Interview with Yiwen Zhang from United States

Automobili Pininfarina | PURA VISION
Exploring Automobili Pininfarina PURA Vision: A Glimpse into the Future
January 18, 2024
Xiaodong Ma | MUSE Design Awards
Interview with Xiaodong Ma from United States
January 18, 2024

Yiwen Zhang

Yiwen Zhang has embarked on a diverse and rewarding career within the creative sector. Her professional experiences have encompassed positions at esteemed fashion publication Condé Nast, as well as prominent communication, marketing, and PR agencies such as Ruder Finn and Publicis Groupe.

Interview with the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards Winner -
Yiwen Zhang

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

I'm Yiwen Zhang and I currently reside in New York. My professional journey in the creative industry has been diverse and enriching, encompassing roles in prestigious fashion publication, Condé Nast, and leading communication, marketing, and PR agencies like Ruder Finn and Publicis Groupe.

My expertise ranges from graphic design and UI design to roles of greater responsibility such as an Art Director and a Brand Strategist. Over the past five years, I have collaborated closely with global brands across various sectors. These include esteemed names like HUAWEI, OPPO, Porsche, La Mer, Estee Lauder, MAC, Bobbi Brown, Le Labo, and Jo Malone. My focus has been in the realms of digital media, advertising, and brand marketing, where I have strived to aid these brands in achieving commercial success.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a creative?
My initial foray into the creative field was through graphic design, a discipline that honed my artistic sensibilities and innovative outlook. The driving force behind my career choice, however, is the thrill of witnessing how creative solutions can address market challenges and profoundly impact society and individual lives. This intersection of creativity and societal influence is what motivated me to pursue a career as a creative professional.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

In my role, I focus on crafting vibrant visual brand systems, pioneering advertising campaigns, and bespoke digital user experiences. These are meticulously designed to resonate with the brand's unique value proposition and the specific profiles of target customers, thereby bolstering the brand's omni-channel strategies.

My goal is to foster sustainable growth for global brands through market-competitive creative solutions. This encompasses building brand marketing assets that span strategy, design, production, and innovation. I cater to a diverse clientele, ranging from renowned global enterprises to burgeoning start-ups, across various industries including beauty, fashion, automotive, electronics, technology, energy, education, Web3, and even publications.

4What does “creativity” mean to you?

To me, creativity represents an emotional and visual solution that serves as a bridge connecting a brand with its potential customers. It encompasses an effective strategy that not only captures attention but also secures a competitive edge in the market.

Creativity, in this sense, is more than just aesthetic appeal; it's a crucial tool for engagement and opportunity in a crowded marketplace.

5To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?
For me, a 'creative' idea or design is fundamentally about reimagining the conventional—be it an idea, form, or function—into something extraordinary. This type of innovation is impactful on multiple levels. It not only benefits brands and users but also contributes positively to society at large. It's about transcending the ordinary and bringing forth something truly remarkable.
6Tell us about your creative and/or design process.
My approach to creativity extends beyond design. It begins with in-depth market research, focusing on brand background, user behavior, and competitor performance. This research is essential for creating solutions that resonate with the brand. Then, I test initial solutions across various media and cultures, refining them based on audience feedback. This iterative process leads to robust creative solutions that can adapt to market changes and future challenges.
7What's your favorite part of the creative process and why?

My favorite part of the creative process is undoubtedly the testing phase. This is the stage where the brand genuinely begins to resonate with the audience. Adapting strategies based on their feedback is not just rewarding but incredibly insightful. The initial reactions from the market offer invaluable insights into the user's perspective on our creative solutions.

These insights are instrumental in igniting new ideas, assessing feasibility, and avoiding potential future obstacles. It's a phase where direct engagement with the audience brings our concepts into sharper focus and aligns them more closely with user needs and expectations.

8Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.

My creative style is distinguished by a blend of unique elements, including unconventional color combinations, graphic processing, and the use of collage techniques. However, in commercial endeavors, the paramount focus is always on the brand's core values and the preferences of the target audience.

