We, as the Designer Interviews ("DI") had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to interview award-winning, most creative and innovative Yueyue (Zoey) Zhang ("Y(Z").
Yueyue Zhang is a creative and passionate industrial designer. She has been fond of innovative activities since childhood. The first time she accesses industrial design was her undergraduate in 2010. Then, her extraordinary academic performance at the undergraduate phase promotes her smooth admission into graduate school. In 2017, she decided to study abroad in the United States to get a deeper and wilder understanding of design. Through her 10-year academic experience, she has been exposed to more diversified design thinking which is generated by distinct cultures and different education methods.
Yueyue (Zoey) Zhang Designs
We are pleased to share with you original and innovative design work by Yueyue (Zoey) Zhang.
Designer Interview of Yueyue (Zoey) Zhang:
DI: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
Y(Z : I have been fond of innovative activities since childhood. The first time I access industrial design was my undergraduate in 2010. I think that my decision on the undergraduate major direction in industrial design is made more rationally and independently than most of the students even this professional major was just an emerging and rising major field in the nation at that time. Traditional subjects are always the last choices for me. I prefer to challenge myself to take my undergraduate study in a fresh-new field even it means that I need to face more difficulties. I have been keeping close attention to major fields in industrial design since I first got to know this fascinating area through regular widespread readings during my first year in high school. The more I know, the deeper I am attracted. I am convinced that the major study in industrial design is what I strongly would like to get involved in and I also believe such specialized undergraduate study could enable me to get more work opportunities in the future. I actually involved in undergraduate study in industrial design, and then my ranked no.1 academic performance promoted my smooth admission into my graduate school in China. Now, I have been still worked on my MFA program of industrial design at the Rochester Institute of technology. As I learned more, I felt more interested and motivated to explore more in this professional field. I could forget time to repeatedly modify and adjust my design works and I also could stay up in order to perfectly complete design works for competitions. Gradually, I found that I am not just interested in this professional field, moreover, I actually love this field. I am more than willing to contribute to this field.
DI: What is "design" for you?
Y(Z : From the beginning, I just hoped that this world could change a little better because of my design, however, with deeper professional learning, I found that design is different from invention. Design is more like summary and improvement, which is a process to find solutions by observation, communication, and tries. It is also the process to propose hypotheses and concepts. In my perspective: design is part of life, life is all design.
DI: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
Y(Z : I collaborate on a wide variety of projects such as appliances, furniture, toy, medical device, kitchenware, etc. I really enjoy the projects related to children and education, because they always inspired me a lot and attracted me to get involved in. I hope the next generation could get some benefits from my design.
DI: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
Y(Z : My favorite design is the lemon squeezer designed by Philippe Starck. I was deeply attracted by this design at first sight. It is the perfect combination of function and form. It is the aesthetic presentation of deep consideration of the user experience. It is not only the design that attracted me most but also the design inspired me and encouraged me to be a designer since the very beginning.
DI: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
Y(Z : The design potential behind the user needs is what I considered more during designing. In many cases, the user's demand maybe just a very intuitive reflection, which often cannot fully point out the optimal direction of the design. So I used to spend more time exploring the design potential by user research and analyze user behaviors.
DI: What makes a design successful?
Y(Z : A successful design should be accepted by its target users. In my opinion, a successful design does not have to be liked by the general public, but this design can directly target its clients, capture the most real needs of its target group. Through design can be clever, simple, and effectively meet its user's needs.
DI: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
Y(Z : In my opinion, to judge the quality of a design, the first thing to consider is whether the design has solved its core problem, and then to analyze whether the design has brought other problems while solving this problem, and how these new problems affect its target group.
DI: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
Y(Z : With the continuous advancement of technology and technology, many efficient and simple design techniques have emerged, such as generative design. In my opinion, there is no doubt that in the future, design will continue to follow such a trend of efficient ideation. But in terms of exploring user needs and determining the design direction, the wisdom and participation of designers are also essential and very important in the future of design.
DI: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
Y(Z : Back to life, just like my understanding of design, design is a part of life, and life is all of design. For me, only people who really integrate into life can continue to get inspiration from it. Turn the discomfort in life into the beginning of design, and the happiness in life into a collection of inspiration. Traveling or staying at home, the different environments, and various people provide the unique experiences and continually inspired me.
DI: Can you talk a little about your design process?
Y(Z : After the design research, I always like to get inspiration from different fields not only the product design. Similarly, I like to find inspiration from experience by myself. Once I have ideas, what I usually do is quick mock-up and test it immediately. Then I’d like to do developed ideation and test the refined mock-ups by people around me. Sometimes, I can find a good direction quickly, sometimes, I overturn all the ideas and find another direction.
DI: What is your "golden rule" in design?
Y(Z : Less is more. Try to solve the problem with as little change as possible.
DI: What skills are most important for a designer?
Y(Z : In my opinion, communication and thinking are very important for a designer. Only good and effective communication can enable designers to more accurately explore user needs and desires, and more effectively cooperate with cross-professionals. In addition, communication is one of the important ways to get inspiration. Similarly, a designer also needs to know how to think effectively. Thinking is not only about analyzing appearances, but more about digging deeper and digging into the root of the problem.
DI: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
Y(Z : In the future, I hope to have more opportunities to work and live in different countries and regions to rich my life experiences. In terms of design, I also hope to contact some new areas other than product design, such as interactive design, service design, fashion design, and so on.
DI: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
Y(Z : One of my projects is an interactive toy for children with autism. This project came from AccessAbility@RIT. The problem being addressed is the lack of toys that are focused on creating cause-effect connections for children in need of special care. I am now regularly working with children at Rochester Hearing and Speech Center, a member of the Al Sigl Community of Agencies, to refine the design.
DI: How can people contact you?
Y(Z : My email address are: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com