About Yuanyuan Wu

Yuanyuan Wu is a Chinese Norwegian illustrator and designer. She was born in China and studied graphic design and illustration in the China Academy of Art before she moved to Scandinavia. She has been living and working in Sweden and Norway for over 12 years. Yuan has won several international design awards and her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries, and published in magazines throughout China and Norway. Yuan is very interested in intercultural communication and creating illustrations and designs with cultural diversity and heritage.

Interview with Yuanyuan Wu

Yuanyuan Wu ("YW") interviewed on Thursday, 16 May.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

YW : Currently I am living and working in China. Before I move back to China, I was living and working in Sweden and Norway for over 10 years. I worked for DDB Stockholm, Pearson International and Norwegian IT and education company Fronter AS. I also worked as guest teacher at Westerdals School of Communication, and China Academy of Art. I have been working with clients from many different industry, such as real estate companies, restaurants, banks, art galleries, transportation companies, IT companies, educational companies and so on.

How did you become a designer?

YW : I studied graphic design in China Academy of Art and New Media Art at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. After that, I went to London and took Art Direction course at the University of the Arts London. I always want to be an artist or a designer, since I was a little girl. I like creating things.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

YW : First of all, I will do research that is relevant to my design project, secondly, I would like to hand-drawn the concept and make many different versions of the concept, some times over hundreds of drafts, and then I will use design tools to realise my concept on computer.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

YW : Once the concept is realised, I really feel excited and can't wait to share it with my colleagues, friends and families. I am always concentrated on the things I am working on, with no interruption. I think the feeling/emotion of my designing process is like a curve- some times up(If I got a new idea or have realised my concept), some times down(If I stuck in the middle of the design or have no inspiration).

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

YW : I play musical instruments, I can cook and I also like making handcrafts. I think all these non-design skills shaped me as a designer and I always get inspiration from doing the these things. I think "design" is not simply about designing things, I think it's an important comprehansive ability of observing things, experiencing things and processing things to create something out of it. A good design must be unique and it is the personal understanding and experience from a designer: The inspiration could come from a cup of coffee, a movie, a delicious meal, an adventure or a relationship that the designer has had.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

YW : I want to design and open a creative space where combines café, gym, reading place and exhibiting place where can show and sell good design products. I've thought about the name of the place already :D

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

YW : Don't limit yourself and try new things that you are interested and experience more.

What is your day to day look like?

YW : 07:00 Morning exercise 08:00 breakfast 09:00 go to work 11:30 lunch break + music + talk 13:00 -17:30 working 18:00 back home making dinner 19:00 relax and take a walk after dinner 20:00 reading or surfing online 23:00 go to bed

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

YW : I get inspiration from every where in daily life. I read news, watch movies, read books, travel, talking to friends and always pay attention to the latest design trends. I don't apply the latest design trends intentionally, but I think you soak it into your design style gradually and subtly.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

YW : Let the users, the audiences and the market evaluate the good design. I like designs that could make people smile and have a witty mind. The common mistakes to avoid for making good design is probably lake of thinking and do not willing to experiment more.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

YW : I can't tell exactly, I guess by intuition.

What is your biggest design work?

YW : I am working on the Chinese Zodiac series. It was my personal project initially and now it has been developed into a commercial project. I love the concept and idea behind the project, and because it is a project that I initiated and developed, so I have a lot of freedom to decide which direction I want to explore and develop.

Who is your favourite designer?

YW : Japanese designer Kenya Hara, Paula Scher, Zaha Hadid, Steve Jobs and Elon Mask(WHO HAVE CHANGED THE WORLD!)

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

YW : I like Stockholm. Yes, I like listening to music while designing. I was born and educated in China until I was 18 and then I moved to Scandinavia and lived there for over 12 years. Now I moved back to China. I think the cultural difference and different lifestyle shapes me as who I am today. My personal experience has provide me with unique point of way and way of thinking.

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

YW : I am easy to work with. I like team work and hire people who share the same values. I am running a design company together with my business partners. We create cultural and creative products and sell them to the public. I am the creative director and I am responsible for creative part, brand positioning and marketing for the products. The challenge now is to find the right market for our products, the targeting people and create the products that they will like.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

YW : I have done many pro bono design work for non-profit association and social entrepreneurs. I think designer should have social responsibilities, we should use design power to help social vulnerable groups, solve social problems and make the world a better place. I am quite active on design events and conferences. I also teach in the university in China. I always encourage my students to enter design competitions.

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

YW : It's great horror to win the A' Design Award and it is also a certificate to prove my designing skills. The main benefits of participating to design awards and competitions is that 1) Can evaluate your professional work and designing skills. 2) See other good designs and learn from it. 3) Get to know like minded people and communicate with them.

Yuanyuan Wu Profile

Chinese Zodiac Red Packets

Chinese Zodiac Red Packets design by Yuanyuan Wu


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