Interview with Yulu Chen from United States

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Yulu Chen

Yulu Chen, an accomplished graphic designer, holds a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Boston University. Her career is characterized by a blend of creative thinking, cross-disciplinary skills, and a strong commitment to brand-focused strategies.

Interview with the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards Winner -
Yulu Chen

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

I am Yulu Chen, a highly experienced graphic designer holding a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Boston University. My professional journey is characterized by a rich blend of creative thinking, cross-disciplinary skills, and a relentless commitment to a brand-focused approach. With a solid foundation and extensive experience in the field, I specialize in seamlessly navigating the dynamic intersection of commercial design and critical thinking.

My expertise extends beyond conventional design boundaries, allowing me to explore innovative and impactful solutions for diverse projects. This intersectional approach not only reflects in the visual aesthetics of my work but also in the strategic and thoughtful processes employed to achieve meaningful design outcomes. The fusion of creativity and strategic thinking defines my commitment to delivering designs that not only captivate aesthetically but also align with the core objectives of the brands I collaborate with.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a creative?
From a young age, my passion for drawing led me to envision a future in the visual field. As I explored communication design, my appreciation deepened, revealing a genuine affinity for the dynamic and impactful nature of the profession. This journey wasn't just about my love for drawing; it was a deliberate choice to blend creativity with technology and strategy in graphic design. It's a path that allows me to explore the dynamic relationship between form and function, utilizing visual communication to convey complex messages in a compelling and meaningful way.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

Currently, I hold the position of Senior Visual Designer and in this role, I autonomously spearhead primary visual designs for high-profile events, overseeing a spectrum of design elements. This includes website front-end development, crafting presentation slides, posters, flyers, and banners. My responsibilities extend to collaborating with clients to understand their requirements, offering creative solutions, and liaising with web developers to articulate precise design specifications during the implementation phase.

In addition, I've contributed as an Illustrator and Motion Graphic Artist in the Asia IOC 5G Smart Application. In this capacity, I played a pivotal role in designing and producing government-level commercial motion graphics and visuals. This experience has further honed my skills in delivering compelling and impactful visual content.

4What does “creativity” mean to you?
In my perspective, creativity transcends the notion of conjuring something from nothing or engaging in fanciful metaphysics. Instead, I view creativity as the art of unfurling untamed imaginations and devising practical solutions grounded in real-world needs. It is a dynamic process that involves harnessing the power of imagination while remaining deeply rooted in the tangible and the pragmatic. True creativity, in my opinion, is the ability to bridge the gap between innovative thinking and the practical demands of the world, resulting in solutions that are not only imaginative but also purposeful and applicable.
5To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?

My primary objective is to prioritize problem-solving. In my perspective, a truly creative idea or design goes beyond merely addressing a problem – it does so in a visually compelling and thought-provoking manner. It transcends the ordinary by resonating with the target audience on a deeper level, telling a compelling story that captivates and leaves a lasting impression.

Creativity, to me, is not just about providing solutions; it's about crafting experiences that evoke emotions, convey narratives, and make a memorable impact. This holistic approach ensures that the creative process not only solves problems effectively but elevates them into meaningful and engaging solutions.

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

In the initial stages of the design process, I focus on identifying and addressing the core challenges through a pre-design analysis. I meticulously outline the specific problems the design aims to solve and articulate the brand's overarching goals. From these goals, I distill key keywords that encapsulate the brand's essence. These keywords, amalgamated with a curated collection of images, form a moodboard. This visual representation serves as a foundation to establish the new tone for the brand.

From the moodboard, I extract pivotal design elements, such as the ideal color palette and the typography style. This careful extraction process ensures that the design is not only aesthetically pleasing but also aligned with the brand's intended message. The chosen elements, including colors and fonts, become the building blocks for the subsequent design phase.

Despite the meticulous planning, the design process remains dynamic. Throughout, I remain open to adjusting and refining details based on ongoing discussions and negotiations. This adaptability ensures that the final design not only addresses the initial goals but also evolves in response to the collaborative and iterative nature of the design journey.

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

One of the aspects I find most exhilarating in the creative process is the imaginative endeavor of conceiving a new style seemingly from nothing. It's akin to the joy of birthing a concept, a process that feels as rewarding as unlocking the key to solving a complex problem. The sheer thrill of bringing forth a novel aesthetic, whether it be in design or any creative pursuit, shares an indescribable similarity with the fulfillment derived from cracking the code to a challenging puzzle.

This aspect of creation, where an idea transforms from a mere spark of inspiration into a tangible and distinctive style, serves as a profound source of satisfaction and motivation in my creative journey.

8Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.
I am a meticulous problem solver with a creative style characterized by a seamless blend of elegance and functionality. My designs aim to captivate attention while effectively communicating the intended message. Key elements of my style include attention to detail, clean lines, and a strategic use of color.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your creativity process?

Embracing my traditional culture has always been a cornerstone of my identity. Growing up, I immersed myself in the art forms of calligraphy and Chinese painting, finding inspiration in the rich tapestry of traditional Chinese dress. These cultural elements serve as the wellspring of my creativity, influencing the essence of my design inspirations.

Moreover, my formative years were spent navigating the dynamic landscapes of two distinct cultures. Four years of college, followed by a transition to the United States for further studies, presented a unique juxtaposition of traditions. This juxtaposition, the clash, and the subsequent fusion of these diverse cultural influences have not only molded me as an individual but have also played a pivotal role in shaping my design thinking.

