Interview: Du Haihang

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Name: Du Haihang

Where do you live: Shanghai, China

Known for: Interactive design, web experience and crafted pixels tackled by advanced web technologies.

Currently working as:
Semi-independent interactive artist on digital side-projects and initiative stuff, while working as creative partner at a leading digital agency in China.

When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area?
In college period, I partnered two peers to run local design business in Wuhan when I was totally fresh, I was just way intrigued in various design verticals. It was kinda amateurish but insanely passion driven at that time. Then the intention of deeper involvement with this medium pushed my pivotal move to Shanghai back in 2009. I thoroughly opened my arms to what I do and realized I was already in the curve afterwards.

If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
Geez, how could I give you only one single place… I prefer Nordic cities, like Stockholm, Copenhagen, I’m fond of all the art & design atmospheres there, and the cold tone of colors in sky and mountains. Los Angeles is an ideal city too, live in the California sunshine combined with movies, art, handmade coffee and foods. In fact, I feel very comfortable living in Shanghai as well.

How would you describe your creativity?
Sophisticated UX and perfect pixels always excite me. I design visuals and code them alive in subtle details. I always leverage technology integration and care interface animations very much throughout the whole creative process.

How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
Around 2008, I was in a pain turning myself from a purely visual designer to interactive designer by consistent learning of Flash Action Script. Flash was such a thing and it took over the whole interactive stage back to that time. That pain was my serious beginning.

What do you do at the moment?
I’m working on an agency website. Visuals were got done recently, it’s right in the process of archiving materials, and I’m thinking about some UX flows, then I’ll pass to coding phase.

A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
Know yourself well.

Tell us how it all started.
It started naturally since the day I jumped into graphic programming. It led me to see a more integrated horizon in digital sphere. I just followed it and never look back.

What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
Experience in my former international advertising agencies helped me to broaden my angles in creative business, strengthen idea prototyping skills, and I was fortunate to get to know dozens of true creative talents. On the other hand, those days also made me to know myself better: I’m not purely an idea person, but a hands-on designer/developer more, so I finally left that field focusing on interactive design.

What is your favorite film?
Too many to answer…, I almost watch two movies each week. I like Gus Van Sant’s work,e.g. Good Will Hunting, Milk. And the films with great photography will attract me too, for instance; The Grand Budapest Hotel – the art direction is out of world … to name but a few.

Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
My maternal grandpa. Just miss him a lot.

How do you like to spoil yourself?
If you mean rewinding or relaxing, I have perfect coffee-sunshine-gym Saturdays as regularly as I can. But spoiling myself, I want to quit everything, and go travel worldwide for a whole year, without any distraction.

What is luxury for you?
Time, no doubt.

What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
“I knew your work.” sort of. From strangers or someone I met with for the first time.

What do you fear most?
Lose motivations to many things.

What is a happy life to you?
A wonderful life should allow me to have enough time on sports, offer me a healthy yet slim figure. Most importantly, I can make decisions of every minute in daily life.

What does a regular day look like for you?
Wake up later than my alarm ringtones, then grab a taxi to office. After answering some emails in the morning, I will take 20-30 mins to judge daily website nominees at Awwwards. Catch up with some latest work worldwide through dozens of online platforms.Then go have lunch and coffees. Around 2:00 PM, I get back to work with another cup of flat white. I only call it a day when I feel today’s load is enough. It’s up to what project I’m working on, usually 8:00 at night.

Tell us about your dream project.
I had been working on it for a while, in some squeezed time, off and on. It’s about traditional film photography which I always have a passion for.

Who is your professional role model/inspiration?
It could be everyone and no one.

How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)?
I don’t have any academic design backgrounds, so I guess it’s hard to define a specific style. In terms of style, one thing in common is that I always would like to combine up-to-date web technologies into visual and graphical output.

Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
Family in general.

What inspires you?
Human beings, movies, music, food, novels, conversations, typeface, animations, graphics and whatever has appealing visuals, just like many others. No surprise here. Mostly I don’t push myself for inspiration, I enjoy the moment when it hits me.

A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
As speaking of books, I’m a big fan of Lawrence Block, I followed all of his Matthew Scudder series.

Connect with Haihang via LinkedIn
Visit his website
See his work at Behance

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