About this episode
In this episode, we'll learn how his love for Japanese culture and anime led to a his art director role at an animation software company where his skill are utilized in everything from animation, UI and UX design, and building websites.
Matthew: Hello Yuan. How are you today?
Yuan: Hello, great. It's awesome.
Matthew: Well, it's a pleasure.
Yuan: Thank you.
Matthew: Tell us a bit about yourself and who you are.
Yuan: Okay. I'm a motion designer and Webflow designer and developer. My background is motion design and animation, so I usually do some design for websites and motion. And mostly my clients are from Japan. In the company I work as a UI/UX designer as well, so I have a lot of things to do with design, motion, website, and all the digital stuff. That's what I'm doing.
Matthew: So, in the place where you normally work and build with Webflow and animations, can you kind of describe your workspace, your environment? Let's imagine that we are where you are. What does that look like?
Yuan: In my workspace, I have a two-meter-long desk, some books that I read, usually a concept art book. It's mostly anime because I really like anime so much, and this is one of my inspirations. And some guitar music, a keyboard, as well as a window. I have a window and good sunlight. So every morning I can see the sunlight go into my working room. And then a water dispenser just beside my desk.
Matthew: So you don't have to leave–
Yuan: When you're tired, yeah. So just go beside and then fill water and then drink. So you keep hydrated all day, it’s very important.
Matthew: Oh yeah. Okay, so there's your number one tip right there, stay hydrated while you work?
Yuan: Yeah, of course. It's very important.
Matthew: Yeah, I agree.
Yuan: Especially when we are designers and developers.
Yuan: We tend to sit down all day and eat, making our kidneys work very hard. That's why we need to drink a lot of water.
Matthew: Mm-hmm, it's true. You named a lot of interesting things around you. Is there another specific object that's around you that has some special meaning or story?
Yuan: Yeah, I just moved to a new place, actually.
Yuan: So it's still kind of messy right now.
Yuan: But before, I would have my wife’s photo there and the Bible there as well. So every morning read the Bible and do devotion. Yeah, I think that's special.
Matthew: Nice. So those are the things that you like to have near you. Now, you mentioned that you have books about instruments and stuff. Do you listen to music while you work?
Yuan: Oh, yes. I listen to music when I work. I usually listen to lo-fi. I think it’s very popular, designer lo-fi music, very calm.
Matthew: The lo-fi beats. Yeah.
Yuan: Yeah, exactly. You can really concentrate on what you're doing.
Yuan: Especially when you do design. For me, like designing, I need to think. So the lo-fi music really helps me to do that.
Matthew: You mentioned you had a window and there was some nice morning sunlight that comes in. Do you have any views out your window?
Yuan: Okay, so my house right now, in front of my house is a wall. So I can see the wall.
Matthew: Well, at least the light is still getting through.
Yuan: Yeah, light and the wall. I think that's a good thing because some people like to have the house in front of the wall, and some people like the house in front of another house. Like for us, for me and my wife, we don't feel comfortable if in front of the house there are other people. We can see each other, and when working, I don't know. Based on my past experience of someone staring at me when I work, I don't know why, but it doesn't feel so good.
Matthew: Right. they're like, “Wait, you didn't rename that div.” Then you feel like they're judging you.
Matthew: No, totally. Yeah, you want a little bit of privacy from your neighbors.
Yuan: Yeah, exactly. I think that's the good thing about the wall.
Matthew: Be thankful for the wall, that's funny. You mentioned that you like anime and motion graphics and music. Do you want to tell us a little bit more about those things that you like to do when you're not working?
Yuan: Yeah. So I play games and watch anime. When I was a kid, I knew a lot, so I was an Otaku. So, an Otaku is someone who really, really likes anime when I was in school.
Yuan: But that thing has helped me out with motion.
Matthew: Yeah, it was your school for motion.
Yuan: And the movement.
Yuan: Yeah. So it actually really helped me with that kind of thing. One thing my parents, when I’d watch a lot of anime, would say “Hey, don't watch anime. Go study, go learn mathematics or school stuff.” And I said, “No, I'm learning right now. I'm doing like animation. I need this thing.”
