For Kevin Yang, his breakout moment, like many designers, started in a scale that was personal to him. From there he grew his career to focusing on other personal things that matter to others; the everyday things. “I remember how excited I was to have finally gotten on Dribbble. I’d say after a year on Dribbble I was beginning to really connect with the community on there and as a result started to get traction.”
“Remember when forums were a thing? Back then folks had rectangular graphics underneath their posts commonly referred to as “signatures”. Well I made hundreds of them during middle school. Way back before I had any formal design training. I was just a kid who was messing around in Photoshop and Illustrator. I guess not much has changed since then.” – Kevin.
Working at a brand designer at Digital Ocean during the day he collaborates with the team on identity and direction (since then Yang has moved on to Riot Games). Refocusing the users eyes on particular moments is something he is shines at. That’s why his project Brewski.es is another personal identifier for many people. “The Beer Project started with a six pack of Dos Equis and some time to spare. Shortly after, a few of my friends pushed me to turn this into a series. Since then, I’ve tried to knock out one of these illustrations — along with its respective six pack each week. This series originally lived on Dribbble but I’ve decided that it might be time for this project to live on its own on its Brewski.es domain”. And it has ever since, become a sensation that seems to put smiles on users eyes. Through its simplicity it has a more definitive approach to critical humor. The series offers a gallant way to showcase the term “flat” design while offering subjective knowledge to relate which icon fits what brew type.
Sitting down with Kevin we talk about how he spends his days, “I spend most of the day just trying not to set things on fire. When I’m not doing that I typically do a mix of illustration and web design. When I get home I usually focus on my personal projects or freelance depending on how badly I’ve managed my time haha.” Learning about Yang instills a sense of humbleness, and his story still seems to be a mystery. Taking us through his side project, Brewskies and more we learn that design for Yang is a lifestyle.
What does it mean to be a creative leader?
The creative leaders I respect the most are the ones who give back to the design community. I think it’s very easy to develop an ego once you become a leader. The best creative leaders stay grounded and build other creatives up as opposed to tearing them down.
What is your greatest argument (fight) regarding design – was this at work?
My girlfriend and I have different views on design thinking and design process. I come from a very analytical background whereas she comes from a fine art background. If I was to boil it all down, I would say that I typically try to be as creative as possible within the constraints whereas she questions the constraints a bit more and often tries to redefine them. (How did you solve it?) I’ll let you know when I do :D.
With the advent of publishing platforms and social media, what is your go to for sharing?
I typically use Dribbble, Behance, and Instagram for sharing work.
What other creatives do you look up too, who is your motivational creative influence?
Ahh so many. I’m really inspired by the work of Nick Slater, Shawna X, Ryan Putnam and Steve Wolf.
Younger creatives struggle with choosing freelancing and or getting a part time gig at an agency? What is your take?
Chase the work that you want to do. For some that means freelancing, for others that means going the agency route. Don’t worry about the gig, focus on the work that you will ultimately be doing at the gig.
What particular world issue if you could, with all the money in the world want to try to solve? And How?
This is a tough question because many of the problems that I feel like need to be solved cannot be solved with all the money in the world, most of them start with people finding the will to change. A problem that definitely can be solved with all the money in the world is education. I’ve been very fortunate to have very good teachers, and I think it’s totally possible for everyone to have an education that will help them achieve their dreams in life. All we have to do is properly incentivize teachers. I think education is an unbelievably hard design problem, and our best and brightest designers typically focus their attention elsewhere simply because the incentive isn’t always there — and that’s a shame.
What is your take home advice?
As an upcoming creative myself, I might not be the best person to answer this! Someone a while ago told me that anyone can learn from someone who is better than them. What’s much more rare is a person who is able to learn from those who aren’t as good as they are. I think that comes from just staying humble, hungry, and curious.