Interview with Qingyi Li from the United States

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Interview with Yang Zhou from the United States
June 27, 2024
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Interview with Masahiro Okumura from Japan
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Qingyi Li

Qingyi Li is an Experience/Interaction Designer based in New York City. Currently, she is working on innovative projects at Google, such as a next-generation design system and an AI-powered climate risk assessment tool. Her previous experiences at Tencent, OnePlus, and Kohler has given her a deep understanding of the field.

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

I'm Qingyi Li, a Experience/Interaction Designer based in New York City. I'm currently working on innovative projects at Google, including a next-generation design system and an AI-powered climate risk assessment tool. My previous experiences at Tencent, OnePlus, and Kohler provided me with deep understanding of the field.

In addition to my work at Google, I enjoy collaborating with Big House Studio on side projects like Mok Collectibles and Stars Collective, where I leverage my design expertise to enhance user experience and interaction for creative communities. One of my key strengths lies in transforming complex information into practical and effective digital solutions. I'm passionate about creating user-centered experiences that make a difference.

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

I became a creative/designer because I'm genuinely passionate about the power/potential it has to make a real difference in how people experience their everyday life.

What hooked me was that moment when a complex problem gets transformed into a solution that's not just functional, but also adds a bit of delight to someone's day. I'm endlessly curious about technology, and experience and interaction design feel like fields that will always keep me learning and adapting. That kind of growth is important to me.

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

I'm an Interaction Designer at Google, the owner of the entire Figma design ecosystem within the Google Cloud Design System. What gets me excited is solving problems, finding those little details that prevent bigger headaches down the road, and making sure our standards are consistently high.

Technology, for me, is both fascinating and a powerful tool for improvement. That's why I volunteer with ClimateIQ, an AI-driven climate change initiative, and why I'm always exploring new areas, like applying AI in creative ways and looking at how it can support social good projects. It's important to me to keep learning about the challenges presented by AI as well, like biases and how to ensure equitable outcomes. That's what keeps me engaged and pushes me to do better work.

4What does “creativity” mean to you?
In my world, "creativity" isn't just about hatching innovative ideas, it's about a constant journey of discovery, exploring new technologies and methods to refine and transform the design process, all with the people at the heart. For me, creativity is the beautiful marriage of art and science, where every solution pushes the boundaries of design to create something truly people-centric.
5To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?

For me, a "creative" concept isn't just about innovation; it's about weaving beauty and purpose together. It's an unexpected solution, a fresh perspective on a challenge, that elevates the user experience in delightful ways.

Imagine a design so elegant and efficient it solves complex problems seamlessly, making interactions not just functional but enjoyable. But true creativity goes beyond. It embraces inclusivity, anticipating diverse needs and ensuring accessibility for all. In the end, a creative concept is a revolutionary idea that challenges the status quo. It gives back to the world, fostering happiness and inclusivity. It's the seamless marriage of form, function, and fairness.

6Tell us about your creative and/or design process.

My creative process is always evolving! I'm constantly exploring, soaking up inspiration from unexpected places to make those surprising connections that lead to truly unique designs.

I'm obsessed with new tech, always figuring out how it can make my work better. Then, it's about weaving those ideas together, solving real problems with a touch of magic. I love collaborating with passionate people.

7What's your favorite part of the creative process and why?

Hands down, my favorite part is the thrilling hunt for ideas! I love finding those hidden connections, the ones that turn a problem on its head and lead to something totally unexpected. It's that jolt of excitement when a new perspective falls into place. For me, ideas aren't just thoughts, they're the magic that lets me see the world in a whole new way.

As a designer, this is where the fun begins. I get to play, to experiment, to think those wild thoughts. The weirder, the better! In this space, even the most outlandish idea could be the seed of something brilliant. The joy of discovery is what fuels my creativity every single day. It's why I love what I do.

8Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.
My designs put the people front and center. I want to understand how they think, what they need, and how to make their experience as smooth as possible. I'm all about keeping things simple - breaking down complex stuff and focusing on what really matters. Of course, I love a dash of innovation! New tech can take designs to the next level. But those little details matter too
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your creativity process?
Growing up in Shenzhen has definitely shaped the way I think. It's a city built on tech, a place where dreams take shape overnight. Seeing that kind of rapid change, the possibilities of innovation, made me a believer in technology's power to transform lives. Shenzhen is all about welcoming new ideas and new people.
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 in the MUSE Creative Awards is important for me and the team at Bright Mind. It shows that our approach to design is award-winning quality!
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?

