Interview with Xingcheng Zhu from China

Jon Olsen | London Design Awards
Interview with Jon Olsen from United States
September 26, 2023
Natalino Carlo | Infernozilla
Interview with Natalino Carlo of Infernozilla from the United States
September 27, 2023

Xingcheng Zhu

Xingcheng Zhu is an experienced UX/UI designer with a background in Loughborough University and a strong track record with renowned organisations like PwC and Uber China. His portfolio spans diverse projects, including B2B platforms, CMS, official websites, and consumer products.

Interview With The 2023 London Design Awards Winner – Xingcheng Zhu

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

Hello, I'm Xingcheng Zhu! With over four years of experience in UX/UI design and a background in education from Loughborough University, I've had the privilege of working with esteemed organisations like PwC and Uber China.

During my career, I've had the opportunity to design a diverse range of products, from B2B platforms and content management systems (CMS) to official websites and everyday consumer products.

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

As I have a deep passion for design, it fills me with enthusiasm and excitement whenever I embark on the journey of crafting something new! I have enjoyed drawing and depicting beautiful things early on in my childhood. When I attended university, I was originally set on a path to become something in the science and engineering field but I had a yearning to combine it with design so I opt for architecture as my major.

However, architecture did not turn out to be as interesting and fulfilling as I had imagined even though I appreciated the aesthetics of architecture. This prompted me to pivot toward the fields of user experience and product design.

3Tell us more about your agency/company, job profile, and what you do.
The company that I work for is PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) which is one of the Big Four accounting firms that is renowned globally and it also provides consulting services. I work as a Senior Product Designer, responsible for the design of low-code and digital products on the platform. I am also in charge of designing and updating the design system.
4What does “design” mean to you?
For me, design is all about problem-solving, making users feel the beauty in a product, and even injecting a sense of hope into their lives. That's why I think this design is really great!
5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?
I particularly admire designs that offer superb interactive experiences while also being visually appealing. These products are user-friendly, catering to people of all ages, including the elderly, children, and individuals with physical disabilities.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?

A "good" design is one that seamlessly blends functionality and aesthetics, delivering a positive user experience. It caters to the needs and preferences of its users while remaining simple and intuitive to use. Accessibility is a key aspect, ensuring it's friendly to people of all ages and abilities.

Additionally, a good design embraces innovation and sustainability, making it adaptable to changing trends and environmentally conscious. Ultimately, a "good" design forms an emotional connection with users, evoking positive feelings and loyalty.

7How did you come up with the idea for your award-winning design?
I find inspiration in everyday life, whether it's the award-winning chair design that is inspired by nature's streams and branches, from my surroundings. This belief lead me to think that to excel in design, one must closely observe their environment and seamlessly incorporate those elements into their work, making them a truly great designer.
8What was your main source of inspiration for this design?
Nature, people in life, websites and also books!
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
Yes, I would definitely say so! My culture has given me a lot of inspiration. China has a history spanning to five thousand years and people have left behind many valuable things worth learning in their production and daily life, such as wood carving, bamboo weaving, Zen culture, and so on. It aligns with the minimalist concept I want to pursue.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the London Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
It is truly an honour to be recognised but I also saw a lot of excellent works, which also aroused my desire to keep learning. I want to see more, learn more, and be inspired!
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 London Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

Because I found everyday objects in my surroundings uninteresting, my aim was to craft items that seamlessly blended aesthetics with functionality. Additionally, I wanted to use my work as a platform to address environmental concerns.

In today's world, the environmental crisis is a pressing issue that countries are actively addressing, and individuals must also shoulder their responsibility in this regard.

12What were the main challenges you faced during the design process, and how did you overcome them?

During the design process, I encountered several challenges. The primary ones were balancing aesthetics with functionality, ensuring a seamless user experience, and addressing diverse user needs.

To overcome these obstacles, I conducted thorough research and user testing, gathering valuable feedback to refine the design. Collaborating with a multidisciplinary team helped incorporate innovative ideas and find practical solutions. Iterative design processes allowed me to continually refine the product. By staying receptive to feedback, remaining open-minded, and embracing creative problem-solving, I successfully navigated these challenges and delivered a well-rounded design that met both user expectations and project goals.

13How do you think winning this award will impact your future as a designer?

Winning this award would have a profound impact on my future as a designer. It will serve as a validation of my skills and creative approach, boosting my confidence and motivation. The recognition that comes with being a winner will open doors to new opportunities, enabling me to work on more prestigious projects and collaborate with industry leaders!

Additionally, it will expand my professional network and elevate my visibility in the design community. With this achievement, I can attract potential clients and employers, leading to greater career advancements and increased credibility as a designer. Ultimately, winning this award will propel my journey as a designer to new heights, shaping a promising and fulfilling future.

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

My top three favourite things about the design industry would be the endless opportunities for creativity and innovation, the ability to positively impact people's lives through user-centric solutions, and the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the field. Design allows me to explore my imagination, create meaningful experiences, and continuously learn and grow as a designer.

It's incredibly fulfilling to witness how my work can enhance the way people interact with products and services, making their lives more enjoyable and efficient. Embracing the constant advancements in technology and design trends keeps me inspired and excited about the endless possibilities in the industry.

15What sets your design apart from others in the same category?

My design sets itself apart by focusing on the perfect fusion of innovation, user-centricity, and aesthetics. I prioritise understanding the unique needs and preferences of users, ensuring that my designs deliver exceptional experiences. By incorporating cutting-edge technologies and creative solutions, I create products that stand out in the market.

The result is a harmonious blend of functionality, visual appeal, and usability that sets my work apart, leaving a lasting impression on users and elevating the overall design standard in the category.

16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

Over the next 5-10 years, the design industry is likely to experience significant advancements driven by technology and changing user expectations. We can expect continued growth in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design, with a strong focus on seamless interactions and personalised experiences.

The integration of artificial intelligence and augmented reality will revolutionise product design and create new possibilities. Sustainability and inclusive design will become even more prominent, addressing global challenges. Additionally, the rise of working remotely and digital collaboration tools will reshape design processes, enabling more diverse and globally connected design teams.

17What advice do you have for aspiring designers who want to create award-winning designs?

As an aspiring designer seeking to create award-winning designs, my advice would be to focus on three key elements: innovation, user-centricity, and perseverance. Embrace innovation by constantly exploring new ideas and pushing creative boundaries. Prioritise user needs, ensuring that designs deliver exceptional experiences. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, persistently refining and iterating designs. Stay inspired, seek feedback, and collaborate with others to gain diverse perspectives.

Remember, award-winning designs arise from passion, dedication, and a commitment to continuous improvement. Keep honing skills, embracing challenges, and staying true to your design vision. Success will follow through relentless pursuit of excellence.

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

I would recommend the following resources to improve your skills in the design industry:

Nature: Nature is a good resource to explore.

Books on Design: Reading design books by renowned designers can provide valuable insights and inspiration.

Design Blogs and Magazines: Follow reputable design blogs and magazines to stay updated on the latest trends and techniques.

Online Design Communities: Join design communities like Dribbble and Behance to connect with other designers and showcase your work.

Attend Design Events and Workshops: Participating in design events and workshops allows you to learn from experts and network with peers.

Remember, continuous learning and practice are essential for growth in the design industry.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
I am a major foodie!
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My parents! My father was an art teacher who taught me aesthetics from a young age. My mother, a nurse, taught me to be diligent and persistent and to be patient with people.
21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

My key to success is unwavering passion and continuous learning. Embrace your passions and stay committed to your goals. Seek opportunities for growth and self-improvement, and be open to new experiences. Stay resilient in the face of challenges, for they are opportunities to learn and grow.

Surround yourself with supportive individuals and collaborate with diverse perspectives. Remember that success is a journey, not a destination. Cherish every step of the way, and keep striving for greatness. Always believe in yourself and stay true to your values. Your determination and authenticity will pave the way to a fulfilling and successful life.

Winning Entry

XOX Chair | 2023


The design concept of this chair aims to break away from the traditional form of chairs and create a unique and … (Read more at London Design Awards)

Xingcheng Zhu

Xingcheng Zhu is a UX/UI designer with more than four years of experience. He studied at Loughborough University and have worked with prestigious organisations such as PwC and Uber China. His portfolio showcases a wide variety of projects, including B2B platforms, CMS, official websites, and everyday consumer products.

Read more about this interview with Shahen Markarian from the United States, the Platinum Winner of the 2023 London Design Awards.