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JIMMY CHEN

PEOPLEText: Satoru Tanno

You have just moved from San Francisco. How do you like Los Angels so far?

I was originally living in Los Angeles. I moved up to San Francisco for work. Now that I am back in Los Angeles, I feel a bit more comfortable with my environment. The main difference between SF and LA is probably the weather. It pretty much sucks in SF. But as far as the design community, it is a lot more active in SF. There is more of a design presence there.

And maybe that’s something I should think about… stirring something up in LA.
Y’know…get designers together and interested in collaborative works.

What do you think about the U.S web design scene?

I think the designs produced by U.S. studios are very innovative. They cover the entire spectrum of web design, from technology to art. They keep me inspired and drive me to be more experimental in my design… to evolve. Cliche… but true.

As a Taiwanese-American, how do you think about the web sites that are run by talented Asian-American designers?

I really don’t think about things like that. I’ve seen their works and they’re cool. Very. I admire designers as designers. On the web everybody is represented by their graphics and their codes. Very anonymous and just the way I like it. Nobody knows that I am rotund, unsightly and have 3 eyes. But as for typographic, I try to represent it as Typographic and not so much as Jimmy Chen. Typographic seems to have more facets and can be as specific or as ambiguous as I feel at any given moment.

Who are your favorite graphic/web designers?

There are lots of people that I like and a lot of them that I don’t even know their names. I admire designers and directors that do television commercials, movie titles, posters, billboards, cd covers, and those sort things. I like designers that mix it up and cross mediums.

Some specifics, to name a few, are Designers Republic, P. Scott Makela, Neville Brody, Barry Deck, Why Not Associates, April Greiman, Stephen Farrell, Rebecca Menendez, and David Carson, Spyplane, Pittard Sullivan, 52mm, 47jane, secondstory… but that is by no means a complete list. That’s just what comes to mind right now.

What is the typeface you like best?

I use a lot of Macintosh system fonts such as Helvetica, Palatino, Times, and others such as Impact, Gil Sans, and Bodoni. I like using those typefaces because I am familiar with them and I can customize them accordingly to whatever I am designing. I try not to use custom fonts because they were designed for a specific purpose and to use them may not fit with what I am doing. And, on a utilitarian note, I also thought it would be cool to design on any computer and I can have all the typefaces that I need.

Are you interested in Japanese culture?

Japanese popular culture has influenced a lot of designers from around the world. I like the graphical artistry of Japanese comic books, as well as the off-beat sense of humor… the twist on pop-culture.

Been to Tokyo in 1989 for a week in December. It was very nice over there during the winter. Would love to go there again if I get the chance.

What are your long-term goals? Do you have any specific future plans?

World domination, of course. I would like to explore motion graphics on the web. More of an entertainment based web site, like a tv, but on the web. I would like to create an environment in which you forget what medium you are using… where the medium ceases to become as important as the level of exploration and entertainment. I would like the viewer/user to “get lost” in the overall piece.

Text: Satoru Tanno

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