Interview with Yanming Chen for Scaling Inc and PlantC

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Yanming Chen

Yanming Chen is a talented Graphic and UI/UX designer based in New York, known for crafting visually captivating experiences. With a flair for embracing diverse design styles, Chen continuously explores and interprets the world through various lenses, enabling his creativity to flow and flourish.

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

I currently hold the position of a Graphic and UI/UX designer based in New York, where I thrive in creating visually captivating experiences. With a degree in Media Design from the renowned Pratt Institute, I have been fortunate to receive guidance from exceptional mentors who have not only equipped me with a wide range of design tools but also fostered my creative thinking abilities.

My approach to design is rooted in minimalism, utilizing simplicity as a powerful tool to convey my understanding of life, functionality, and visual appeal. By embracing various design styles, I find myself constantly exploring and interpreting the world from different perspectives, allowing my creativity to flow and flourish. This versatility in design enables me to offer fresh and unique solutions to every project I undertake.

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

During my youth, pursuing a career in design was not a path I had envisioned for myself. However, as I progressed in my education, I discovered a growing fascination with the intricate and multifaceted nature of design that intricately weaves into the fabric of our everyday lives. This captivating spectrum encompassed elements such as traffic signals, vibrant neon signs from local vendors, captivating promotional advertisements, and even the immersive world of popular cinema.

In contrast to the traditional art forms showcased within the confines of museums and galleries, I found that commercial and entertainment designs introduced a unique and captivating element into our existence. While art serves as a means for emotional connection, resonating with its audience through mediums such as paintings, sculptures, and music, my perspective on design diverges. I view design as a skillful amalgamation of emotions and logic, intertwining the creator's sentiments with the pursuit of commercial objectives.

Design, in its essence, embraces a more pragmatic approach, leveraging the creator's emotions and intertwining them with strategic goals. It serves as a powerful and expressive platform for artists to share their emotions while also catering to the demands and objectives of a commercial context.

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

As a UI/UX and Graphic Designer, my role plays a vital part in both product development and brand communication. On the UI/UX design front, my responsibilities revolve around conceptualizing and implementing design solutions that elevate the user experience.

This entails conducting comprehensive user research to gain profound insights into our users' requirements, crafting user personas, and mapping out user journeys. My ultimate objective is to ensure that our educational tools not only boast aesthetic appeal but also excel in functionality and user-friendliness.

Fundamentally, my job revolves around bridging the gap between our users and our educational tools, while simultaneously ensuring that our visual communication effectively represents our brand and resonates with our target audience.

4What does “creativity” mean to you?

Creativity is the transformative fusion of functionality and aesthetics, akin to alchemy. It encompasses a multi-faceted process that necessitates a profound comprehension of user needs, empathy, and an unwaveringly innovative mindset.

To me, creativity signifies transcending conventional boundaries and envisioning how design can elevate user experiences within the digital realm. It involves employing ingenious problem-solving approaches to fashion intuitive interfaces that seamlessly blend practicality with captivation.

From a graphic design perspective, creativity manifests as the ability to craft compelling visuals that deeply resonate with the audience and effectively communicate the brand's essence. It necessitates the courage to push boundaries, take calculated risks, and continuously explore diverse visual languages and styles.

In essence, creativity extends beyond mere originality; it embraces empathy, relevance, and the creation of profound experiences that forge emotional connections with users. It is the art of delivering meaningful encounters that leave a lasting impact.

5To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?

In my perspective, a 'creative' idea or design is one that beautifully marries form and function, while also pushing boundaries and norms. In the realm of UI/UX design, this involves crafting user interfaces that are not only visually appealing but also intuitive, user-friendly, and innovative.

A creative design intuitively guides the user through a seamless journey, makes complex tasks feel simple, and delivers a satisfying user experience that exceeds expectations.

From a graphic design viewpoint, a creative design visually communicates the intended message in a way that is not just visually striking, but also emotionally resonating and contextually relevant. It is unique and engaging, and it successfully captures and holds the audience's attention while also conveying the brand's story in a compelling way.

In essence, to me, what makes a design 'creative' is its capacity to elicit emotion, tell a story, solve a problem, and create a lasting impact, all while maintaining a fine balance between aesthetics and functionality.

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

At the core of the creative process lies the indispensable step of in-depth research, an integral component regardless of the design endeavor at hand. When embarking on the creation of a piece of art, I immerse myself in thoughtful contemplation, reflecting on the intended narrative and the profound message I aim to convey.

While an aesthetically pleasing image holds its own allure, I firmly believe that the underlying sentiment and substance take precedence, and should never be overshadowed. I eschew the notion of replicating prevalent styles or trends, as my approach centers around the desire to carve out my own unique and distinctive perspective.

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

The conceptualization phase of the creative process holds a special place in my heart. It is the enchanting stage where magic unfolds, where the seeds of ideas ignite, and where abstract thoughts begin to materialize.

Within this realm, I relish the freedom to delve into diverse possibilities, to experiment with a myriad of design elements, and to push the boundaries of my creativity. It is during this exhilarating phase that a blank canvas transforms into an expressive masterpiece, carrying a distinct message or providing a solution to a challenge.

The satisfaction derived from this process is akin to solving a captivating puzzle, and it is this creative challenge that propels me forward, igniting and nurturing my unwavering passion for design.

8Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.

My creative style is distinguished by its minimalistic elegance and unwavering focus on the user. Guided by the 'less is more' philosophy, my designs exude a refined simplicity, characterized by clean lines, concise communication, and a vibrant color palette. Functionality takes precedence in my approach, as I strive to ensure that each design is not only visually captivating but also intuitive and user-friendly, fostering a seamless user experience.

Innovation serves as another defining element of my design style. I revel in pushing boundaries and venturing into uncharted territories, consistently exploring novel design techniques. My aim is to craft designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also progressive, offering a fresh perspective that sets the stage for the future of design.

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

Undoubtedly, my creative process is profoundly shaped by my cultural background and the fusion of experiences from both China and the United States. The rich tapestry of China's history, traditional art forms, and unique design principles has imbued within me a profound appreciation for intricate details, harmonious compositions, and a sense of balance. The essence of the Chinese philosophy of 'less is more' resonates deeply with my personal design style, continuing to guide and influence my creative choices.

Conversely, the vibrant and diverse cultural milieu of New York has exposed me to a myriad of design perspectives, stimulating a continuous exploration of boundaries, innovation, and a global mindset. This dynamic environment has instilled in me a drive to embrace new ideas, challenge conventions, and infuse a global perspective into my designs.

The intermingling of these two distinct cultures allows me to bring forth a unique, cross-cultural perspective in my design work. It enhances my ability to craft designs that possess universal appeal while bearing the distinctive imprint of my personal design journey spanning across continents. This amalgamation enriches my creative process, enabling me to create designs that reflect a harmonious blend of tradition, innovation, and a global design sensibility.

10Congratulations! 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?

Receiving the esteemed 2023 MUSE Creative Awards is an extraordinary honor that carries immense personal and professional significance. This prestigious recognition not only represents the culmination of countless hours of unwavering dedication and relentless hard work but also stands as a testament to my unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of design and delivering user-centered solutions within the educational realm.

This accolade serves as a resounding affirmation of my design philosophy, reinforcing my steadfast pursuit of innovation and the pursuit of aesthetic simplicity. It marks a significant milestone in my career, igniting a renewed motivation to consistently craft impactful and thought-provoking designs that elevate and enrich user experiences.

The MUSE Creative Awards not only celebrate past achievements but also inspire me to strive for even greater heights in my future creative endeavors. With this prestigious recognition as a catalyst, I am emboldened to continue my journey of creating designs that resonate deeply, leaving an indelible mark on both users and the design industry as a whole.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The 2023 MUSE Creative Awards recognized two of my noteworthy projects: 'SCALING INC' and 'PlantC'. Each of these endeavors represents a unique facet of my creative capabilities and design philosophy, showcasing my dedication to merging aesthetics, purpose, and innovation. Being honored with the MUSE Creative Awards for these projects serves as a profound validation of my approach and fuels my unwavering commitment to crafting designs that are both visually compelling and purposeful.

'SCALING INC' and 'PlantC' embody my relentless pursuit of creating designs that go beyond surface-level beauty, delving into the realm of purpose and impact. This recognition further inspires me to forge ahead, continuously seeking opportunities to produce designs that carry profound meaning and resonate deeply with users.

The MUSE Creative Awards serve as a testament to the effectiveness of my design philosophy, and they provide a strong impetus to persist in my pursuit of meaningful and influential creations. Armed with this validation, I am driven to explore new horizons, push boundaries, and make a lasting impact through my designs.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

Maintaining the delicate equilibrium between aesthetics, functionality, and the specific objectives of each project presents an ongoing and formidable challenge in my creative journey. With every design endeavor, a distinct set of goals, target audience, and contextual factors come into play. Navigating these variables to ensure the final design achieves a harmonious blend of visual allure, user-friendliness, brand alignment, and effective communication demands meticulous attention.

Despite the complexities, I find the problem-solving aspect of design to be immensely rewarding. Each challenge serves as a catalyst for creativity and innovation, propelling me to explore new ideas and perspectives. Overcoming these hurdles not only enhances my skills as a designer but also results in more robust and impactful designs. The process of tackling obstacles head-on and discovering solutions fuels my passion and reinforces my commitment to delivering exceptional design outcomes.

While the challenges may be daunting, it is through these very trials that my abilities as a designer are sharpened, enabling me to create designs that surpass expectations and truly resonate with their intended audiences.

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

Securing an award has wielded a profound transformative influence on my journey as a UI/UX and Graphic Designer. Its impact has reverberated through my practice and career, bolstering my professional credibility, expanding the horizons of possibilities, and infusing me with a renewed sense of confidence in my design prowess.

This esteemed recognition has not only reaffirmed my unwavering passion for crafting designs that leave a lasting impact but has also ignited an unquenchable drive to continually push the boundaries of creativity and innovation in all my endeavors.

The receipt of this prestigious award serves as a powerful validation of my skills and expertise, solidifying my position within the design community. It has opened doors to new avenues and collaborations, unveiling a realm of exciting opportunities for personal and professional growth. This recognition has propelled me to elevate my craft, inspiring me to go above and beyond in delivering designs that transcend expectations and truly resonate with their intended audience.

Embracing this transformative experience, I am driven to delve even deeper into the realms of creativity, relentlessly exploring uncharted territories and pioneering new frontiers in design. The award has become a beacon, guiding my creative endeavors and propelling me towards excellence. With an unwavering determination, I endeavor to make an indelible mark on the design industry, leaving a legacy of innovative and impactful designs that shape the future of the field.

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

My top three favorite things about our industry are:

  • Constant learning and innovation.

  • The opportunity for creative problem-solving.

  • Creating impactful and meaningful designs.

These aspects make our industry exciting and rewarding for me.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?

China stands out uniquely in the creative industry due to its rich cultural heritage, storied history, and the harmonious blend of traditional and modern influences. It is a land that weaves together a diverse tapestry of art, calligraphy, architecture, and design, spanning centuries of creative expression.

What sets China apart is the intriguing fusion of ancient Chinese artistic traditions with contemporary design approaches. This blending of the old and the new gives rise to a distinct flavor within the creative industry. Chinese aesthetics, deeply rooted in concepts of harmony, balance, and symbolism, often permeate modern designs, infusing them with a captivating and culturally significant touch.

The wealth of artistic traditions and cultural heritage present in China serves as an abundant source of inspiration for creatives. The artistic legacy of China is a wellspring of ideas and motifs that can be reimagined and integrated into contemporary designs, adding layers of cultural richness and depth.

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

Over the course of the next 5-10 years, the creative industry is poised to witness significant shifts and advancements. Several key trends are projected to shape the landscape, including a heightened emphasis on user-centric design, the integration of AI and automation, the proliferation of AR and VR technologies, and a stronger commitment to sustainability and ethical design practices.

User-centric design will continue to gain prominence as businesses increasingly recognize the value of placing the user at the center of their design processes. This approach involves deep empathy for user needs, preferences, and behaviors, resulting in more intuitive and tailored experiences that resonate on a personal level.

The integration of AI and automation will revolutionize the creative industry, streamlining workflows, enhancing efficiency, and enabling designers to tackle more complex challenges. AI-powered tools and algorithms will assist in tasks such as data analysis, content generation, and personalized experiences, freeing up creative professionals to focus on higher-level ideation and strategic decision-making.

