Interview with Huiyu Wang from the United States

Students of the School of Visual Arts | MUSE Design Awards
Interview with Students from the School of Visual Arts | United States
July 4, 2024
Wan-Ting Lin | MUSE Creative Awards
Interview with Wan-Ting Lin from the United States
July 4, 2024

Huiyu Wang

Huiyu Wang, the CEO and lead product designer at FAT, is deeply involved in the creative processes of the company's apps. Their journey into the creative field was significantly influenced by their architectural studies at Penn State University.

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your creative background.
My name is Huiyu Wang, and I am the CEO and lead product designer at FAT, where I am deeply involved in the creative processes of our apps.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a creative?

My journey into the creative field was heavily influenced by my architectural studies at Penn State University. Architecture is profoundly creative, blending functional requirements with aesthetic vision, and this resonated deeply with me. It's a discipline that demands a synthesis of technical skill and imaginative thinking, which are essential in creating spaces that are not only functional but also inspiring.

This foundation made a seamless transition into digital product design particularly appealing. I was drawn to the ability to craft experiences that reach people on a personal level through their everyday interactions with technology. The prospect of using design to solve real-world problems, enhance usability, and bring joy and efficiency to people's lives fueled my passion.

Ultimately, choosing to become a creative was about harnessing my skills and interests to make a tangible impact. Design, much like architecture, has the power to shape experiences and interactions, and I was eager to explore how my contributions could improve the digital landscape.

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

My role in FAT blends overseeing the company with hands-on design work, ensuring that our applications are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. This involves guiding our design team through the conceptualization, user experience, and user interface design phases, constantly striving to innovate and refine our products.

Our flagship app, Handy, is a testament to this approach, providing a unique platform that enhances user interaction with creative and personalized mobile experiences.

4What does “creativity” mean to you?

To me, creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, and relationships to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, and interpretations. It is not merely the act of making something new, but the process of thinking differently and challenging the norm to solve problems in unique ways.

In the context of digital design, creativity involves envisioning user experiences that are not only functional but also emotionally resonant and aesthetically compelling. It means going beyond the obvious to explore possibilities that enhance how people interact with technology in their daily lives.

5To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?
To me, a creative idea or design is one that surprises and delights users, making them smile by transforming everyday interactions into memorable experiences. It combines innovation and attention to detail to create something not only beautiful and functional but also emotionally engaging. This means going beyond the expected to deliver designs that are genuinely enjoyable and enriching to the user's daily life.
6Tell us about your creative and/or design process.

My creative process begins by drawing inspiration from various fields unrelated to digital experiences, such as architecture, fine arts, toys, and everyday objects. This broad perspective enriches our brainstorming, helping us translate diverse ideas into unique app features.

We then sketch and prototype these concepts, refining them to ensure they enhance user interaction and aesthetics. This approach allows us to create distinctive and engaging apps, blending unconventional inspiration with functional digital design.

7What's your favorite part of the creative process and why?
My favorite part of the creative process is the initial brainstorming phase. This is where the magic begins!
8Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.

My creative style is centered around creating joy and engagement through simplicity and surprise. I aim for designs that are clean and intuitive, yet filled with elements that can delight and surprise users. This approach often involves playful interactions, unexpected animations, and a warm, inviting aesthetic that makes people smile.

The main characteristics of my style include a focus on user-centered design, where every element is crafted with the user's emotional experience in mind. I prioritize accessibility and ease of use but with a twist that transforms ordinary app interactions into enjoyable moments. This not only enhances usability but also deepens the user's connection to the app, making the digital experience a part of their happy daily routine.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your creativity process?

Yes, my Chinese heritage significantly influences my creative process, particularly in how I approach design aesthetics and user interactions. Chinese culture places a strong emphasis on harmony, balance, and community, values that I incorporate into my design philosophy to create more organic and user-friendly interfaces.

This cultural influence manifests in designs that favor smooth, natural interactions that feel intuitive rather than mechanical. I strive to create apps that are approachable and inviting, reducing the sense of distance between the technology and the user. This approach not only makes the apps more accessible but also fosters a friendly, inclusive environment that resonates well with users globally, drawing on principles that emphasize connection and ease.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2024 MUSE Creative Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Winning the 2024 MUSE Creative Awards is a tremendous honor for our team at FAT. It validates our commitment to innovative and emotionally resonant design, enhancing our credibility and visibility in the industry.

