College for Creative Studies: Transportation Design
Lawrence Yeung bought his first fighting stick in 1992 for the summer release of Super Nintendo’s Street Fighter II. This year he won a Best of CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2009 award in the Best Gaming Accessory category for the official Street Fighter IV Tournament Fight Stick licensed by Capcom.
The release of the fighting sticks, fighting controller and accessory products coincided with the monumental game launch of Street Fighter IV on February 17, 2009, for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.
“I’ve always been a gamer,” said Yeung, an industrial designer for Mad Catz (San Diego), the leading third party video game accessory company in the global gaming market. “This project revived the exciting feeling of what it was like when people used to hang out at the arcades playing Street Fighter II quarter after quarter. One of the biggest lessons my career has taught me is: there’s no time to sleep on your great ideas.”
An advertisement for Rock Band II featured another of Yeung’s great ideas. He oversaw the design of guitars, drums and accessories for players looking to “rock out on the ultimate party game ever.” The instruments underwent a dual license approval process with MTV Harmonix and Fender Guitars. Development with these licensors gave Yeung the opportunity to design products with Fender Guitar's R&D workshop in Tennessee.
As the lead designer for Mad Catz, Yeung oversees the design of products coming out of the Mad Catz product development department. Some of the products he has designed include peripherals for console, hand-held hardware and soft good products such as gaming backpacks and fashion forward handheld cases. He works between the company’s offices in San Diego and Hong Kong and his Nintendo, Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation licensed products line the shelves at GameStop, Best Buy, Fry's, Walmart and Target.
“Mad Catz hired me in March 2006 for product preparation of the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii console launched in November 2006,” Yeung explained. “Typically video game consoles have a four year life cycle, so I was just in time for the big wave of these new generation consoles we all know today.
“I travel to the Hong Kong and Shenzhen offices of Mad Catz quarterly every year. I actually had to add pages to my passport for my last trip! The autumn Hong Kong Electronics Fair is coming up in October, and I’ll be there to see firsthand what's coming out of the consumer electronics factories.”
Some of Yeung’s responsibilities include brainstorming new product concepts, analyzing current market trends, strategizing for license/core products, daily free-hand sketching, traditional/digital rendering, orthographic drawing/product dimension specification, communication with factory engineers, ergonomic prototyping, color/finish selection and overall design approval.
“From ground up, I sketch/render, dimension orthographic drawings and spec all designs of the product in the exact development processes I was taught by faculty at CCS,” said Yeung. “Bryon Fitzpatrick, former chair of the industrial design department, guided me to successful design responsibilities. Milton Antonick and Sung Paik so gracefully taught me how to sketch/render. Sabrina Nelson admitted me into CCS and was the first influential faculty member I met; Cathy Karry helped me coordinate my summer internship and transition after graduation.
"Some day I would like to return to CCS and earn an MFA in Design.”
While Yeung was a student, he was selected to participate in an internship between CCS and the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). The experience challenged him to envision a vehicle that incorporated trendy, cutting-edge, innovative steel technologies with alternative fuels and appealed to a 2010 market of young automotive consumers.
“The AISI internship offered me the opportunity to work alongside a design team through solutions for a specific project theme,” Yeung said. “I learned industrial manufacturing processes from the AISI material specialists and how to design around the benefits and constraints of industry professionals. The final presentation was displayed at the 2004 Detroit Auto Show.”
In his spare time, Yeung enjoys gaming and Djing. He rides a Yamaha R6 motorcycle to work during the week, and on the weekend, he races his Porsche Cayman S on the track.