We spoke on 31st March 2021
Hey Cassie, first of all, how are you?
Hey Morgan, thanks for having me on. I’m doing well, thank you. Right now, I’m trying to finish up some university work which I’ve found difficult to get done during this time. Recently I’ve felt a lack of motivation to do anything, but I guess that’s what we need to deal with right now during the pandemic.
For those that do not know who is Cassie Lien?
I am a second-year graphic design student at the University of Leeds. I’m Taiwanese and grew up mostly in Taiwan but spent my last four years of high school in Berlin. I’m currently interested in lettering, illustrative typography, apparel design and brand design.
I would like to talk about Leeds Rag Fashion Show, tell me more about this.
Leeds RAG Fashion Show is a society and one of the biggest annual charity events at my university union. The show helps to raise money for charities, celebrate creativity, diversity, individuality and beauty. I volunteered to be their Head of Graphic Design for 2021. The idea of taking part was very daunting at the time since I just finished my first year and was relatively new to the graphic design world. However, I wanted to challenge myself so badly that I just bit the bullet and applied for the role. It was worth it! As their graphic designer, I designed a new brand identity for the theme of 2021, ‘revive’. Unfortunately, this year’s fashion show is very different due to the pandemic. Instead of having a runway show, we will be holding a virtual live stream in June instead.
The first time I heard about you was from the takeover on Fuse, I’d love to hear about this experience from your perspective.
To be completely transparent, I experienced extreme imposter syndrome when they asked if I wanted to be highlighted on their feed. I usually do not like to showcase my achievements. I was like, “My work is not good enough to be worth sharing” However, after the experience, I learned that it is important to put yourself out there as a creative because networking and getting exposure is the only way that people will know you. The fact that you brought me on through Fuse is a perfect example of how getting exposure is key.
Like me you are a second-year student, what advice would you give to anyone looking to study for an art degree?
I would say prepare yourself for creative blocks and self-doubt, but the most important thing is to relax, have fun and surround yourself with creative people that inspire you. Art is supposed to be fun and exciting!! Also, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and make mistakes.
What got you into the design, is it something you’ve always been interested in? Leading from this, what are your favourite parts of the design?
I liked drawing as a kid and took IB Visual Arts as a subject in high school. However, I wanted to create practical work, so I was drawn to graphic design. Honestly, I started university unsure if I would like the graphic design degree, but I ended up loving it and I don’t think I can imagine myself studying any other degree.
My favourite part of the design is that there is no right or wrong and everyone can portray their versions of designs. I like seeing how creativity is used in public on murals, posters, packaging and T-shirts to visualise messages. I like the idea of how ‘making things pretty' can help so many people e.g., companies, charities, and individuals.
You studied at Berlin International School, how does this compare to studying in England?
I’m not sure if I can compare the two since university life is very different to life in high school. However, I can say that my experience in Leeds has been amazing. I prefer university much more because I get to meet more people from different backgrounds. I am so grateful that I found my own circle of friends very early on in my first year. I also like Leeds
because the city is like a student community. Being able to speak English instead of German off-campus has also been a plus for me.
I noticed you created your own podcast, Better Late Than Never. Tell me more about this. How did this come about?
Better Late Than Never is a passion project I’ve been working on with two friends/flatmates, Alice and Tanya, alongside uni. As three introverted design students, we hope to challenge ourselves by running our own podcast. Together we created a brand identity that expresses the idea that it’s better late than never to start a conversation with someone.
The idea started when I was listening to a bunch of podcasts at the start of the pandemic. I found comfort from listening to people talk, as I found their stories relatable. Besides that, I also learned a lot, as it opened me to different perspectives. When university started and my flatmates returned, we tend to have deep conversations late at night. I joked about having our own podcast, but after considering the tools we had as three design students, we realised that each one of us had something unique to offer. That was when we decided to run with the idea.
The topics of our podcast range from personal stories to exploring creativity. We also invite all kinds of young and emerging creatives like us to chat with us. If you are interested or would like to chat with us, you are welcome to explore more @betterlatepodcast to join us in our journey on figuring out our lives together as creatives :)
For my final question, what is next for Cassie Lien?
This is a very difficult question because I have no idea what is to come in the future. I do have dreams that I would like to happen, but I think what I want to do next is to hone my design skills in preparation for the future. I hope that I can work on more personal projects, practice illustration and lettering. There are many things I would love to do, and I can see myself working in different fields. After I graduate, I plan to and hope to work in the UK.