And then several years later when I did my first job in motion design, then they understood. “Oh, okay. My son watching anime is okay because they use this for work. Playing games is okay.” Because they want to take the experience and take the idea for the games as well.
Yuan: I think especially for a Japanese company, I learn from them a lot because they have a different standard. They're very unique in terms of design and especially color. My color is very influenced by Japanese culture as well, because their color is really different from the western. Western is very straightforward red, blue, and green. Really strong color.
Yuan: The Japanese, their color is in between. Red is not really red. Pink is not really pink. Blue is like greenish blue or something. So that really influenced me to do some design stuff.
Matthew: Let's talk more about what is your role every day and what is it that you do for work?
Yuan: Okay, so my role right now is working with a Japanese company. I'm on retainer from a Japanese company. This company is an animation company, a software animation company called Live 2D. I worked in this company four years ago in Japan. But right now I’m back in Indonesia. I still work with them.
Yuan: So my role is as an art director. I do all of their design like branding, logo design, motion, and website as well. Like a one-man show, I help them with everything. Recently they developed a software, so I need to do UA, UN and UX design as well, and then to promote their website using Webflow. That's the really fun part, especially for something like anime. Because when you make a web design with anime or something fantasy, I think it's totally different from a normal website, like a corporate website, because you need to have a really fun element. You need to be different from the corporate thing.
Matthew: Because your target audience is anime animators, right? That's who you're trying to talk to.
Yuan: Animators, yeah, exactly. Like a niche market.
Matthew: But a very fun market, it sounds like.
Yuan: Yeah. It's fun.
Matthew: All right. Who is someone in the Webflow Community that inspires you?
Yuan: Oh, I can say like everyone, because a lot of Webflowers are really good at Webflow, and they share what they can do with us. And if I can say the name that inspires–
Yuan: I feel like my teacher Ran Segall is first and then Timothy Ricks.
Matthew: Timothy Ricks. Yeah.
Yuan: These two are like my grand teachers. They're really, really good. I cannot say everyone, but there's a lot. For example, Joe Moore.
Yuan: When I first made my website, my first full website, I watched his work a lot.
Yuan: So his work has really inspired me. And then, of course, Joseph Berry, the motion guy, is really a genius. I can remember these two, but there are a lot of awesome guys out there. I cannot say like one by one. But yeah, I'm really glad in the Webflow Community everyone is, you know, trying to help the community.
Yuan: Everyone is not like a ghost. Not like they think about themselves, but they want to share what they can. They want to show and to share. I think it is really a blessing. Not to me, but to other people, so they are not selfish at all. I’m really, really grateful.
Matthew: That is an amazing aspect of our Webflow Community for sure.
Matthew: What is some advice that you would share with someone else in the community, or maybe somebody who's new to the community or new to Webflow? What's some advice that you would give them?
Yuan: So my advice is don't be afraid to show your work, especially on social media. Because, when you show your work, it means you learn something. When you learn something, it accelerates your skill level and your confidence. Because I think it's really important, not only the skill level, but also confidence by doing a lot of Webflow work. Don't be afraid to make a mistake because it's a part of the process. Just imagine like “kaboom.” It's like first year, second year, third year it’s nothing. Then “boom” and suddenly you grow so fast.
Yuan: So take time. I know learning Webflow, especially for someone who doesn't have any experience with websites, I know it's hard at first. But just keep building. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. And then you will see yourself grow exponentially in a short time. I mean, not really short time, but yeah, in the process when you are ready–
Yuan: You’ll become really good.
Matthew: Yeah, definitely learning and sharing in public, it can definitely help speed up your personal development process. And I think it also ties into what you were mentioning before, about how the Webflow Community is very supportive in sharing what their knowledge is and what their experience is with others, right?
By putting yourself out there and showing what you are doing, what you are learning, you're going to get that valuable, helpful, kind feedback from the community. It's amazing to see.
Matthew: All right, Yuan, how can others reach out to you if they would like to connect?
Yuan: Oh, they can reach me through my Instagram or Twitter.