In such instances, I ensure that my personal style does not overshadow the overarching visual strategy of the brand. This approach allows me to create work that is both distinctively mine yet thoroughly aligned with the brand's identity and its audience's expectations.

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

My creative process is significantly influenced by my culturally diverse background. Originally from China, I spent my high school years immersed in various European cultures before relocating to New York for university. This rich tapestry of experiences has deepened my appreciation for inclusivity in my work.

Drawing inspiration from both Asian and European traditions, my style melds traditional and modern aesthetics. In the United States, the ethos of freedom and diversity has particularly shaped my creative approach. Now, the dynamic energy of New York has seamlessly integrated into my style, further enriching my creative process with its unique vibe.

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 2023 MUSE Creative Awards is an honor that holds profound significance for me. I am deeply grateful for this recognition, which not only acknowledges my work and abilities but also serves as a powerful motivator in my ongoing journey within the realms of creativity and design.

This accolade reinforces my commitment to creating work that not only stands out but also makes a meaningful difference in society and the world at large.

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?

Hand Over Hand is a pioneer in special education services, promoting individualized student learning, fostering Inquiry-based learning, STEAM-based learning, and Project-Based Learning. As a diverse and collaborative community organization, its mission is to help students excel academically and socially while fostering a commitment to their local and global communities.

By reimagining a passionate, vibrant, fun, inclusive, and diverse brand image, we aim to better mirror Hand Over Hand's unwavering support and profound dedication to the future of global education and the challenges faced by 21st-century society.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
We realized the main issue is how to ensure consistent marketing and messaging lead to consistent brand identity.
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
Winning this award has had a transformative impact on my practice and career. It serves as a testament to the memorable and significant contributions I have made to the marketing industry. This recognition not only enhances my visibility within the field but also acts as a continual source of inspiration for my future endeavors. It reinforces my resolve to maintain the high standard of creativity and impact that has been recognized with this accolade.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
My top three favorite aspects of our industry are its unique blend of commercial and fine art, the intriguing challenge of balancing marketing strategies with creative expression, and the opportunity to imbue brands with influence, vitality, and sustainability. These facets captivate me the most, as they allow for a fascinating interplay between artistic vision and practical market dynamics, and offer a platform to make a lasting impact in the branding landscape.
15Where 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 evolving significantly due to technology, the internet, and artificial intelligence. This evolution is making our world information-rich, but also brings emotional scarcity. The shift from traditional to social media is emphasizing personalization and digitalization in brand marketing.

Simultaneously, there's an increasing focus on the emotional value brands offer, making individualism a key challenge for our industry.

16If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

If I were to offer advice to a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, it would be this: Don't limit your focus solely to practical objectives. Seek fulfillment in contributing to the well-being of others and making a positive impact on society.

It's in these endeavors that you will discover genuine and enduring satisfaction. This broader perspective enriches your career and ensures its sustainability and relevance.

17What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

My key to success lies in recognizing and leveraging my strengths, pursuing my interests and passions with dedication, and committing wholeheartedly to what ignites my passion. Equally important is maintaining unwavering confidence, particularly during challenging times. Remember, resilience in the face of adversity is often what distinguishes success from failure.

These principles have guided my journey and I believe they hold true for anyone seeking success in their endeavors.

Winning Entries

Hand Over Hand Identity Redesign | 2023

Hand Over Hand Identity Redesign | Yiwen Zhang

Hand Over Hand is a pioneer in special education services, promoting individualizes students' learning, fosters Inquiry-based learning …
(Read more at MUSE Creative Awards)



The Tailory New York believes that gender-neutral defines fashion. We serve customers all around the world with tailoring and alterations through …
(Read more at MUSE Creative Awards)

Yiwen Zhang

Yiwen Zhang has embarked on a diverse and rewarding career within the creative sector. Her professional experiences have encompassed positions at esteemed fashion publication Condé Nast, as well as prominent communication, marketing, and PR agencies such as Ruder Finn and Publicis Groupe.

Read more about this interview with Luao Liu from the United States, the Silver Winner of the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards.