Jian Sun: Meeting Every Challenge

Founder of SunDesign

by Elizabeth Lavis


16 Jan 2023

Gold in Book Design 2021
“Strive for long-term relevance. Keep it real, and don’t let your ego influence design decisions.” 

Jian Sun, SunDesign’s founder, has a decorated resume and a passion for putting in the work. His skill and drive shape SunDesign’s mission; to help brands challenge the status quo in fresh ways and become iconic parts of the design landscape. 

Sun’s work ethic and creativity landed him on the 2008 Olympic Emblem Design Team, and he continues to impress clients thanks to a mix of talent, patience, and rising to the challenge. “I like to focus on design research,” Sun says. “I like what I do, even if it’s difficult, as long as the results bring a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.”


For Sun, the beauty of design lies in problem-solving and forming new ideas. “A good design is a new challenge every time,” he says. “I like the process of creation and creative thinking.”

Sun’s aptitude and love for design runs in the family. His father worked with mechanical design for the army, and his grandmother was a teacher and painter. Jian credits his cultural heritage also. “I come from China,” he says. “China has 5,000 years of culture which can bring a lot of inspiration to my designs.”

His creative family traditions and deep cultural roots are only one piece of the puzzle. Sun is a huge believer in hard work and stretching your limits. “Creativity means constantly analyzing and cataloging your environment,” he says. “This means working hard to create something real. I always say that if you’re not a little afraid of the process, it means that you are not working hard enough.”

For Sun and his team, proper research is crucial to developing a compelling, beautiful, and impactful design. “Creating something real requires careful review and understanding of what already or previously existed,” Jian says. 

This process is often in-depth and laborious, but Sun finds it absolutely necessary. “Cutting corners is never a solution, even if it allows you to achieve your goals in a short period of time,” he says. “Strive for long-term relevance. Keep it real, and don’t let your ego influence design decisions.” 

Sun can create streamlined, elegant work with a clear message by doing his due diligence and getting to the heart of how to make the design as robust as possible. “I have always been a minimalist,” he says. “It’s challenging to reduce something to its essence and still let it communicate.” 

Sun keeps his designs interesting by incorporating asymmetrical details into the work. “One thing you will never see in my work is symmetry unless the client corrects it,” he says. “I like things that are a bit unbalanced and the vitality and attention brought about by a slight incoordination of things.” 

Sun also has a passion for lifelong learning and a constant need to excel. “I am a person who likes to learn,” he says. “I like learning strengths from people around me and accepting client challenges. Doing this has changed my thinking logic and allowed me to try different points of view.”

While working hard is one of Jian Sun’s personal mandates, he understands the importance of work/life balance and takes regular holidays to offset the stressors that come with the job. He looks forward to more adventure, successes, and even failures. “Success is great,” Sun says, “but don’t be afraid of failure because it’s how you learn and grow.”

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