thing the moderator did was she described where she was and what she looked like: how she wore her hair that day, what color clothes she was wearing, and, after that, the participants did the same thing and described themselves. I found that moment so beautiful. These might be small things, but they really do build up. Following these best practices creates a safer and more welcoming space for everyone. I’m still learning myself and trying to function daily with more of that awareness, but so excited about a more inclusive future.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a Taiwanese graphic designer currently working in LA.
In grad school I focused on developing a personal voice and exploring my interests as a designer. I studied Literature in college so I was drawn to initiate a lot of language/book/publishing-related projects—it was somewhat of a niche, and I had the good fortune of meeting professors who understood me and helped me get better at what I wanted to do. Over the course of the program I grew a lot more confident in my skills and in my ideas, but after I left school the type of work I was interested in doing changed.
I spend so much of my time working every day that I don’t want to be doing work that I don’t align with. What type of work am I doing? Who is it for? What parties are benefiting because of it and how? At the time of the George Floyd Protests, I felt prompted to reflect on how, as a designer, was my work contributing to society in a meaningful way—if it was contributing anything at all. I was doing mostly art and commercial work at the time, and the protests really amplified the disconnect between the bubble of my day job and what was happening real time in the real world.
Over the past year the need to see that my values were aligned with those of my clients and bosses grew more urgent. I wanted to be able to stand behind the work that I was doing, one hundred percent. That realization steered me down a different career path than I’d expected after graduation. The next year I left my agency job and joined a print and online journal that explored design as social practice, where I could actually see the work and directly contribute to the work that centered around communities of color and uplifted BIPOC voices. I never thought I’d be an in-house designer, but the decision made a lot of sense.
Outside of work, I still make things just for myself. Carving out space and time for personal work has been a form of rest, where I can continue to invest in my interests, and evolve my approach and style.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If you’re ever in LA, San Gabriel has a lot of great Asian food. Get Taiwanese snacks at Half and Half Good Old Time and groceries at Mistuwa or 99 Ranch. For people who like to thrift books, either visit Other Books in Boyle Heights or drive all the way to North Hollywood to check out The Iliad Bookshop—they have an amazing collection in the arts. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family, partner, and all of the friends I made at school—I couldn’t have survived 2020 without them. Studio ELLA is a group of people I’ll always be grateful for. I did an internship there for a bit and every time I was in that space I felt encouraged and inspired. When I look at their work it’s genuine and true to their values. On top of that they’re just good people.
Other: Behance: https://www.behance.net/yujunlin