As a China-born Asian, who now lives in the United States; where in China, it has 56 ethnic groups; and in the United States, it is also a melting pot of cultures with people from every corner of the world. As a designer, I enjoy different styles and colors, and I appreciate the wonderful world of diversity.
As a teacher in a university, I always treat every student equally, no matter their gender, race, color of skin, appearance, religion, or any other factors. I will only evaluate a student’s academic score based on their performance and according to the curriculum.
When I was running my startup project, Gopackup, which was a platform for locals to provide unique experiences to travelers, and we had local experience providers from over 136 countries and over 2000 cities. I really enjoy the different culture, different life style, and different yet all amazing people in different corner of the world. My slogan for my company Gopackup was “beauty of differences”, and I even wrote the lyrics for the song myself, which become our company mission and what we stand for. Everyone still can listen to this song at this URL: https://soundcloud.com/tingbin-tang/go-gopackup Just as what is in the song, “Different color, different language, different culture, different food, different religion, different life style… Different, different, different; The world is beautiful because of differences.” … “Beauty of differences!”
Another design practice I have been doing throughout my professional career is to use my creativity to help minority groups. The Qifang web platform I design and operated before, helped many poor kids in rural area be able to receive P2P donation online. Not like any other charity organizations, Qifang do not take any cut from the transactions for operation cost, instead, I designed a charity game business model. For those who want to help the poor kids but without money to support them, they can simply play online charity games on Qifang to help the poor. How? For example, "Milk Factory" game sponsored by Mengniu. At that time, people in China do not trust local milk manufacturers, something that should not be added to the milk were found in some product brands. By playing this, the players will need to choose an avatar, then step by step producing a virtual milk. After a virtual milk is produced, the sponsor - Mengniu will actually donate a real bottle of milk to the poor kids in rural area. With this charity game, the players and public will find out, that Mengniu's manufacturing process is trustable; thus Mengniu rebuild their brand image; the web users helped the children without paying money but just playing game; Qifang received sponsor money from Mengniu; and most importantly, the kids received milk. So it is a four wins business model.
I had also worked with an NGO in Beijing, and designed a web platform for the blind and visual impaired people, to help them share audio online and make friends online. In order to design that platform, I had done a lot of research on how visual impaired and blind people can access online, at the end I designed a universal website, allow the blind to hear the website, and easily navigate the site with simple arrow keys and tab keys; for visual impaired my design allow them to read online with enlarged font or dynamic magnifier, or special color contrast.
In 2008, after the 2008 Great Sichuan earthquake, I have helped the local community, which was the Qiang minority group. The Qiang minority group have the traditional embroidery technique, but their pattern and products were too traditional that were out of fashion and could not sell for a good price. So I helped them redesigned their pattern for the embroidery product; and redesigned the embroidery product to better fit for modern people’s needs; hence helped them stand on their own feet after the earthquake disaster.
By redesigning the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Minorities, I am helping the local artist to redesign their branding, make their product to fit for modern life, help them out of poverty. One project I am working on right now, is helping Hua Yao minority in ShaoYang Hunan, China, to rebrand their natural dyeing technique, helping them design their products, including handbags, clothing, scarf, laptop bag and so on to be modernized to fit for the market; hence the local minorities can sell better, have more income and live better life.
Again, the world is beautiful because of the diversity, as a designer, a design educator, I have and I will continue to use my creativity and design skills to contribute to the diversified culture and wonderful world.