1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.
I am Guan-Bai Chen, with a background in Industrial Design and a Bachelor's degree. I spent 7 years working as an industrial designer at a consumer hardware company.
Subsequently, I transitioned from physical product design to digital product design, earning my Master's degree in Interaction Design from Carnegie Mellon University. Currently, I serve as a product designer at TikTok in Los Angeles.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?
I find joy and appreciation in well-executed designs in various aspects of life.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.
I currently hold the position of Product Designer at TikTok, where my primary focus is on crafting innovative augmented reality (AR) products.
4What does “design” mean to you?
Design, to me, is the harmonious blend of utility and aesthetics—creating things that are both useful and beautiful.
5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?
MUJI! For its simplicity and high-quality design.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
Simple, intuitive, and feasible.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
Simple and intuitive to humans!
8Tell us about your design process.
My typical process commences with observation, followed by comprehensive market research, wire-framing, prototyping, user testing, peer review, and ultimately, the finalization stage.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
In my home country, we've seamlessly integrated technology into our lives, creating a harmonious coexistence. When I design, I instinctively turn to technology as a tool, envisioning it as a means to enhance and adapt to human experiences.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
This holds a special place in our hearts, motivating us to wholeheartedly embrace technology in our design process. It's not just about using it; it's about exploring the human touch and envisioning the endless potential that augmented reality (AR) technology can bring to our lives.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
We've observed a declining resonance with museums, particularly among the younger generations. Yet, museums play a vital role in preserving culture and fostering a sense of community. This has led our team to contemplate the possibility of utilizing technology to rekindle the connection between Generation Z and the rich cultural experiences museums offer.
12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
Unlike the familiar realms of mobile and desktop technologies, AR wearables are an uncharted territory, lacking established best practices. To truly unlock their potential, we delved into understanding how these devices could interact with people. Ensuring our project wasn't just a flight of fancy, we took the time to investigate the current limitations of AR wearables and anticipate what technological strides might occur in the next five years.
This initial phase of knowledge-building was crucial before we could wholeheartedly immerse ourselves in the design process.
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
I aspire for it to function as a platform that not only provides visibility to the world of design but also serves as an inspiration for more designers to become part of the AR community.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
Creativity, empathy and diversity.
15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
My country stands as a consumer hardware manufacturing hub, breathing life into physical product designs. Achieving perfection in the minutiae of a product demands that designers journey to my country, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies involved in bringing a product to fruition.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
Design is an ever-evolving force, expanding across realms such as architecture, transportation, and consumer hardware and software. Its essence lies in humanizing emerging trends and movements. Looking ahead, I envision design continuing this transformative role in the next decade, perhaps even delving into the realm of making artificial intelligence more humane.
17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Stay connected with the design community! Get inspired and get innovated!
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
Start side projects that truly interest you.
19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
I would bury my head in my Shiba Inu and took a deep breath! It's my source of my creativity.
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My parents. They have always encouraged me to pursue what interests me.
21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Stay humble. Stay foolish.
22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
Let's continue to make this world a better place with design!