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Interview with Jing Qiao – Assoc. Designer at Substantial

Born in an old city in China, Jing Qiao, graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Southern California. She spent the past few years immersing herself in various cultures from China, Scotland, Germany, Japan and the USA. Technology allowed Jing to make friendships and connections with people all around the world.  As a product designer with a cognitive science background, Jing loves understanding how people live, their interests, their culture, and their needs. She collect these insights to create solutions that can be shared with her team –  through visual design, research, and emerging technology. Jing wants to be on the cutting edge of technology and create new opportunities for this world.

Question (Q) EMERGE in design is…
Jing Qiao (JQ): To me, EMERGE is expressing your unique culture, point of view, and values within a dynamic environment. 

Q: How does design influence EMERGEnt ideas?
JQ: Design influences emergent ideas through non-linear and iterative processes. A designer connects the dots in between user needs and ideas. I always structure the basic principles ahead, but stay open to emergent ideas that surface through the iterative processes. Design is like the recipe to inform you as new emergent ideas come out, and then you reframe to build something new.

Q: How are you EMERGing in your work?
JQ: I am emerging in my work as a futuristic thinker. I love envisioning the work in a way that can scale up to the future market and needs. I produce work with speculative design thinking across multiple scopes of needs.

Q: Who or what inspires you?
JQ: I am inspired by my coworker, Kory, who is one of Substantial’s Senior Engagement Managers. When I work toward a design process, he always inspires me to think outside the box. He provides another perspective from strategy and business goals, which help me understand who for and why I am designing. I enjoy his momentum to help me do retrospectives during the design process. I learned and grew as a designer from talking to him and being supported along the way. 

Q: My favorite thing about my city is…
JQ: The city where I am from, Yangzhou, is an old city with 2500 years of history. It is full of cultures and histories of global trades and religious cultures. It rains there a lot, and it turns into a beautiful city in the rainy season. Seattle reminds me of my hometown not only because of the weather, but also because of the various paths that welcome people to share and build upon it together. People in the city are open to any emerging cultures.

Q: What design object or story most strongly influenced your interest in design?
JQ: One of the design experiences I did in Germany was to conduct a fashion study on the Berlin street cultures. I was following the generic paths on the street and local neighbors by taking street photographs. But I failed and learned that if I am as standardized as other people, I will only see the surface. As a designer, I need to create meaningful values – and I only will if I immerse myself into the real insiders. I started to dress up like young people, and visited hidden corners and shops to talk with them. It really influenced my design work, in that I realized a designer is not just making things to be the same  – but rather really shaping the ways of working through uncovering unique viewpoints.

Video links to Jing’s work here and here


Check our Jing’s website here or follow her on Instagram.