Interview with Di Lu from United States

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Di Lu

Di Lu, the principal of Zai Nong Design Studio, is a staunch advocate for the unwavering pursuit of artistic and design brilliance. With a profound commitment to making a lasting impact on the industry, she strives to use her designs as a medium to elevate and enrich the aesthetic essence of the world.

Interview with the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards Winner -
Di Lu

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your creative background.

My name is Di Lu. I hold Master's degrees in art from both the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of Southern California which have given me a distinct and unique foundation in the design realm. In 2020, I had the privilege of joining the visual team in Beijing to which my work was honored, marking a significant milestone in my design journey.

The year 2021 witnessed another notable achievement as I assumed the role of the primary visual designer in Suzhou. The main visual poster I crafted not only garnered acclaim and this recognition underscored my remarkable talent and prowess in the field of design.

In 2022, driven by my unwavering passion and dedication to design, I founded the "Zai Nong Design Studio" and took on the role of its principal. Going beyond traditional design boundaries, I embarked on a collaboration with the Sanlitun Chunfeng Xixi Bookstore, where we launched a pop-up store. This innovative concept aimed to utilize books as a medium to foster meaningful connections among people.

Fast forward to 2023, I once again received an invitation to participate in a design festival in Beijing. Only this time, I assumed the lead in designing the entire visual system for the festival, reaffirming my exceptional skills in the field of design.

In essence, I am a dedicated advocate for the relentless pursuit of artistic and design excellence. I am committed to making meaningful contributions to the industry and using my designs to enhance the beauty of the world.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a creative?

My journey into the realm of creativity has been ignited by an inherent passion for art and an unwavering belief in the transformative power of design. From a young age, I found myself spellbound by the capacity of design to mold experiences, evoke emotions and alter perspectives. The ability to visually weave stories and convey ideas held a profound fascination for me.

My educational pursuits at the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of Southern California only deepened my dedication to this craft. Each accolade I earned served as more than just a recognition of my skills; it was a reaffirmation of my decision to immerse myself in the world of design.

The ever-evolving landscape of design both challenges and inspires me on a daily basis, propelling me to seek artistic innovation relentlessly. Above all, I firmly believe that being a creative is not merely about personal expression; it's a commitment to utilizing one's talents to create a positive impact, bringing people together and enhancing the beauty of the world we inhabit.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

In 2022, I embarked on the journey of establishing "InProcesssDesign Studio," a manifestation of my deep passion for design and my aspiration to craft meaningful visual stories. As the principal of the studio, I assume the responsibility of steering and shaping our creative direction, ensuring that our designs stay at the forefront of innovation, relevance, and impact.

Our portfolio spans a wide spectrum, ranging from crafting comprehensive visual systems for prominent design festivals to engaging in more intimate projects, such as collaborations with bookstores to cultivate connections within communities. My ultimate aim is to consistently push the boundaries of design, giving rise to creations that transcend mere aesthetics. These works are intended to resonate profoundly with audiences, instigating engagement and nurturing mutual understanding.

4What does “creativity” mean to you?

Creativity is the unreserved expression of one's innermost thoughts, emotions, and viewpoints, channeled through a medium that can be shared with the world. It represents the capacity to perceive beyond the surface, to uncover connections where none may seem evident, and to breathe life into concepts that elicit emotions, stimulate contemplation, and catalyze transformation.

Creativity transcends the act of merely producing something novel; it's about presenting a novel viewpoint, narrating an untold story, or illuminating a hitherto disregarded facet of the world.

5To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?

In my opinion, a genuinely creative idea or design is one that seamlessly blends form and function, marrying beauty with purpose. It should have the ability to not only captivate the eye but also engage the heart and intellect.

A creative design communicates in a universal tongue, transcending cultural and linguistic boundaries, striking a chord with a wide array of audiences. It is inherently innovative, pushing the limits of what has been previously achieved and it offers a new and refreshing perspective.

Most importantly, a creative idea or design possesses the capacity to stir emotions, provoke contemplation, and ignite dialogues, leaving an enduring impression on its viewers.

