Today I’m really excited to introduce you to my friend, Alex Hsu. I used to work with Alex at a Taipei design agency, and now he runs his own studio: Pinch Partners 品器創制設計顧問.
Alex works on brand identity and website projects for Taiwanese businesses of all sizes, and from all industries.
You might recognize the company in the first image – it’s a well-known furniture company here called No. 5 Work Room [No. 5 加工廠]. He’s also great at more corporate stuff, more artsy stuff and technology stuff. Just take a look at his new website!
I asked Alex some questions about what it’s like to run his own design studio here in Taipei…here’s what he said.
Hi Alex! So tell us about your background. How did you get into design?
I studied Graphic Design at York University in Toronto. Design was always my career interest since high school, and I was fortunate enough to go abroad and get my design education over there. After graduating from York, I moved back here and luckily got my “dream job” at a local brand design agency. It’s been over ten years in the industry, and this is what I am doing now, running my own design office.
Describe a day at the Pinch Partners studio…
Basically, client projects are the first priority. If I’m not in a rush to finish work for clients, I usually spend half the day reading my favorite blogs (any kind of topics) and surfing the web to collect ideas and inspiration for potential projects.
I believe that design is beyond just cramping stuff together and making it pretty. It’s about giving meaning and story to the design solution, and making clients believe what you do for them, so I need to be inspired first. However, due to the scale of my studio, I need to wear different hats for my business, so my “spare” time is usually spent meeting with potential clients to get projects.
What kind of projects do you enjoy doing most?
I would say all projects”: small or big, simple or challenging, because I can always find a fun part during the process and learn different or new things along the way.
What are the most common design challenges Taiwanese companies have?
That’s a very tough question, and there’s lots to talk about regarding this. But one thing is really important for Taiwanese companies to bear in mind: If you hire a designer or design office, trust them and treat them as your brain instead of your hands.
Who are your design influences?
Again, very tough question. If you mean design style, I admire and respect those who can master minimalism so well and effectively. But for the design momentum, ironically, three major figures in music inspire me greatly: Jimi Hendrix, Steve Vai and Metallica. Why? They basically perform something unique and stylish with something that already exists.
What magazines or sites do you read for inspiration?
I used to read magazines in the past for getting ideas and inspiration, but now I use the web a lot as a research tool. It’s easy, quick and mostly free. I frequently check in some websites such as Brand New, Rebrand, Fast Company, Pinterest, Design Inspiration and FFFFound… Very often, I have to absorb the information related to a client’s industry and business, so I can find insights for my design solutions.
You can see more of Alex’s work on Pinch Partners’ just redesigned site: pinchpartners.com.tw