Xinyi Liu

Good in Jewelry Design.

About Xinyi Liu

Xinyi Liu, graduated from Fashion Institute of Technology, majored in jewelry design. Worked as a freelance jewelry designer in Manhattan after graduate, now working on her own brand called WiiiM based in Chengdu, China. Xinyi gets her design inspiration from the nature as well as the city view, transforms her idea of the world into her design pieces.

  • Winner of Jewelry Design Award.
  • Specialized in Jewelry Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Jewelry
Moonshine Jewelry

Moonshine Jewelry

Jewelry Design

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Interview with Xinyi Liu

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I graduated from Fashion Institute of Technology jewelry design major. But I actually started my jewelry career in 2011. I was selling handmade jewelry online, basically some cold connection and wired jewelry, all handmade by me. And then I realized I wanted to become a jewelry professional so I stopped the business for a while and went to New York for school.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
The name of WiiiM studio came out from the word whim because I had a professor said I always have some whimsical designs and I liked it. It is a small studio and I am only selling my jewelry online so far.
What is "design" for you?
Design is something not only about functions, but also about beauty. A good design must be well functioned and beautiful.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
For me, I only design jewelry. And somehow in all the jewelry categories, rings are my favorites. It is very small item but I can have a lot to play with.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
My most favorite design hasn't come out yet because I always have new concept new ideas and I always feel next one will be better, never get 100% satisfied. But if I have to choose, I really love a project I made in school called Curiosity. It is a tea bowl made with silversmithing technique. I liked it not only I like silversmithing but also it was not easy to make, and I don't know if I'll have chance or energy to make another one, so it contains a lot of memory.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
It was a single diamond ring. The diamond was from my father's old ring, he stopped wearing years ago so I took it and redesigned a ring for myself. Now it is also sold in my store.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I love a lot of traditional techniques such as silversmith because I love how it can form the metal and also apply different textures.
When do you feel the most creative?
When I am on the road, especially in a foreign country. The cultural differences inspire me a lot. I can have a lot of doodles on the road and then when I get home I will transform them into technical drawings. That's why
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
I focus more on the concept and the story of the design. Of course I do care about the functions it has to be wearable, but a story is the soul of the theme.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
Sometimes happy sometimes frustrated, it's all vary. But I definitely feel excited when I accomplished a new design.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Excitement. I haven't had many chance to experience that situation so far, but it happened once or twice and it was a very exciting moment.
What makes a design successful?
People's appreciation. When I design I tend to design things that I like, but maybe they will not be meeting most people's expectation. And when the minority said they love it, then it's a success to me. As long as someone appreciates it, even just one person.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
For many industry, designers are making things better with the functions and also better look on the outside. I cannot picture a world without good designers.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
My inspiration mostly comes from the nature and architectures. And also animations. I love artists like Miyazaki Hayao, the world he created in his film inspired me a lot. And also traveling helps me to feed my creativity, especially different countries and cultures inspire me a lot.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
My designs are tend to be a little bit minimalism and also whimsical. When I started to design new things, I always make sure this is the things that I would like to wear. I believe to please your customers you have to please yourself first.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live in Chengdu, China. Before I lived in New York and Beijing. It feels most comfortable and less stressful to leave in my hometown, so I will have more freedom and less pressure to make new designs. But my city is not as developed as Beijing and New York, so sometime I get a little bored with the environment, that's why traveling helps.
How do you work with companies?
I have worked with a few companies as freelancer or contractor. It is very different from working for my own. First I have to make sure I can meet the company's requirements. It is more of a teamwork. But I also get to learn a lot.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
A company should always know their needs on design, so when they look for designers they can search for the match and also it will be more efficient when it comes to work.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
Normally I have a concept first, it could be anything comes into my mind. Then I go online search for references, also to check the possibilities. Then I start to sketch until I am satisfied with the forms. The final sketch or mechanical drawings go to factory.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
I do appreciate AirPods, my BOSE speaker, Dyson vacuum, the LED make up mirror, and also MUJI humidifier.
Can you describe a day in your life?
Recently I've been thinking the day of my commencement. Maybe because it's graduating season now. I remembered we were all excited about being graduates. I was also a little scared about the future, school was like my shelter, a safe place to be, but I was gonna go off on my own. Meanwhile I was also excited to see what was next.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
It is not a very easy job, definitely not the best job in the world. But if you have the desire to become a designer and also have the talent, it's worth a shot.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
Positive side to me is I am doing what I like, even it can be tough sometimes I still enjoy very much, and sometimes it can be very free. But it is also very time consuming, not as glamorous as it looks like.
What is your "golden rule" in design?
If I'm not satisfied with what I have done, then just redo it. I'm a perfectionist.
What skills are most important for a designer?
To me it's mechanical drafting. I didn't realize how important it is for a jewelry designer when I actually started working for people, it helps clients to understand your idea and also the factory can just take the drawing and starts to build.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
Mechanical pencil and eraser. Gemstones templates and compass. Photoshop, Pinterest and Instagram.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
Yes it is very true. I always try to be efficient with my work. When I got stuck with an idea and couldn't move further I choose to just take a break to refresh my mind.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
It depends. A handcraft work can take from a few weeks up to months to finish. Regular commercial project take a few days to design and a few weeks to finish.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
Is it fun to be a designer? The answer is yes. Of course there was time when the work became difficult, but overall I know I'm doing the things I love.
What was your most important job experience?
I have been as a salesperson for an international jewelry company once in New York. Although it was not a designer position, I did gain a lot of experience of how to communicate to clients and how to meet their needs. It was very helpful. As a designer, you first need to listen and understand your customer.
Who are some of your clients?
Clients are most from online but I also have some private clients who were introduced by friends and they tend to make custom orders.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I am still building up my business in China, hopefully I can expand from online to more other options like buyer's shops.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
I develop the designs myself, but I would like to build a team later when the business is bigger. Working with different people and having different thoughts is a fun thing.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
Currently I am working on my new collections. It is a collection of geometrical forms of jewelry.
How can people contact you?
For any inquiries they can contact me through my email