6Tell us about your creative and/or design process.
Within our team, our creative process consistently commences with thorough research and an in-depth grasp of the project's core essence. Drawing inspiration from the surrounding environment, historical context, and contemporary dynamics, we endeavor to synthesize these diverse elements into a unified visual narrative. Every design we craft stands as a testament to this methodical approach, characterized by a meticulous focus on detail to ensure the message is authentically and powerfully conveyed.
7What's your favorite part of the creative process and why?
My favorite stage of the creative process is undoubtedly the conceptualization phase. It's that electrifying moment when ideas start to materialize, fueled by influences from history, culture and personal experiences. During this stage, creativity blooms at its fullest, enabling us to break free from constraints and conceive designs that are truly transformative.
8Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.
My design style gravitates towards a harmonious fusion of historical echoes and contemporary vibrancy. I frequently incorporate intricate geometric patterns that seamlessly interweave urban elements with cultural symbolism. This amalgamation creates visually captivating compositions that encapsulate both a sense of movement and cultural significance.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your creativity process?
Absolutely, the rich tapestry of our cultural heritage serves as an endless wellspring of inspiration. The subtle interplay between history and modernity in our environment has a profound impact on our designs, infusing them with depth and authenticity.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
Thank you! Winning the MUSE Creative Awards stands as a profound validation of our unwavering commitment, boundless passion, and tireless quest for excellence. For InProcess Design Studio, it is a resounding testament to our shared creativity and innovation, serving as a catalyst that propels us to push the boundaries of our craft persistently.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

Our submission for the MUSE Creative Awards centered around the main visual for Suzhou Design Week in 2021. This intricate design exemplified the seamless merging of urban renewal principles with design aesthetics, drawing rich inspiration from Suzhou's architectural treasures and bustling streets.

The design embodied the essence of urban revitalization, vibrancy, and the ethos of innovation. We selected this project because it powerfully showcased our ability to narrate a compelling story through the medium of design.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The challenge we confronted was to delicately strike a balance between encapsulating Suzhou's profound historical legacy and its vibrant contemporary dynamism. It was imperative that the design resonated with the city's rich past while also serving as a symbol of its forward-looking ethos.
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
The acknowledgment received from the MUSE Creative Awards has added an extra layer of credibility to our standing within the industry. It has paved the way for exciting collaborations and projects that provide us with opportunities to demonstrate our adaptability and ingenuity even more effectively.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
The constant evolution of our field, the capacity to narrate stories through visual elements, and the crossroads of culture, history, and contemporary design are the driving forces that continually inspire and invigorate our creative journey.
15Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?
I envision a future where we adopt a more integrated approach, seamlessly merging the virtual and physical realms. There will be a heightened focus on sustainability and the creation of inclusive designs that cater to diverse audiences. Additionally, storytelling will take on an even greater significance, with narratives that transcend cultural boundaries and connect with people on a global scale.
16If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Stay steadfast in your authentic creative voice, remain committed to a journey of perpetual learning and adaptation, and consistently strive to narrate genuine and compelling stories through your designs.
17What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?
Participate in design workshops, actively take part in international design forums and exhibitions, and dive into design journals and books that offer a wide array of global design perspectives. Such engagement will nurture your creativity and expand your horizons in the field of design.
18Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
In the early stages of my design journey, I experienced moments of doubt, but a serendipitous project reignited my passion, and from that point onward, I have never wavered in my commitment to this path.
19Who has inspired you in your life and why?
The city of Suzhou, with its splendid historical legacy and vibrant contemporary energy, has been an immense wellspring of inspiration for me. It represents the flawless fusion of the past and the future, serving as a guiding beacon for my design philosophy.
20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Persistence, ongoing learning, and unwavering authenticity to your vision are the keys to success in the world of design. My advice: Allow your designs to emanate from the depths of your heart, and they will naturally resonate with audiences on a universal level.

Winning Entry

2021 Suzhou International Design Week | 2023

The focal point of Suzhou Design Week 2021 lies in its meticulously crafted main visual, a testament to the ...
(Read more at MUSE Creative Awards)

Di Lu

Di Lu, the principal of Zai Nong Design Studio, is a staunch advocate for the unwavering pursuit of artistic and design brilliance. With a profound commitment to making a lasting impact on the industry, she strives to use her designs as a medium to elevate and enrich the aesthetic essence of the world.

Read more about this interview with Beth Cooper from the United States, the Gold Winner of the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards.