Interview with Xiaodie Huang from United States

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May 24, 2023
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Xiaodie Huang

Xiaodie Huang is a Los Angeles-based graphic designer that is driven by her very desire to continuously develop her skills by creating innovative designs that will make a positive impact.

Interview with the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards Winner - Xiaodie Huang

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

I am a Los Angeles-based Graphic Designer specializing in brand identity, spatial design, and editorial design. My passion for design began during my time studying Graphic Design at the ArtCenter College of Design, where I honed my skills and graduated with a degree in the field.

However, prior to discovering my passion for graphic design, I explored other academic disciplines such as Communication Studies and Fine Arts. These diverse areas of study inspired me and helped shape my creative abilities.

Throughout my journey, collaborating with writers and designers from various backgrounds has been a constant source of inspiration for me. The opportunity to work alongside individuals with different perspectives has pushed me to create designs that are both aesthetically beautiful and meaningful.

I find joy in crafting designs that stand out from the ordinary, striving to create unique and impactful visual experiences.

Ultimately, my experiences and exploration have solidified my commitment to pursuing graphic design as my chosen career path. I am driven by the desire to continue developing my skills, creating innovative designs, and making a positive impact through my work.

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

I spent my childhood in a small town in China, where resources were limited. Despite the constraints, my parents always did their best to support me and encourage my exploration of various interests, such as piano, dance, and performance.

As I delved deeper into these creative pursuits, my passion for pursuing a career in the arts grew stronger. The process of creating and bringing ideas to life brings me immense joy, and I find fulfillment in crafting meaningful experiences that inspire others.

To me, design is boundless, transcending limitations and opening doors to endless possibilities. It is this boundless nature that fuels my eagerness to continually push myself and explore new horizons during my design journey. I am excited to embrace challenges, embrace growth, and continue creating work that resonates with others.

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

I am currently employed at Elephant, a design agency, where I focus on building brand experiences, digital products, and overseeing production work. My current project involves collaborating with the Apple Newsroom team, which presents me with daily opportunities to adapt and implement new techniques and skills.

The fast-paced and dynamic working environment has allowed me to effectively utilize my design skills and experiences to enhance workflow and structure within the team.

Recently, I had the privilege of working on a visual identity project for Elephant XD Academy. In addition to co-leading the development of the logo, I had the opportunity to co-host workshops where I taught high school students about basic design principles.

It was a rewarding experience to share my design knowledge with the younger generation, and I'm proud to mention that our website design for Elephant XD Academy has been nominated for the MUSE Creative Awards.

This diverse range of experiences has taken my career in exciting and fulfilling directions, granting me the opportunity to explore the joys of the professional design world. Being able to contribute to meaningful projects and share my design expertise has been a testament to my abilities and a source of personal fulfillment.

4To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?

To me, creativity is about finding effective solutions that deliver clear and meaningful messages, allowing people to connect and derive satisfaction from them. It's not always about making sweeping changes; true creativity lies in uncovering the beauty in the ordinary and transforming it into something extraordinary.

I draw inspiration and creativity from my daily encounters, particularly through observing people's lives and experiences. Even small improvements can greatly enhance the quality of others' lives.

One project that exemplifies my creative process is the HUB project, which I submitted for the MUSE Creative Awards. It stemmed from my interest in traveling and immersing myself in unique locations with distinct lifestyles. I believe this is the best way to learn about others stories and gain inspiration.

In order to differentiate HUB from other online vacation rental platforms, I sought to bridge the gap between online booking and the offline living experience. I wanted guests to feel the exclusivity of HUB's travel services from the moment of booking to the duration of their stay and departure.

5Tell us about your creative and/or design process.

In initiating my design process, I engage in comprehensive research, encompassing diverse methods such as conducting interviews, exploring documentaries, and seeking inspiration beyond the realm of graphic design.

Through this research phase, I cultivate a plethora of concepts, design directions, and mood boards. Additionally, engaging in discussions with fellow designers constitutes a cherished aspect of my creative journey.

