Interview with Jason Yuan: How to persevere after rejection as a designer

5 days ago from , Digital designer

Hi guys,

Jan from Case Study Club here. Just kicked off an interview series with the designers/authors of some of the most interesting case studies. To go even more in-depth and to learn more about their process behind their work.

First out is Jason Yuan, the author of "I Got Rejected by Apple Music… So I Redesigned It". A fascinating story about perseverance!

Read the full interview here

Hope you like it. Let me know what you think :)


  • Ariel VerberAriel Verber, 2 days ago

    Am I the only one who thinks this approach of 'I got rejected so I showed them how good I am!' is pretty lame? I can see it worked for him, his story succeeded and he scored the internship later, great. But I think redesigning an entire product currently used by hundreds of millions with 'cool ideas' and UI tweaks, without first breaking down the current problems + backing it up with data or interviews, and without having the entire team involved - from PMs to dev or the rest of the design team, is exactly the dribbblisation of design. Making pretty and cool things that are not connected to the real world.

    7 points
    • jules cheung, 1 day ago

      Ambition and self-motivation aren't qualities that can be easily taught, while design skills arguably can. I think it's smart on his end and a good showcase for his potential as opposed to taking his designs seriously.

      4 points
    • Brandon ZellBrandon Zell, 1 day ago

      Comparing Jason's Apple Music redesign to the dribbblisation of design doesn't seem right. Two of the characteristics described in that Intercom article are: 1) Not articulating the problem being solved , and 2) having flat PNGs with no animations. Those are two things that I thought Jason did quite well in his redesign.

      So a question for you: What do you feel Jason should have done after being repeatedly rejected by the companies he applied to? I'm sure he would have worked with the whole team and used data to analyze things, etc. I agree that would have made for a better redesign, but he didn't have access to that information or those people.

      As a designer trying to get hired, what do you think Jason should have done differently, or instead of the redesign?

      1 point
      • Ariel VerberAriel Verber, 1 day ago
        1. He mentioned his qualitative research a few time but never talks about how it was actually conducted.

        2. He never talks about the entire information architecture of the app (which IMO should be the first thing to think about when redesigning or conducting research). Is it good enough as is?

        3. His user personas of Nomads vs. Hoarders is interesting and cool, but are these the actual personas apple music sees? Also - they're not being addressed when he talks about the rest of the features.

        0 points
        • Brandon ZellBrandon Zell, 1 day ago
          1. Alright, this seems minor... He conducted qualitative research, but didn't explain how.

          2. Seems like a valid critique to his approach.

          3. How is he supposed to know which personas Apple Music actually sees? Isn't that a fair constraint as a non-employee? Good point about using the personas throughout, in regards to all the features.

          Back to the question of "What should Jason have done?": Are you saying Jason just needed to improve his approach to the Apple Music redesign, or is there something else you think he should have done to start getting his applications accepted?

          0 points
          • Ariel VerberAriel Verber, 23 hours ago

            oh, sorry. i thought your question was what should he have done differently as part of the redesign. in my opinion, redesigning the project of the company who rejected you and sharing it with the world is disrespectful. it harms the company as well, the 8K applauses he got are basically 8K people saying his version of the app is better, and apple made a mistake.

            instead of the redesign, i would just release a general case study, with no names, or redesign a different company, which i have no relation with.

            0 points
            • Brandon ZellBrandon Zell, 23 hours ago

              Ah, my bad too. I see what you're saying now. You're main gripe with Jason's project is how it was couched in relation to his recent rejection by Apple. Yes, I'd agree that's a disrespectful way to present a project. I think it was partly click-bait because he applied to, and was rejected by, many companies, one of which was Apple.

              Thanks for the discussion Ariel. I appreciate it.

              1 point
            • barry saundersbarry saunders, 6 hours ago

              They gave him an internship based on the redesign, clearly they didn't perceive it as disrespectful.

              1 point
              • Ariel VerberAriel Verber, 2 hours ago

                A different team in Apple accepted him (Marcom), so you can't really tell what the apple music team was thinking. I'm sure he's very talented nevertheless.

                0 points
    • barry saundersbarry saunders, 2 days ago

      In his case study he did user interviews and developed a solid rationale for his decisions. That's a step above what most dribbblers do, and frankly a step above what a lot of design agencies would do too. Sure, he didn't have the PMs or devs involved, but you shouldn't necessarily constrain the solution space at that stage anyway.

      2 points
    • , 1 day ago

      I'm glad you brought this up, and I agree with parts of what you're saying. Generally speaking, unsolicited case studies aren't as good as the real deal.

      However, in this case, I think Jason nailed it. He got exactly what he wanted!

      0 points