Interview with designer Zhongkai Li (ZL), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Raw Material Brand Identity.

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Interview with Zhongkai Li at Sunday 10th of August 2014: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
ZL : My design inspiration comes from life and nature, more specifically, it should be based on my interest in the material and the material. I like to collect these to my interest, and put them into my design.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
ZL : I pay attention to the combination of nature and technology, and to the use of the material. I want the brand to force people to re-position the relationship between nature and human beings, therefore giving rise to the reconsideration of the art of simplicity.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
ZL : In fact, we are developing a new season of the product; about the this award winning design, I want to further promote and find some way to sell them.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
ZL : A few years ago I was thinking about the idea, and I have always been thinking. I Just have been waiting for a mature time to implement it.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
ZL : Because of the fast pace of modern life, people are busy working, but there is no time to embrace life and nature. Slowing down to enjoy the beauty of nature is one thing that makes me feel comfortable, so I decided to create a brand to collect the dribs and drabs of everyday life.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
ZL : I plan to sell them, but because of funding problems, the products have not formally been put into production. But I really hope to have more people who want to know my brand.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
ZL : A lot of excellent independent designer inspired me in China; the independent designer brands more and more appear in people's fields of vision. The people's consumption view is changing; people began to tire of industrialized production of highly similar, fast culture that already cannot satisfy the needs of the masses; they want to be different with others to show their own personality.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
ZL : Germany's happy me studio and French silk scarves brand: milleneufcentquatrevingtquatre. I think they are thinking the same problem as I am.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
ZL : Advocate natural, pursuit of superior quality and comfort of consumer groups. To the pursuit of personality of young people, of course, it is also a good choice.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
ZL : My project is more of an interpretation to “complete information”, translating the traditional plane paper media and turning it into a brand-new designing language permeating space, product and image.Raw Material does not only endow the form with a clear concept of location, but also regarding it as an emotional reaction. It challenges self-perception of the original object, thereby switching to another way to reflect another form. By reinterpreting everyday objects and materials, it breaks the shackle of traditional thinking deep-rooted in people’s mind and changes the property of the materials selected with layout and design.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
ZL : Raw Material (RM) is an independent designer brand committed to researching daily materials and exploring formal languages.RM want to explore a potential new Angle of view. In the simplest way to reflect the core of brand is first impression that RM want to show the viewer. Brand name is the most straightforward way to interpret the content of the brand.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
ZL : RM has recorded these with the rubbing method of the traditional printmaking and kaleidoscope, then used computer to integrate it, finally presented in the form of digital printing and silkscreen. RM restored the authentic emotional response from the objects, which is also a challenge to the possibility and uncertainty of the materials.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
ZL : I think is the feeling of the brand wants to convey to the audience. Only when you use, you can feel its unique charm.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
ZL : All of the previous work is completed independently, including brand identity, and pattern design and clothing version of type design. Then, I visited my costume designer friends and consulting some related technical problems. Finally I found the tailor, screen printers, and digital printing studio to make my product.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
ZL : The technique and technology greatly helped me design implementation, because the quality of the product and the result depends on technology maturity. Thanks to the technique and technology of the fascinating!

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
ZL : I have tried to use a new designing method unusual to conventional formats by translating information and building up research methodology.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
ZL : Mainly is the understanding of the technical level and the study of technology. The other is the choice of material. After all, they are not only appear in the computer screen.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
ZL : I want to know if my product can attract the world's recognition and have the opportunity to get promotion, not just limited in the Chinese context.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
ZL : I feel the deepest is to design every step is very important. Whether the concept of early or late technology generated. but both are essential. When I finish the work, I also have more about technology and printing technology.