Friday Fives: Tina Snow Le

November 02, 2018

Every Friday we give #highfives to a different designer from our extended family of PNCA students, faculty, alumni, and guest lecturers. 🙌🙌🙌 We ask them five questions. They send us fiveimages. Tina Snow Le spoke on 11/7 at 7pm, as part of the Design Lecture Series presented by PNCA Graphic Design.

Follow the series @pncadesign.

A Girl Named Georges is a brand by Cecilia Doan created “For the ones with good taste and bad habits.” Tina designed the brand identity.

Q: What do you geek out about?

A: I learn best through visual demonstration, so I geek out when I get to experience a different world for a temporary time because it forces me to be present. Whether that be watching a Studio Ghibli movie, creating an installation, hosting friends over to share a meal, or wooing over the details of an Issey Miyake sweater, stepping into another world and experiencing another point of view is incredibly inspiring and motivating for me.

What feels vital to the future of design to me is the need to rethink archaic systems that don’t work for modern day society.

Tina Snow Le

Older Brother is an eco-concious clothing brand that plays on the idea of an older brother passing on his clothes to a younger sibling. Tina art directed the “Never Wander into the Dark Alone” lookbook to celebrate relationships and everyday interactions.

Q: How do you want to shape design?

A: I want to shape design by continuing to create work that’s not precious but essential, and have a great time doing it. I also want to continue to mentor younger creatives and keep carving a lane for first generation Asian-American artists.

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

A: What feels vital to the future of design to me is the need to rethink archaic systems that don’t work for modern day society. I’m interested in how design thinking can be applied to evolving the American incarceration system, teaching people the vernacular of energy and have an engaged relationship with how they use electricity, and how to develop better processes to support needs for mental health.

I also think it’s vital to continue to push expression, and to not let design get stagnant and homogenous, especially in the digital design and tech space.

Left: "Wild Women" illustrated pattern. Right: Tina collaborated with ceramic artist Sarah Coderre to create one-of-a-kind ashtrays, and curated 37 different female artists around the world to customize each ashtray to share their relationship with cannabis.

Q: What music (or podcasts) are you listening to, or what are you reading right now?

A: Lately I’ve been interested in chronological audio experiences, such as programmed radio shows, and full-length albums. Radio stations I love include Abstract Radio, and the new Anderson.Paak show on Apple Music, and old episodes of Tight Songs on Mixcloud. I love that Anderson.Paak’s show is live and feeds off of energy of various segments. The latest album I’ve been playing from front to back is NoName’s Room 25.

For podcasts, I gravitate to a mix of music, well-being, culture and design podcasts. My favorites are Dissect, Oprah SuperSoul Conversations, Bruce Lee, Good Life Project, Clever, and Still Processing.

For books, I’m usually keep 3-4 books on my bedside, and one in my bag. Right now I’m reading The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker, Seven Brief Lessons of Physics by Carlo Rovelli, The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen, and I'm revisiting Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

Tina created an installation that transformed a room a room at the Ace Hotel in Portland with handpainted wallpaper, social and retail collateral for brand A Girl Named Georges.

Q: What is your favorite trick for “keeping it all together”?

A: Every week, I make a list of everything I want and need to do in a document on Evernote called “Weekly Goals.” Then each evening, I pull out 3 things out of that list, with one that must be done the next day, and create a new document called “Daily Goals.” I keep my list to 3 things per day so it’s manageable and actionable. If my list is more than 3 things, I move tasks to another day in the week. At the end of every day, I then make a list of “Wins” for the day to stay focused on the positive, and plan out my list for the next day. By the end of the week, I usually get most of my weekly goals finished. I’ve been doing this since I got a severe concussion from a serious car accident three months ago, and it has actually been very effective post-recovery as well!

See Tina as part of the Design Lecture Series, presented by PNCA Graphic Design and Co-Sponsored by Fisk Projects. Poster by David Chathas.

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Tina Snow Le is an artist creating digital brand experiences, graphic language, and multi-media art inspired by stories of the under-represented. She is currently based in Portland, Oregon, working independently after a four-and-a-half-year stint as Associate Design Director at Instrument. In 2018, she launched Earth to Her, an ongoing project that challenges the visual culture of cannabis.

See more of Tina's work on her website,, or follow her on Instagram @tinasnowle.