Interview with Xingcheng Zhu

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Xingcheng Zhu

Xingcheng Zhu graduated from the Department of Architecture at Chung Yuan Christian University with a bachelor's degree and completed a master's degree in UX Design at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

Interview With The 2023 MUSE Design Awards Winner – Xingcheng Zhu

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

I am Xingcheng Zhu and I graduated from the Department of Architecture at Chung Yuan Christian University with a bachelor's degree, and completed my master's degree in UX Design at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

I previously worked as a Senior Designer at PwC China and Hong Kong and I am currently a member of the China Industrial Design Association. I also provided design services to several Fortune 500 companies.

Moreover, I have a strong commitment to the impact of design on public welfare and has served as a judge for a national social innovation competition, providing guidance to college students in designing products for public good.

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

Driven by my passion for design and the exhilaration it evokes during the process of crafting something novel, I have cherished drawing and illustrating beautiful creations since childhood. Initially pursuing a trajectory in the science and engineering domain upon entering university, I aspired to integrate it with design, leading me to choose architecture as my major.

Despite my appreciation for architectural aesthetics, the field didn't unfold as engaging and fulfilling as I envisioned. Consequently, I redirected my journey towards user experience and product design.

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

I am employed at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), a prominent member of the Big Four accounting firms worldwide, offering both accounting and consulting services. In my role as a Senior Product Designer, I am tasked with designing low-code and digital products on the platform. Additionally, I oversee the design and updates of the design system.

4What does “design” mean to you?
For me, design means solving problems, making the users feel a sense of beauty when they see the product, and even making them feel that life is full of hope. Therefore, I believe that this design is a very good design.
5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?
My favorite designs are those that have excellent interactive experiences and aesthetics. These products do not feel cumbersome to use, and they are also friendly to the elderly, children, and individuals with physical disabilities.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?

An effective design is one that harmoniously integrates functionality and aesthetics, ensuring a favorable user experience. It caters to user needs and preferences, maintaining simplicity and intuitiveness. Accessibility is crucial, ensuring inclusivity for users of all ages and abilities. Furthermore, a commendable design encompasses innovation and sustainability, staying adaptable to evolving trends and environmentally aware.

Ultimately, a successful design establishes an emotional connection with users, eliciting positive emotions and fostering loyalty.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
I like to observe things in life, such as the award-winning works, the chair is inspired by streams and branches, the app is inspired by the surrounding environment. So I think to do a good design or a good designer, you have to look at all the things around you and try to integrate them into the design.
8Tell us about your design process.
I will read a lot of other people's designs to improve my vision, and at the same time, I will continue to put my ideas into practice and finally choose from the results of practice. Meanwhile, recently, there are some AI tools that can help me create, so that I can feel the final effect faster, so I am also willing to learn and try.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
Certainly, my cultural background has been a rich source of inspiration for me. China, with its five-thousand-year history, has a wealth of valuable lessons in production and daily life. Practices like wood carving, bamboo weaving, and the Zen culture, among others, resonate well with the minimalist concept I aspire to embrace.
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?
It was nice to be recognized, 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 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
Because I found everyday many objects around me are boring, I wanted to create objects that were both aesthetic and functional. Another work is to show the concern for the environment. Nowadays, the environmental problem is very serious, and various countries are solving it, and individuals should also take responsibility for it.
12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

Throughout the design phase, I faced various challenges, primarily centered around harmonizing aesthetics with functionality, ensuring a smooth user experience, and catering to diverse user needs. To surmount these hurdles, I engaged in comprehensive research and user testing, leveraging valuable feedback to enhance the design.

Working closely with a diverse team enabled the integration of innovative ideas and the discovery of practical solutions. Employing iterative design processes allowed for continuous refinement of the product. By staying responsive to feedback, maintaining an open-minded approach, and embracing creative problem-solving, I successfully navigated these challenges, delivering a comprehensive design that aligned with both user expectations and project objectives.