Extended Interview with Xinyi Liu

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I graduated from Fashion Institute of Technology jewelry design major. But I actually started my jewelry career in 2011. I was selling handmade jewelry online, basically some cold connection and wired jewelry, all handmade by me. And then I realized I wanted to become a jewelry professional so I stopped the business for a while and went to New York for school.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I've always wanted to do something more creative, and a designer is the right fit.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
I chose to start my jewelry business and chose to go to school all because I wanted to be a jewelry designer.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I design jewelry. But in the future if I have a chance, I want to try toy design.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
A good designer is serving for the clients or maybe her or himself. A great designer will have tribute to the world or the society. Like Leon Ming Pei, he was a great designer.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
A really good design to me would be something I enjoy wearing and also loved by the clients.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
A good design is not only has its beauty but also to make the world better.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I would design a ring for my mom. She hasn't been wearing any ring since many years ago, I would like to design an emerald ring for her.
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
My inspirations are mostly from nature and architectures. I do respect architects like Leon Ming Pei and Zaha Hadid, and also some great illustrators on instagram.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
I love some jewelry that Maurice Galli did for Harry Winston. He was a great designer and it was a great honor to be his students.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
I've always wanted to be a writer when I was a teenager. It is also a job that creates things. Writers create stories and I create jewelry.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
My next project is my new collection. It is a collection of geometrical forms of jewelry.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
I want to expand my business and invest and help more jewelry designers.
What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
My clients always come to me because they trust me. They can expect me being responsible and also making them satisfied.
How does design help create a better society?
A lot of things we have now only has their functions, people don't consider how they look like, but designers can change that.
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
My new collection. It's going to be very different from what I have done before.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
A ring I designed. I used a diamond from my father's ring and redesigned, it was simple, but I applied special texture on that so it looked very unique. I wear it everyday.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
Depends on the project, some take weeks and some can take up to months.
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
Unfortunately jewelry is related to fashion industry, so it gets affected by the trend a lot. But there are some traditional jewelry styles are classic.
What is the role of technology when you design?
Mechanical drafting. I couldn't know if a design is doable until I finish mechanical drawing.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
In my work, I use a lot of gemstones. The natural colors are essential.
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
How did this designer come up with this idea? I want to meet him/her!
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I haven't done co-design yet but I would like to try. I don't know if I'll believe till I tried.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Yellow and green. Thailand and Japan. Summer. Things are too many, my backpack, laced-up shoed and so on. Also there are too many good brands to share with such as MUJI, Diptyque.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
I talk to customers a lot. Good comments on my design would make my day.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
I don't know if it was obvious but I remember doing handmade things such as embroideries with my grandma and I just loved it.

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