Friday Fives: Christine Shen

October 02, 2020

On Fridays we give #highfives to a different designer from our extended family of PNCA students, faculty, alumni, and guest lecturers. 🙌🏾🙌🏻🙌🏽 We ask them five questions, and show five images. This week we're talking with Christine Shen, a Portland-based freelance designer, who is joining us with colleague and friend Angie Bac for our Design Panel Series to talk more about their work and perspectives working creatively right now, on Tuesday October 6.

Christine has collaborated with Nike, Apple, FISK Projects, Wieden + Kennedy, Adidas, and more. The styles and visual elements from which she draws, including mixed digital and analogue or print bits, to motion and rendered graphics, show her versatility and adaptability based on each client. Collaged paper and computer-generated graphics, bold typography and color, resonate throughout her designs and allow her to flex work for multiple, distinct brands.

Graphic Design Department Head Kristin Rogers Brown spoke with Christine in September, 2020. Sam Garnett '22, Emery Bradlina '22, and Owen Simmons '22 provided the interview questions.

Q: What do you geek out about?

A: Recently I have become obsessed with researching direct-to-consumer brands. I get excited every time I see a targeted Instagram ad on my feed from a new brand I haven’t seen before. Even though they all look the same I’m a sucker for nice branding and packaging and also love online shopping a little too much.

Q: What podcasts are you listening to?

A: I listen to The Daily everyday to stay current on what’s going on in the world, but Reply All is the best podcast I’ve ever listened to. They talk about and look into internet and tech related issues and stories. Some of my favorite episodes to name a few: #102 Long Distance, #130 The Snapchat Thief, #158 The Case of the Missing Hit.

Christine Shen for JOON Magazine

Q: What feels vital to the future of design, to you?

A: Women! I still find more often than not that I’m either the only female and/or the only POC creative working on a project.

Q: What is your favorite trick for “keeping it all together”? (staying organized, managing your time)

A: Writing a list everyday. I always include a mix of everyday and work related tasks. Here’s today's list:

  • 11AM New project kickoff meeting
  • Nike – R2 updates
  • Research styling references
  • PNCA Friday Fives answers
  • Flea control for the pets
  • Water plants

That, and not checking my email on the weekend, no matter what. People can wait until Monday!

Graphic design is your passion but your whole world doesn’t have to revolve around it.

Christine Shen

Q: Is there anything you wish you had known just starting out, that you know now?

A: Graphic design is your passion but your whole world doesn’t have to revolve around it. Use up all your vacation days, spend time on other hobbies, leave work at 5PM, stop looking at Pinterest and for ‘fun’. You spend 40 hours of your week on Graphic Design so invest the rest of your time on yourself :)

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Follow along with our #fridayfives on instagram @pncadesign.

Hear more from Christine Shen and Angie Bac in conversation with students, colleagues, and faculty, in our Design Panel Series held over zoom and recorded on October 6, 2020, posted below. Co-hosted by PNCA Graphic Design and FISK.

Poster by FISK.

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See more from Christine at, or follow her on instagram @christinezshen.

Sam Garnett '22, Emery Bradlina '22, and Owen Simmons '22 provided questions for this feature. FISK designed the poster. All other images courtesy of Christine.