This recognition motivates us to continue pushing the boundaries of user experience and serves as a catalyst for future creative endeavors, inspiring our team to explore new ideas and refine our processes even further.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2024 MUSE Creative Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
The project we entered into the 2024 MUSE Creative Awards is our mobile app, Handy, a marketplace for phone themes designed by indie artists. Handy stands out because it transforms the user.
12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The biggest challenges with the Handy app project stemmed from two main areas: platform limitations and transaction flexibility. Firstly, designing for iOS posed significant constraints due to its limited customization options compared to Android. This required creative solutions to provide a meaningful customization experience within the strict framework set by Apple.

Secondly, the financial transactions involved in the app presented another layer of complexity. We needed to create a system that not only facilitated easy and flexible purchasing options for users but also ensured that artists were fairly compensated. Balancing the security and fluidity of real money transfers, while maintaining a simple and intuitive user interface, required meticulous planning and robust back-end development.

Addressing these challenges involved close collaboration with technical teams to innovate within the constraints and deliver a seamless and secure user experience that met the needs of both artists and buyers.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Winning in the MUSE Creative Award has significantly enhanced our practice at FAT and my career. It has boosted our reputation, opening new opportunities with potential clients and partners who value innovative design.

The recognition has also expanded my professional network and speaking engagements, affirming my leadership and creativity. For our team, it's been a major morale booster, motivating us to continue innovating and striving for excellence in our projects. This award has truly acted as a catalyst for growth and development in our field.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

Here are my top three favorite aspects of the mobile app design industry:

Innovation: The constant evolution of technology keeps the field dynamic and exciting, always offering new tools and possibilities for creative expression.

Impact: The ability to reach millions of users and significantly improve aspects of their daily lives through design is incredibly rewarding.

Community: There's a strong sense of community among designers and developers, fostering collaboration, sharing of ideas, and mutual support which enhances our collective growth and success.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?
China's uniqueness in the creative industry lies in its rich blend of ancient cultural heritage and rapid modernization. This combination provides a deep well of traditional inspiration alongside access to cutting-edge technologies, allowing for highly innovative and influential creative expressions that impact the global stage.
16Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?

Over the next 5-10 years, advancements in AI and technologies like Large Language Models (LLMs) will significantly impact the creative industry. These tools will make high-level design and content creation accessible to more people, lowering barriers to entry and fostering a surge in creativity and innovation.

As AI handles more technical tasks, the industry will see a shift in roles, with professionals leveraging these technologies to enhance, not replace, human creativity. This will lead to more collaboration and diversification in creative outputs.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

it's important to stay curious and continuously learn about new technologies and trends. Focus on building a strong portfolio that showcases your unique skills and creativity. Networking and collaboration are crucial, so make sure to engage with peers and attend industry events.

Remember, resilience is key; learn from rejection and feedback to improve your work. Finally, embrace technology and use the latest tools to enhance your creative output.

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?

To improve skills in the creative industry, explore educational courses in design and production, read books on design principles and creativity, and browse online design galleries for inspiration.

Attend networking events and workshops for hands-on experience and learning from professionals. Regular practice and feedback from peers or mentors are also vital for honing your abilities and pushing your creative limits. These resources will help you grow professionally and stay competitive in the field.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
I can flip my tongue sideways!
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?

Many people have inspired me throughout my life, but one person who stands out is my high school art teacher. He encouraged me to explore my creativity without fear of failure, fostering a sense of confidence and curiosity that has guided me throughout my career.

Their dedication to nurturing individuality and pushing boundaries left a lasting impact on my approach to design and innovation.

21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
My key to success is perseverance and a willingness to experiment. Success comes from learning and growing through both successes and setbacks. Keep trying, keep experimenting, and never lose sight of your passion and vision.
22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

I'd like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to share my insights and experiences. It's been a pleasure discussing our creative journey, and I hope that our conversation inspires others in their own pursuits.

Thank you for the engaging interview, and I look forward to seeing how creativity continues to evolve and shape our world.

Winning Entry

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Huiyu Wang

Huiyu Wang, the CEO and lead product designer at FAT, is deeply involved in the creative processes of the company's apps. Their journey into the creative field was significantly influenced by their architectural studies at Penn State University.

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