The advent of AR and VR technologies will unlock new dimensions of immersive experiences, transforming how users interact with digital content. These technologies will find applications across various sectors, from gaming and entertainment to education and e-commerce, revolutionizing the way we consume and engage with visual media.

The creative industry will also witness a heightened commitment to sustainability and ethical design practices. Designers will increasingly prioritize environmentally conscious materials, production processes, and packaging solutions. There will be a growing emphasis on inclusive design, accessibility, and ethical considerations, ensuring that design solutions cater to diverse audiences and uphold ethical principles.

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

If you are a student entering the creative industry or aspiring to submit your work for prestigious awards like the MUSE Creative Awards, there are several essential guidelines to keep in mind. These principles will help you navigate the industry with confidence and position yourself for success in your career or as an award submitter.

First and foremost, embrace the concept of continuous learning. The creative industry is ever-evolving, with new technologies, trends, and techniques constantly emerging. Stay updated on industry developments, seek out learning opportunities, and be open to expanding your skill set. Cultivating a diverse range of abilities will allow you to adapt to various project requirements and remain relevant in a competitive landscape.

Additionally, foster a growth mindset. Embrace feedback and constructive criticism as valuable opportunities for improvement and personal growth. View challenges as chances to refine your skills and overcome obstacles. A willingness to learn from setbacks and make necessary adjustments will propel you forward in your creative journey.

Building a strong portfolio is crucial. Select and showcase your best work that represents your range of abilities and problem-solving skills. A well-curated portfolio not only demonstrates your talent but also serves as a visual representation of your unique style and creative vision. Tailor your portfolio to highlight your strengths and ensure it resonates with potential employers or award judges.

Networking and collaboration are vital aspects of the creative industry. Seek opportunities to connect with other professionals, attend industry events, and engage in collaborative projects. Building relationships with like-minded individuals can lead to valuable connections, mentorship opportunities, and a supportive network that can propel your career forward.

Finally, trust in your unique vision and creative instincts. Develop a strong sense of self-confidence in your abilities while being open to experimentation and taking calculated risks. The creative industry thrives on innovation and originality, so embrace your creativity and let your unique voice shine through in your work.

By following these guidelines and embracing a proactive and confident approach, you can navigate the creative industry successfully, whether as a student entering the field or as an aspiring award submitter. Stay curious, embrace growth, and believe in the power of your creativity to create remarkable and memorable work.

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

To enhance your skills in the creative industry, I recommend taking advantage of various online learning platforms such as YouTube and Coursera. These platforms offer a vast array of design courses taught by industry professionals. Explore design blogs and websites like Smashing Magazine and Creative Bloq for insightful articles, tutorials, and updates on industry trends. Engage with online communities such as Behance and Dribbble to connect with fellow designers, showcase your work, and receive valuable feedback from the design community.

Attending design conferences and workshops is another valuable way to expand your network and learn from industry experts. These events provide opportunities to gain insights, discover new techniques, and connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for design.

Reading design books authored by renowned experts can offer invaluable knowledge and inspiration. Take the time to explore books that cover a wide range of design topics and absorb the wisdom shared by experienced designers.

Furthermore, don't underestimate the power of personal projects. Engage in hands-on practice and experimentation to refine your skills and explore new creative territories. Personal projects allow you to apply what you've learned and showcase your unique style and problem-solving abilities.

Remember that learning is a lifelong journey. Stay curious and continuously seek out new resources and opportunities for growth as a designer. Embrace the ever-evolving nature of the creative industry and remain open to acquiring new skills and perspectives. By nurturing a mindset of continuous learning, you'll be well-equipped to thrive and succeed in the dynamic world of design.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

I would like to share a personal challenge I encountered on my creative journey, reflecting on moments of self-doubt and uncertainty that I have faced throughout my career.

Despite external successes and accomplishments, there have been instances where I questioned my own abilities and wondered if I truly deserved the recognition I received. It's a vulnerable feeling that I rarely disclose to others, but it serves as a reminder that even amidst achievements, we all confront internal battles and insecurities.

One significant experience that stands out is when I was given the task of redesigning an e-commerce website. This project carried high expectations and pressure to deliver exceptional results. Throughout the process, I found myself constantly second-guessing my design choices and worrying if I could meet the client's expectations.

However, I transformed this challenge into an opportunity for growth by exploring new design approaches and seeking feedback from my colleagues. Ultimately, the project turned out to be a success, and the positive feedback received from both the client and users reaffirmed my abilities.

