Meet the Top Draw Team: Mark Yiu

How long have you been with Top Draw?

3 years and some (I think)… time flies.

What has been your favorite project to date?

Being diplomatic, I’m going to say that it’s tough to pick one in particular. Every project comes with its own set of unique challenges, stakeholders and requirements. As a result, every project has distinct  memories for me. I will say that the projects with more complexity, problem-solving and design-thinking typically result in being classified a ‘favorite’.

What do you like best about working here?

It’s kind of a cliche but it’s the people. We have a fantastic group here. Some people have ‘work-wives’ or ‘work-husbands’. I like to think I have a ‘work-family’.

How or why did you work your way into this career?

I originally entered the University of Alberta with the intention of completing a general Bachelor of Arts degree. Through my meandering, I was introduced to the Bachelor of Design program. The classes, products and visuals really excited me so I applied with a terrible and embarrassing portfolio. Not surprisingly, I was denied. After taking some fine art classes deemed a ‘portfolio builder’, I re-applied and was admitted.

I then chose to pursue a specialization in Printmaking. After a few classes, I decided it wasn’t for me, so I switched to Industrial Design. Being a lover of all things shiny and beautiful, I thought this was more up my alley. Unfortunately, I don’t work well in the third dimension. So I switched again to Visual Communication and Graphic Design. It was in this program that I discovered an affinity, passion and ultimately, a career.

Did you have any interesting jobs as a kid?

Throughout my university degree, I worked for a friend of mine who specialized in window display design and visual merchandising. This often involved making vinyl signage, mannequin styling, and carving huge stage props out of 4x4x4 blocks of high density Styrofoam. Two of my favorites included carving and hand-painting a series of animals for the Telus World of Science and building a life-size replica of the bridge of the Starship Enterprise for a bingo hall.

Any crazy items on your bucket list?

I don’t really believe in bucket lists. I believe everything happens for a reason. Because of that belief, my list is always fluid and short-term which makes things attainable. But if I were really pressed for an answer, I’d say:

1) Go bow hunting for wild boar or moose;

2) Write a novel.

Have a quick design or usability tip to share?

For me, usability is about making content accessible. You really have to study the content in order to communicate it effectively. Only then can you make decisions about what is useful to the audience and let it inform your designs. When you don’t consider content, you are no long designing. You are merely decorating.

Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about our Director of Design & Usability, Mark Yiu. We think he’s pretty awesome. Check back each month to ‘meet’ another member of the Top Draw team!

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