It is truly fascinating to glean insights from others' perspectives, as it often leads to the organic generation of exceptional ideas and designs. I believe that design thrives on both independent thinking and collaborative efforts, as they together elevate the creative output to new heights.

Striking a harmonious balance between independent ideation and collaborative teamwork within the design process results in ideas that are distinctive and personally resonant.

6Congratulations! 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?
I am incredibly grateful for the recognition and achievement I have received throughout my design journey. It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to share my work and ideas with talented individuals from around the world. Winning the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards has been a humbling experience, opening doors to various interviews and exposure opportunities.
7How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

I have been incredibly fortunate to share my design journey and expertise with a global audience, which has significantly bolstered my standing and visibility within the design industry. As mentioned earlier, I have had the privilege of being featured on a prominent global media platform, a validation that has truly warmed my heart.

Witnessing the genuine interest from others, their desire to connect with me, and their eagerness to learn from my experiences has been immensely gratifying.

Through my journey as an award recipient, I have come to realize that sharing tips and insights with fellow designers seeking to submit their own work for accolades serves as an excellent icebreaker for conversations.

This exchange of information not only facilitates learning and growth but also serves as a means of establishing connections with like-minded designers, forging valuable relationships within the creative community.

8What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

One of the aspects that deeply resonates with me in my industry is the power to inspire and create a positive impact on people's lives, infusing the world with uplifting energy. From the moment I embarked on my journey in this field, I have remained committed to utilizing my skills to effect meaningful change for both brands and individuals who share a passion for design.

My recent engagement with Elephant XD Academy has further amplified my appreciation for the enchantment and positivity inherent in being a graphic designer. I firmly believe that designers possess the extraordinary ability to shape the world into a better place, an ever-evolving process that holds immense potential for fostering positive transformations.

9If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

Based on my personal experience, I have found that each award has distinct requirements and specific criteria that they seek in their candidates. For individuals interested in submitting their work to the MUSE Creative Awards, I highly recommend a thorough review of the information available on their official website.

The website provides comprehensive details regarding the submission requirements and various categories, which proved to be invaluable during my own submission process.

Additionally, I encourage aspiring candidates to explore the winner gallery on the website. This allows you to observe how other individuals have presented their work and can aid in determining the category that aligns best with your own creative endeavors.

Furthermore, studying the winner gallery helps in preparing design files and gaining a deeper understanding of the specific qualities and characteristics that the MUSE Creative Awards seek in their recipients.

10What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Design is to design a way of thinking.

Design is not just about creating visual aesthetics; it is a way of thinking. It encompasses problem-solving, innovation, and the ability to shape experiences. Design thinking involves a mindset that seeks to understand and empathize with users, identify challenges, and devise creative solutions. It goes beyond the surface to consider functionality, usability, and the impact on individuals and society.

Design thinking encourages exploration, iteration, and collaboration, allowing us to approach problems from different angles and envision new possibilities. By embracing design as a way of thinking, we can unlock innovative solutions and create meaningful experiences that positively impact the world around us.

11Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

It is vital to overcome fear and avoid allowing it to impede our progress and hinder forward momentum. As designers, we frequently encounter novel challenges that necessitate venturing beyond our comfort zones.

Personally, I can relate to this through my own experience as someone with a shy disposition. Initially, when I mustered the courage to share my design work with others, I was besieged by self-doubt and apprehension.

However, I soon realized that by taking that initial leap, I unlocked a realm of exhilarating opportunities. As I continued to engage in conversations about my creative pursuits, I observed that it became progressively easier and more effortless with time.

By stretching ourselves beyond the confines of our comfort zones and embracing fresh challenges, we bring ourselves closer to realizing our goals. While the prospect may appear formidable at first, with practice and proficiency, triumph is invariably within reach.

Winning Entry

HUB | 2023

HUB is an online vacation rental of architecture and homes by famous architects and designers worldwide. The ...
(read more at MUSE Creative Awards)

Xiaodie Huang

Xiaodie Huang is a Los Angeles-based graphic designer that is driven by her very desire to continuously develop her skills by creating innovative designs that will make a positive impact!

Read more about this interview with Bijith, the Gold Winner of the 2022 MUSE Creative Awards.