The interplay of traditional Chinese roots with the global perspectives gained during my cross-cultural experiences infuses a unique depth and richness into my creative approach. It's a synthesis of heritage and contemporary influences, creating a design perspective that is both culturally grounded and globally resonant. This dynamic intercultural journey has not only broadened my horizons but has also become an intrinsic part of the narrative woven into the fabric of my design philosophy.

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?

I express my sincere gratitude for the significant encouragement provided by MUSE. This platform has been instrumental in offering me a valuable opportunity to showcase my work, receive positive feedback, and gain the acknowledgment that has been pivotal in building my confidence within the professional design industry.

The recognition from MUSE not only serves as validation but has also opened doors for me to realize that I can carve out a meaningful space for myself on this exciting and dynamic journey in the world of design. With this newfound confidence, I am motivated and equipped to move forward, continuing to explore and contribute to the ever-evolving landscape of the design industry.

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?

Innovation: The dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of the creative industry serves as a canvas for perpetual exploration and innovation, inspiring continuous growth and creative breakthroughs.

Collaboration: Engaging with a spectrum of diverse talents and perspectives not only enriches the creative process but also cultivates a dynamic environment that thrives on collaborative synergy.

Impact: The power to craft visuals that resonate deeply, eliciting emotions and leaving an indelible impression on audiences, underscores the profound impact that creative endeavors can have in the realm of visual communication.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The most significant challenge encountered in this project was striking the delicate balance between sophistication and accessibility. Medical design demands precision and a certain level of gravitas, yet the design had to be approachable to ensure widespread understanding and engagement. Choosing a color palette that conveyed both the calming nature of healthcare and the progressive spirit of medical design was a meticulous process.
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
Winning the MUSE Creative Awards has elevated my professional standing and opened new opportunities for collaboration and recognition. It has reinforced the value of our design philosophy and brought increased visibility to our creative endeavors, positively impacting both my personal growth and the trajectory of our team.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

Innovation: The ever-evolving nature of the creative industry allows for constant exploration and innovation.

Collaboration: Working with diverse talents and perspectives fosters a dynamic and enriching creative process.

Impact: The ability to create visuals that resonate and evoke emotions, leaving a lasting impact on audiences.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?
Embracing my traditional culture, rooted in calligraphy, Chinese painting, and traditional dress, defines the unique creativity emerging from our country. My journey through two cultures has contributed to a dynamic blend of traditions. This fusion shapes not only my personal identity but also influences the broader creative landscape. The interplay of Chinese roots and global perspectives enriches our creative approach, creating a synthesis of heritage and contemporary influences that sets our country apart in the global creative industry.
16Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?
In the dynamic realm of creativity, cultivate a relentless curiosity, adaptability, and an unwavering commitment to learning. The key to standing out lies in consistently advancing your knowledge and honing your skills. Boldly explore innovative ideas and persevere in the face of challenges. This mindset not only propels your personal growth but positions you as a trailblazer in the ever-evolving landscape of the creative industry.
17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

Broaden your horizons by exploring the work of others; don't confine yourself solely to your industry or immediate surroundings. Embrace diverse perspectives, seeking inspiration beyond your usual scope. Moreover, prioritize practical experience over idle fantasizing.

The true measure of success and suitability is revealed through active practice. Dive into hands-on work to truly understand what resonates and what doesn't. It's through practical application that you gain insights into the feasibility and effectiveness of your ideas, ensuring they translate into tangible and impactful results.

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?
I highly recommend leveraging social platforms like Instagram and Behance to follow artists and designers whose work resonates with you. Exploring their portfolios can serve as a valuable source of inspiration and a learning boost. When you encounter a style or technique that captures your interest, make note of it for future exploration. Additionally, there's a plethora of online courses available that cater to various skill levels, providing an excellent opportunity to enhance your creative capabilities at your own pace.
19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

I've navigated through numerous setbacks and failures in my journey, a facet of my experiences that I haven't openly shared with many. These instances of failure, while challenging, have been invaluable lessons, shaping my resilience, refining my skills, and ultimately propelling me toward greater success.

Each setback has been a hidden chapter in my story, contributing to the narrative of growth and tenacity that defines my professional and personal development.

20Who has inspired you in your life and why?
One of my most profound inspirations is the Chinese writer Shi Tiesheng. Despite facing physical challenges, his warm and humanistic perspective on the world empowered individuals in their most challenging situations. Shi Tiesheng's resilience and ability to find beauty in adversity have left an indelible mark on my outlook, influencing my approach to challenges and reinforcing the belief that compassion and a positive mindset can illuminate even the darkest paths.
21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
The key to my success lies in a relentless pursuit of excellence, a commitment to continuous learning, and the courage to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. My advice is to stay curious, be resilient, and never underestimate the transformative power of creativity.
22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
I would like to express my gratitude to the MUSE Creative Awards for providing a platform that recognizes and celebrates the contributions of creative professionals. It's an honor to be part of this vibrant community, and I look forward to witnessing the continued growth and innovation within the creative industry. Thank you for the opportunity to share my journey and insights.

Winning Entry

2022 International Conference on Medical Design | 2023

2022 International Conference on Medical Design | Yulu Chen
In the capacity of an independent designer, I was honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of conceptualizing the visual design for the ...
(Read more at MUSE Creative Awards)

Yulu Chen

Yulu Chen, an accomplished graphic designer, holds a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Boston University. Her career is characterized by a blend of creative thinking, cross-disciplinary skills, and a strong commitment to brand-focused strategies.

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