We had the good fortune of connecting with Lily Lin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lily, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
For many people, including me, it’s scary to take a risk because we’re afraid of showing our vulnerability – through failure, making mistakes, doing the wrong thing – so we always tend to stay in the “safe zone”, where we’re doing things that bring us comfort; however, I think risk-taking has always been a prominent factor in propelling my journey and personal growth. Being a designer who’s inspired by social impact and innovation, learning to embrace risk-taking helps to move things forward because being in this headspace prevents us from conforming to solutions/ideas that already exist.
I am the first person from my family to be involved in a creative career, so I knew right from the get-go that learning to navigate around uncertainties will always be important for me. I am grateful to have grown up in different countries. My parents really valued traveling in order for me to experience different cultures, so these experiences have allowed me to embrace changes and adapt quickly to different environments and communities, helping me to view risk-taking with a positive lens. Therefore, I’m always seeking ways to break out of my comfort zone because I never want to stay stagnant, and at the same time, I try to be very reflective and aware of my own artistic practice and goals.
One thing that has helped me embrace risk-taking is to truly enjoy the journey that I’m on as I’m tinkering away. It’s always a challenge to overcome our doubts and fears, as a lot of the information we see on social media or online platforms revolves around stories of success and achievements because it’s not a common practice for people to highlight their failures. I’ve come a long way to finally be able to acknowledge the steps I’m taking in my own journey and really value the lessons I’m learning on the way without letting that fear stop me from trying new things.
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.
The motion design industry is quite influenced by technology; however, I never want to be bound or to be limited by current trends or what’s popular. For me, a lot of the illustrations or projects I make are inspired or grounded by reality- like a snippet of my visual diary. If you go on my website, whether it’s the projects I’ve done or personal work (https://www.lilylindesign.com/loops), I always try to incorporate different personalities and humour into my work. I love to tell stories through quirky characters inspired by everyday objects and play with bold, expressive colours. By creating something that has a strong narrative, it’ll resonate with the people who see it and evoke an emotional response. At the end of the day we’re all just people trying to tell stories and trying to use art as a tool to highlight difficult conversations.
It’s a magical experience to be able to breathe life into my illustrations with colour, music, characters and animation. Being a motion designer has allowed me to explore different styles, methods of creating, and keep every new project fresh and exciting. Before I learned about motion design, I thought the only route after studying illustration would be becoming an editorial illustrator, but one of the things I’ve always struggled with is finding that “special thing”. I have always identified my favourite illustrators by their unique style – through linework, colour palette, or texture – and I always felt like to be a good illustrator, your work has to be recognizable. For the longest time I struggled with finding my personal style and that pressure stopped me from being creative and feeling joy from drawing (a really bad sign). Stumbling upon motion design was a transitional point in my life because a whole world of possibilities just opened up to me. I no longer had to worry about being confined by one style and now I have the opportunity to dip my feet in branding, multimedia, graphic design, and so much more. I’ve always dreamed of being an artist, so it’s such a luxury for me to wake up and do what I love every day. The motion designers I meet from Slack groups, Facebook groups, online courses (from freelancers to Art Directors) are all incredibly nice and down to Earth – they never shy away from sharing their experience and it’s been wonderful learning from them.
Navigating life is similar to working on a painting- it can get messy and there’ll always be times when you get frustrated and want to give up, but one trick that has helped me get through those times is envisioning myself at the finish line. Steve Jobs once mentioned that “you can’t connect the dots moving forward but you can only do so moving back.” It’s important to keep in mind that everything we do has a purpose, we just don’t know it yet.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
These are some of my favourite places I’ve visited and revisited. I’m also a huge foodie so I’ve also included my absolute favourite places to eat!
Day 1: Spend the day checking out The Row DTLA (there are some very interesting and unique boutique stores there) and visiting LACMA. Afterwards we can drive to Ktown – Yuchun is a great Korean cold noodle place!
Day 2: Grab some food at the Huntington Garden and we can take a nice walk and go on some trails here. (hopefully on a day that isn’t too hot)
Day 3: Noodle World is probably, hands-down, my favourite noodle place- I once went to a certain location so often that the waiter remembered me. Visiting the Griffith observatory is also a must to hike and stay to see some amazing night scenes.
Day 4: Food hunt day! I love staying around the Little Tokyo and Ktown area because there are some really fun shops and galleries to check out, along with some amazing food! Marugame Monzo is an udon place known for its great quality handmade udon. (by now you can probably tell I’m a huge fan of noodles)
Day 5: Spend a fun and exciting day at Universal Studios!
Day 6: It’s time to visit Game Haus located in Glendale for some quiet (or competitive) board game actions! You only have to pay a small fee to enter, and you’ll have access to a huge collection of board games – like Catan, Monopoly, Game of Life, and many more. Of course, before this, it’d be a shame if we didn’t visit Portos Cafe for some delicious pastries. (cheese rolls and potato balls? If you know you know!)
On the last day, drive to Santa Monica Pier and later get on the Angeles Crest Highway to get some last views of the city at night. My last two food recommendations are HiroNori Ramen and President Thai. Seriously… I’m remembering how good their food is as I’m writing this right now. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people in my life that deserve a shoutout- all of my art teachers who helped spark that creativity within me and gave me a safe space to freely express myself; some of the instructors and staff I’ve met during college who constantly supported me and had my back whenever I needed life advice or experienced doubt; or my parents for believing in me when I decided to walk on this path.
To put a name on someone that has greatly influenced my journey, it has to be Simon Sinek. His talks constantly inspire me to find my purpose and be true to my passion. I would strongly recommend everyone to watch his TED talk on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” – he’s nailed down the importance of figuring out why we do what we do instead of just knowing what we do. Knowing the difference has helped me define the true value behind a good design and how storytelling can influence positive behaviours within our community.