My passion for using technology as a force for connection, education, and positive impact led me to enter three distinct projects into the 2024 MUSE Creative Awards.

The 'Anywhere Door Collection' leverages immersive storytelling to foster cultural understanding. 'CulturaSphere', a collaborative VR experience, celebrates global festivals with cutting-edge technology, promoting inclusivity. And '' uniquely links personal well-being with charitable causes. These projects showcase my belief in design's power to create meaningful change on a global scale.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The Anywhere Door Collection's biggest challenge resided in seamlessly blending immersive technology with user-generated content while maintaining a user experience that's both visually inclusive and refreshingly simple.

The website had to bridge the gap between the technical demands of manipulating Google Street View for narrative exploration and the need for an intuitive interface accessible to a broad audience. This focus on inclusivity extended to the visual representation, ensuring the doors and stories resonated across diverse cultures.

Ultimately, these challenges fueled innovative solutions, shaping the project's unique blend of technology, storytelling, and cultural discovery.

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

Winning this award has been a great help. It's increased my visibility and helped me gain recognition in the design community. This has led to new collaborations and opportunities, and it's been encouraging to see my work validated by industry professionals. I'm excited to continue exploring how design can make a positive impact and create experiences that resonate with a wide audience.

The award has definitely strengthened my commitment to using new technologies for positive social impact. It's encouraged me to keep pushing boundaries in UX and interaction design, focusing on inclusivity and making a difference for a wider range of users. This recognition motivates me to keep honing my skills and expanding my creative horizons to create impactful experiences that bridge cultures and improve daily lives.

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

Constant Evolution: New technologies and methods keep me on my toes, ensuring my designs use the latest tools to solve real-world problems. I'm particularly energized by brainstorming how to integrate these advances into our work.

People-First Mentality: Empathy is critical. Our designs improve lives because we center the people, creating solutions that are inclusive and effective for a diverse audience.

Teamwork: Collaboration with talented people is essential to great design. Diverse perspectives fuel innovation and make the process incredibly rewarding.

These factors make this a field where I can push boundaries, center inclusivity, and have a tangible impact on people's lives.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?
China's creative industry is a dynamic force, fueled by the interplay between a rich cultural heritage and rapid modernization. This dynamism is epitomized in cities like Shenzhen, where a strong emphasis on design, technological innovation, and inclusiveness fosters a constant reinterpretation of the traditional.
16Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?

Over the next 5-10 years, I see the creative industry becoming more democratized and interconnected. AI-powered tools will empower individuals without formal art training to express themselves creatively, breaking down barriers and fostering cross-cultural connections through art and design.

Additionally, advances in VR and AR will blur geographical boundaries, facilitating immersive experiences that unite people across the globe. Creativity will truly become accessible to everyone.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Embrace the challenge of continuous learning! Actively seek out resources, experiment with new technologies, and analyze how design shapes the world around us. Don't be afraid to try new things, this will help you develop a distinctive voice and build a strong portfolio.
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?
Keep yourself involved in the community, meet talented people, share wonderful ideas, keep yourself familiar with news and new perspectives people shared about this world and the future.
19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
Equal potential? I truly believe it. We all have unique strengths, and when we nurture them, the impact can reshape the world.
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?
In a way, I find the inspiration from the everyone around us. Whether it's the people I encounter daily or some random people I discover online, everyone possesses a unique talent. These moments of brilliance, big or small, are what keep me fired up.
21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Hold onto what ignites your fire. The world thrives on people who champion their beliefs. Keep pushing for what you think is right, even if recognition takes a while. The joy of pursuing your passions is its own reward.
22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
A special thanks to Chloe, May and Kevin, whose unwavering support and inspiration have been a constant source of motivation in my work.

Winning Entries

Qingyi Li

Qingyi Li is an Experience/Interaction Designer based in New York City. Currently, she is working on innovative projects at Google, such as a next-generation design system and an AI-powered climate risk assessment tool. Her previous experiences at Tencent, OnePlus, and Kohler has given her a deep understanding of the field.

Read more about this interview with Fan Yang from China, the Silver Winner of the 2024 MUSE Creative Awards.