For Eager Zhang, a designer based in Kansas City, Missouri, they discovered the world of graphic design by cofounding a student zine club while attending a science-magnet high school in China. “[I took] care of the layout design and printing,” they recall. “I didn’t know that was called ‘self-publishing’—super trendy nowadays—and what I was doing was actually ‘graphic design.’” Now, as a designer at their self-run studio and instructor at the Kansas City Art Institute, Zhang incorporates a highly conceptual, imaginative approach into their work, drawing inspiration from the Fluxus art movement, László Moholy-Nagy’s book Vision in Motion and the multidisciplinary fiction of Ted Chiang, as well as from their undergraduate degree in coding and systems thinking. “Design can’t be defined by ‘client works’ or any visual genre,” Zhang explains. “Instead, it’s a tool of thinking, a domain of study and a vehicle to make an impact with openness. I keep a workflow [that I call] a ‘question loop’—I widely research the project or commission I’m working on until I find a question for myself to describe the key design task, such as: ‘How can I design a typeface that looks both like square Chinese [characters] and the Latin alphabet?’, or ‘How can I turn this poster into an interactive one to attract more people to look at it as they pass by a wall?’ The following steps are to answer my question through various approaches with different narratives, media and visual styles.”
Combining concept with intuition, this Singaporean illustrator explores the intersection of her solid compositions and emotional palettes.