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

Winning this award would significantly shape my future as a designer. It stands as a testament to my skills and creative methodology, providing a substantial boost to my confidence and motivation. The acknowledgment would not only validate my expertise but also unlock doors to fresh opportunities, allowing me to engage in more prestigious projects and collaborate with industry leaders.

Moreover, it would enhance my professional network and raise my visibility within the design community. This accolade has the potential to attract prospective clients and employers, paving the way for notable career advancements and establishing greater credibility in the field.

Ultimately, winning this award will propel my journey as a designer to new heights, promising a fulfilling and successful future.

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

The design industry captivates me for three main reasons. Firstly, the boundless opportunities for creativity and innovation allow me to explore my imagination freely. Secondly, the ability to positively impact people's lives through user-centric solutions is immensely rewarding. Lastly, the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the field ensures that I can continuously learn and grow as a designer.

Creating meaningful experiences and witnessing how my work enhances the way people interact with products and services, making their lives more enjoyable and efficient, brings me tremendous fulfillment. Embracing the constant advancements in technology and design trends keeps me inspired and excited about the endless possibilities within the industry.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
History, well-build industry chains and many excellent peers.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

In the coming 5-10 years, the design industry is poised for substantial progress influenced by technological innovations and evolving user demands. Anticipated developments include persistent expansion in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design, emphasizing seamless interactions and personalized user experiences.

The integration of artificial intelligence and augmented reality is set to transform product design, unlocking new potentials. The increasing prominence of sustainability and inclusive design will address global challenges.

Moreover, the surge in remote work and the adoption of digital collaboration tools will reshape design processes, fostering greater diversity and global connectivity among design teams.

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

For those aspiring to craft award-winning designs, my advice centers on three crucial elements: innovation, user-centricity, and perseverance. Embrace innovation by consistently exploring novel ideas and pushing creative boundaries.

Prioritize user needs, ensuring that designs are geared towards delivering exceptional experiences. View failure as an opportunity for learning and growth, persistently refining and iterating designs. Stay inspired, actively seek feedback, and engage in collaboration to gain diverse perspectives. Recognize that award-winning designs stem from passion, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to continuous improvement.

Continuously refine skills, welcome challenges, and stay true to your design vision, and success will naturally follow through the relentless pursuit of excellence.

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

To enhance your skills in the design industry, consider exploring the following resources:

Nature: Nature serves as a valuable resource for inspiration and exploration.

Design Books: Gain valuable insights and inspiration by reading books authored by renowned designers.

Design Blogs and Magazines: Stay abreast of the latest trends and techniques by following reputable design blogs and magazines.

Online Design Communities: Connect with fellow designers and showcase your work by joining design communities such as Dribbble and Behance.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
I am a foodie!
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My parents have significantly influenced my upbringing. My father, a fine art teacher, instilled in me a sense of aesthetics from a young age. Meanwhile, my mother, a nurse, imparted lessons of diligence, persistence, and patience, shaping my character and approach towards people.
21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

The cornerstone of my success lies in an enduring passion for what I do and an unwavering commitment to continuous learning. It's crucial to wholeheartedly pursue your passions and stay dedicated to your objectives. Actively seek opportunities for personal and professional growth, remaining open to new experiences. Resilience in the face of challenges is essential, as each obstacle presents a chance to learn and evolve. Surround yourself with supportive individuals and embrace collaboration with diverse perspectives.

Remember, success is a journey, not a destination. Appreciate each step along the way and continue to strive for excellence. Believe in yourself, adhere to your values, and let your determination and authenticity guide you towards a life of fulfillment and success.

Winning Entries

XOX Chair | 2023

XOX Chair | Xingcheng Zhu

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

Smart StellarGlow Lamp | 2023


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

Xingcheng Zhu

Xingcheng Zhu graduated from the Department of Architecture at Chung Yuan Christian University with a bachelor's degree and completed a master's degree in UX Design at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

Read more about this interview with Dz Apolenis from the United States, the Platinum Winner of the 2023 MUSE Design Awards.