Conquering these doubts and persisting in the face of adversity has been pivotal in my development as a designer. It has taught me the significance of self-belief, resilience, and the ability to learn from setbacks. I now understand that embracing moments of vulnerability and channeling them as motivation for personal and professional advancement is the key to unlocking my full creative potential.

20Who has inspired you in your life and why?

Over the course of my career, I have drawn inspiration from a myriad of design visionaries who have left an indelible mark on the industry. Icons like Dieter Rams, celebrated for his minimalist and functional approach, and Paula Scher, renowned for her bold and expressive graphic designs, have been instrumental in shaping my own design philosophy.

Their innovative thinking, meticulous attention to detail, and remarkable ability to create designs that leave a lasting impact have served as a wellspring of inspiration for my own creative endeavors.

Beyond these influential figures, I also find inspiration in the vibrant and dynamic design community itself. Collaborating with fellow designers and engaging with colleagues who share the same passion and drive has been instrumental in propelling my creative journey. The collective creativity, diverse perspectives, and unwavering dedication within the design community inspire me to continually challenge myself and explore new frontiers of creativity.

In this interconnected world, where ideas flow and collaboration thrives, the design community serves as a constant source of inspiration. Witnessing the boundless creativity and witnessing the passion that permeates the industry ignites my own creativity and fuels my desire to push the boundaries of what is possible in design.

Through the collective wisdom and creative energy of these visionaries, colleagues, and the design community at large, I am motivated to create designs that not only resonate with users but also leave a lasting impact on the world. Their influences have shaped my own design philosophy, driving me to craft meaningful, thoughtful, and visually captivating experiences.

21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

In my perspective, the path to success in the creative industry is forged through a powerful blend of passion, continuous learning, and a willingness to confront challenges head-on. Nourishing your work with an authentic and unwavering passion for design serves as the driving force behind your creative exploration and innovation.

Let this passion guide you on a journey of perpetual curiosity and commitment to lifelong learning. Stay attuned to industry trends, sharpen your skills, and embrace new techniques to remain at the forefront of your craft.

Embracing challenges is a vital aspect of growth and development. Rather than fearing obstacles, view them as valuable opportunities for personal and professional advancement. Be courageous and take calculated risks, stepping outside of your comfort zone to stretch your creative boundaries.

Success is not a final destination, but an ongoing journey. Dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to your craft, maintaining resilience and determination in the face of setbacks. Strive for excellence in every aspect of your work, seeking continuous improvement and growth.

As you navigate your creative journey, trust in your instincts and remain true to your unique creative vision. Believe in the transformative power of your designs to make a positive impact on the world. Your creativity possesses the potential to inspire, connect, and evoke emotions. By staying true to your authentic voice and embracing the belief in your own creative abilities, you will forge a path to success that is truly your own.

22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

Thank you for providing me with the chance to share my insights during this interview. I want to highlight my expertise in developing immersive brand experiences through innovative design strategies.

By seamlessly blending my skills in UI/UX design, graphic design, and branding, I have consistently produced visually captivating and harmonious brand identities that deeply resonate with target audiences. I firmly believe in the power of storytelling and harnessing design elements to elicit emotions and forge a profound connection with users.

My commitment to staying abreast of industry trends and continuously pushing the boundaries of creativity empowers me to deliver designs that make a lasting impact. I am genuinely thrilled at the prospect of contributing my skills and unyielding passion for design to future projects, with the aim of creating meaningful and visually stunning experiences that leave an indelible impression.

Winning Entries

Scaling Inc | 2022


SCALING INC is a cutting-edge media company that utilizes scalable technologies and novel tools to generate advertisements …
(Read more at MUSE Creative Awards)

PlantC | 2023

PlantC | Yanming Chen

PlantC is made for human everyday friends, specifically house plants. Most people have some plants in their homes or offices …
(Read more at MUSE Creative Awards)

Yanming Chen

Yanming Chen is a talented Graphic and UI/UX designer based in New York, known for crafting visually captivating experiences. With a flair for embracing diverse design styles, Chen continuously explores and interprets the world through various lenses, enabling his creativity to flow and flourish.

Read more about Yanming Chen's interview for the Vega Digital Awards!